Andy Serkis to Direct JUNGLE BOOK

Gollum actor to helm India-based tale…

Andy Serkis (‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,’ ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘King Kong,’ ‘The Lord of the Rings’) has closed a deal to take the director’s chair for Warner Bros.’ live-action take on ‘The Jungle Book,’ reports THR.

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s classic India-based short stories, the Callie Kloves-penned film follows the adventures of Mowgli, an orphaned boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. Guided by his mentors Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther and the ancient python Kaa, the man-cub confronts his arch-enemy, the ferocious tiger Shere Khan.

The film will mark Serkis’ feature directorial debut, although the actor was a second unit director on the first two instalments of Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit’ trilogy, including the widely praised barrel chase scene in ‘The Desolation of Smaug.’

As previously reported, a rival project is in development over at Disney with Jon Favreau behind the camera.