Andy Serkis: 'Don't expect Mowgli to have singing or dancing'

Director Andy Serkis has described the animal characters in Mowgli as being "anthropomorphised versions" of what a 19th century explorer would expect to see.

Andy Serkis has warned fans that his new movie Mowgli is a "darker" take on The Jungle Book tale.

The actor and filmmaker is in the final phases of work on the live-action adventure film, based on the original book by Rudyard Kipling, with the story following the upbringing of Mowgli (Rohan Chand) by a pack of wolves in the jungles of India.

While Serkis is excited to bring his vision to moviegoers, he has urged people to watch the trailer so they realise it's nothing like Disney's 1967 animated musical.

"Allowing people to know that it is a darker film, so they're not too shocked. So, they're not expecting singing or dancing," he told Empire magazine. "The trailer's saying, 'Look, this is not a fantasy.' It's grounded. Almost like a historical piece. But, honestly, the preconceptions are really hard to get over. Everyone expects the animals to have American accents, for instance. People are really shocked that they have British accents."

In addition to Chand, the film features Matthew Rhys and Freida Pinto as key human characters. While Serkis voices bear Baloo, Christian Bale as panther Bagheera, Benedict Cumberbatch as fearsome tiger Shere Khan, Cate Blanchett as snake Kaa and Naomie Harris as wolf mother Nisha.

The director described the animal characters as being an "anthropomorphised versions of a 19th century explorer's idea" of what an animal could be and explained that each animation shares subtle facial traits from their performers in order to make them "emotionally much more real, much more connected".

Originally titled Jungle Book: Origins, Mowgli, Serkis’ second feature film, is set for release in October (18). And even after working on the project for the past four years, the Lord of the Rings star is still deeply passionate about the concept.

"It's incredibly thrilling. I have to pinch myself that I'm no longer working on it," he smiled.

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