Rush director Ron Howard is poised to take the reins from Inarritu (Babel) after the latter left the project due to scheduling conflicts (Birdman, his first comedy).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Callie Kloves (daughter of Steve Kloves, Harry Potter) wrote the screenplay for The Jungle Book, which is based on a legendary story from an 1894 Rudyard Kipling collection. The word is that Howard’s Imagine Entertainment would produce and Brian Grazer would also be a part of the production.
For the ten people who don’t know, the story focuses on Mowgli, an orphaned boy raised by wolves who befriends Baloo the Bear and Bagheera the Black Panther as he spars with the ferocious tiger Shere Khan. The addition of Howard will allow Warner Bros. to keep pace with Disney, which has its own live-action adaptation in the works with Jon Favreau (Iron Man) at the helm. Disney originally made the 1967 animated classic by the same name, but because Kipling’s story is in the public domain, both studios are able to pursue and create their own respective projects.
Howard has been creating more adult-related fodder for awhile now. His last family-friendly movie was released more than a decade ago with 2000’s Jim Carrey starrer How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and before that was 1988’s Willow.
While it is still unclear whether or not The Jungle Book will be his next project after Dan Brown’s Inferno, part of Sony’s Da Vinci Code franchise, Howard is scheduled to direct Mena.