Alfonso Cuarón Steps in to Help With That Other ‘Jungle Book’ Movie
At the Tribeca Film Festival just last night, Alfonso Cuarón confessed that he laments the decision from his longtime friend and frequent collaborator, master cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, to transition from film to digital photography. He made the usual case for the soul and feel of a genuine filmstrip versus the lifeless clarity of digital video banks, and yet none of these same scruples stopped the celebrated director (Gravity, Children of Men, Y tu mama tambien) from accepting a new gig as a consultant of sorts for a project centrally organized around the digital technology of CGI. Deadline reported last night that Academy Award-winner Cuarón would step in to give first-time director Andy Serkis some notes and advise him on how to improve his upcoming Jungle Book adaptation.
Even for a first-timer, Serkis is relatively inexperienced. He got some work doing second-unit direction during the Hobbit films, but the motion-capture veteran has never gotten behind the camera in a full directorial capacity before. Cuarón has quite a few features under his belt, and has particular experience when it comes to technologically demanding shoots in artificial environments, having simulated Sandra Bullock’s nightmarish tribulations in space with Gravity.
Already doomed to be eternally described as “the other Jungle Book movie” due to its unfortunate proximity to the recent, acclaimed film from Jon Favreau, Serkis’ Jungle Book (which boasts a cast that includes Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett) will have to top an impressive feat of technical ingenuity. But staffing up with Cuarón sends a clear message that the production is committed to reaching new heights in dazzling digitized cinema. That’s just how it goes when the Serkis comes to town.