It appears that Ron Howard may soon be heading back into family friendly territory. A month after director Alejandro González Iñárritu fell off the project, Heat Vision reports that Howard is currently in talks to take the helm of Warner Bros.’ live-action The Jungle Book adaptation. The studio is in a bit of a race to get the project off the ground, as Jon Favreau is helming another live-action adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling book for Disney with an October 2015 release date already set. Warner Bros.’ picture is being produced by Steve Kloves, who wrote all but one of the Harry Potter films for the studio, and his daughter Callie Kloves wrote the screenplay for this new Jungle Book film. Should Howard sign on, he would also produce this new adaptation.
If Howard signs on to direct The Jungle Book, it would mark his first family film since directing 2000’s Dr. Seuss adaptation The Grinch. The filmmaker has gravitated towards more dramatic or non-fiction fare as of late, most recently directing the very solid F1 racing drama Rush. Heat Vision’s report says it’s unclear whether The Jungle Book would be Howard’s next film, as he has a pretty busy slate at the moment. The filmmaker is currently in post-production on the historical drama Heart of the Sea, but he’s also set to helm the Dan Brown adaptation Inferno for Sony with a December 2015 release date looming. He also recently signed on to helm the true story Mena for Universal.
Assuming Warner Bros. is racing to get its Jungle Book film out before or around the same time as Disney’s, the studio is likely hoping Howard will tackle to Kipling adaptation first, which would mean he would have to step off or delay Inferno. For those unfamiliar with the story, Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 novel revolves round an orphaned boy named Mowgli who is raised by animals in the Indian jungle.