Look which Hobbit star has been tapped to direct Warner's live-action The Jungle Book

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Mar 21, 2014, 4:24 PM EDT (Updated)

Andy Serkis has been tapped to direct Warner Bros.’s live-action take on Rudyard Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book. But will the actor, best known for playing Gollum, have a part in it?

As per The Hollywood Reporter, Serkis is now replacing Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) after the latter left the project over scheduling conflicts. Ron Howard was also briefly in talks for the gig, but nothing came of it.

This news means that Warners’s Jungle Book flick will be up against — surprise, surprise — Disney’s other Jungle Book live-action project, directed by Iron Man's John Favreau and starring Idris Elba as the voice of Shere-Khan.

This is the second time Serkis has stepped into the director’s chair, but his first as the head honcho. He was second-unit director on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films and directed the widely praised (and awesome) barrel-escape sequence in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Since Serkis has dipped more than his toes into all things CGI — the man made a career portraying CG characters in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, King Kong, The Adventures of Tintin and the new Planet of the Apes flicks (as well as the Heavenly Sword videogame) — he’ll no doubt feel right at home with The Jungle Book’s use of CG and motion capture.

The Jungle Book is based on Rudyard Kipling's short stories centered on Mowgli, an orphaned boy raised by wolves, who becomes pals with Baloo the bear and the black panther Bagheera before coming across the ferociously evil man-eating tiger Shere Khan.

For this flick, Warner Bros. will be sticking close to the source material (instead of going all Disney on us), making this version of the Jungle Book darker than the beloved 1967 animated classic. Warner apparently wants to explore life-and-death issues and hopes to be true to life in its portrayal of animal behavior — which Serkis did with amazing results in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. One is left to wonder whether Serkis will mo-cap one of the animal characters from the Kipling story as well as direct.

Do you guys think Andy Serkis is the perfect man for the job?

(via The Hollywood Reporter)