Actor Andy Serkis has been tapped to replace Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu as the director of a planned live-action version of The Jungle Book.

The Babel filmmaker dropped out of the movie in December (13) due to scheduling issues and Ron Howard had been rumoured to be in talks to take over the job.

However, the role has now been handed to the Lord of the Rings star Serkis, who has signed on to make his feature directorial debut, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The movie, which is being developed by executives at Warner Bros., is not the only The Jungle Book project in the works - Disney bosses are also set to release a rival live-action version of the classic children's story, with Jon Favreau set to direct.