"The Jungle Book" is suddenly a hot property among movie studios.

Andy Serkis, the actor best known for playing Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" movies, will direct Warner Bros.' live action version of the Rudyard Kipling classic, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which also said it's not clear whether Serkis will act in the film. Serkis is taking over for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who left the project over scheduling conflicts. Ron Howard was briefly talking to the studio about the job, but that didn't pan out.

Disney also has a live-action Jungle Book project, which has already cast Idris Elba to voice the man-hating tiger Shera Khan. Jon Favreau will direct.

Jungle Book would be Serkis' feature directorial debut, after he directed the second unit on Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" movies, the third of which will open in December. Jackson got that job after Serkis got a feel for computer generated technology while appearing in film's like Jackson's "King Kong," Steve Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin" and the new "Planet of the Apes" movies.

Callie Kloves -- whose father, Steve Kloves, of Harry Potter fame, is producing -- wrote the screenplay.

The Hollywood Reporter said Warner Bros. will stick closely to the source material, which isn't quite as light as Disney's 1967 animated classic.

In other words, the bear won't be singing.

Contact Tony Hicks at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.