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Chuck Russell to direct Vidyut Jammwal in Junglee

The Hollywood filmmaker, known for The Mask, replaces Rohan Sippy as director on the project. Vidyut Jammwal will be seen in the lead.

Chuck Russell with Vidyut Jammwal

Sonal Pandya

The Commando actor will be soon heading to an elephant reserve in Kerala to shoot his upcoming production, Junglee, this October. Director of The Mask (1994) and The Scorpion King (2002), Chuck Russell, has stepped in for his first project in India.

Last September, producers Junglee Pictures had announced the project, with Rohan Sippy as the director and Jammwal as the protagonist. According to recent reports, Rohan Sippy has been replaced by Chuck Russell.

The adventure film features Vidyut as a veterinarian, who becomes an animal activist for his elephant friends.

Priti Shahani, president of Junglee Pictures told Mumbai Mirror, “We reached out to Chuck saying that we had a story which is set locally but could appeal to him since it touches on an issue of global significance, with the United Nations lobbying to end poaching and the ivory movement.”

The filmmaker, who made his directorial debut 30 years ago with A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), is said to have visited India to meet with the producers and work out a story with the writer, Ritesh Shah.

Since, the film is being shot in a reserve, the producers are mindful of not exploiting the elephants on whom the film will revolve around. The film will be action based and incorporate Jammwal’s Kalaripayattu (martial art originated in Kerala) training and skills.

With Russell’s expertise and involvement, Shahani said, the film has a potential to reach out to a bigger audience, “We have written it primarily for a Hindi-speaking audience but Chuck’s involvement reinstates that the story has the ability to connect with an international audience too and can be turned into a Hindi- English bilingual.”

The release date of the film has not been announced as yet.