Pathe and BBC Films are working together on a $50m live-action version of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Books.

The comedy adventure will start preparations in September 2007 with director John Downer, who has previoulsy worked on nature-oriented films including Pride.

Richard Kurti & Bev Doyle (Robin Hood) are writing the script.

Michelle Fox, who previously worked on 102 Dalmations and Bride & Prejudice, will produce for John Downer Productions.

Downer will update the classic story of Mowgli, a boy raised in the jungle, with the use of live-action footage of animals which is CGI-manipulated to make them appear to talk.

Downer plans to shoot animals in the wild in India, with the tiger reserve of Ranthambore as his backdrop. These images will be intercut with photography of trained animals on blue screens and jungle sets in the UK.

The project is expected to be delivered in summer/autumn 2009.

Pathe Distribution will release the film in the UK and France and Pathe International will sell the film throughout the rest of the world.

Downer said: 'My ambition is to use pioneering digital and wildlife filming techniques to portray one of the greatest stories of all time just as the author intended - with real live talking animals inhabiting the jungle world of Kipling's India. The script is full of thrills and humour but it also reminds us of our place in nature and our duty to protect the wild places of the world.'