Jon Favreau’s version of The Jungle Book for Disney already has Neel Sethi, Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Sir Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and Giancarlo Esposito on board and is barreling towards an October 9, 2015 debut, but now Andy Serkis’ rendition for Warner Bros., which is now titled Jungle Book: Origins, is making some moves, too.
Serkis’ Jungle Book just locked its very first star, Benedict Cumberbatch. He’ll voice the film’s villain, Shere Khan, a tiger who’d rather not have any humans in his territory at all. Hit the jump for more on Cumberbatch’s casting. Jungle Book: Origins is set for an October 21, 2016 debut.
The news comes from THR with the outlet pointing out that Cumberbatch will be up against Elba who’s voicing the character for Favreau’s film. However, it does seem as though one film might end up being a bit darker than the other. Favreau told us that his film won’t be the same as the 1967 Disney film, but it will still be family friendly. It’s hard to imagine Warner Bros. giving the go-ahead to a grim retelling of The Jungle Book, but Serkis has pointed out that his version will tap into the darker elements and animal behavior featured in Rudyard Kipling’s source material.
No word on when Serkis’ film will go into production or if he’ll use motion capture technology instead of straight CGI animation, but should he go the mo-cap route, which seems like the obvious choice given Serkis expertise, it’d be an appropriate Smaug follow-up for Cumberbatch. However, the THR article does call Cumberbatch the film’s first “voice lead,” so perhaps that’s not the case. But, then again, they also refer to Cumberbatch’s work as Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as a voice role as well, so perhaps we shouldn’t take the wording too seriously.
Hopefully this is only the start of a steady stream of Jungle Book: Origins casting news and we’ll get more information on the technique Serkis plans to use in the midst of it.