The October 9, 2015 release of Disney’s The Jungle Book isn’t all that far away, so the studio’s been casting up like crazy lately. In the past month alone, the production has added Ben Kinglsey, Neel Sethi, Christopher Walken and Giancarlo Esposito to the line-up, and now they’ve got yet another new addition to share – Bill Murray as Baloo. Sethi’s Mowgli will be the only actor seen on screen in the film, but he’ll be joined by a slew of CG characters including Walken as King Louie, Esposito as Akela, Kingsley as Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Idris Elba as Shere Khan and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa in addition to Murray.
We’ve also got some movement on Warner Bros. Pictures’ rendition of The Jungle Book, which is now titled Jungle Book: Origins. The Andy Serkis-directed rendition is scheduled to make its way into theaters on October 21, 2016, almost exactly a year after the Disney film. Hit the jump for more.
Now, that’s a lot of Jungle Book. Jon Favreau’s roster is shaping up very nicely and I’m eager to see what Serkis is capable of behind the lens of his very own feature film, but do we really need one Jungle Book movie and then another almost exactly a year later?
Hopefully Warner Bros. is taking that new title very seriously and will deliver a movie that takes place prior to Disney’s version and dish out some brand new content in the process. Plus, Serkis has emphasized that his version will embrace the book’s darkness and involve authentic animal behavior whereas Favreau told us that the tone of his film will differ from the animated movie, but will still target kids and parents. And then of course we’ve got Serkis’ motion capture expertise. If Favreau goes straight CGI and Serkis uses more mo-cap technology, that’ll be a pretty striking difference right there.