Idris Elba In Talks To Join Jon Favreau's Jungle Book As Shere Khan
In the battle between the two in-development Jungle Book adaptations, it looks like Jon Favreau's has bested Ron Howard's in being the first to add to add an actor to the cast. According to Deadline, Idris Elba - best known for both his TV work like The Wire and Luther and his feature work like Pacific Rim and Thor: The Dark World - is now in final negotiations to take the role of Shere Khan, the film's central villain in Favreau's take over at Disney.
As Shere Khan, Elba won't be doing any live-action work, as fans of the classic Rudyard Kipling story know that the the character is a deadly tiger who would love nothing more than to get a bite out of the hero, Mowgli. Should he sign on the dotted line, Elba will definitely be providing the voice for the big cat, but I wonder if any motion capture work will be involved due to the VFX team that is being assembled for the project. Oscar winner Rob Legato, who previously worked on Avatar, Hugo and Titanic, is overseeing the visual effects for the film, which will presumably be used to create all of the animals.
As alluded to earlier, this project needs to move fast because it has some serious competition bubbling at Warner Bros. Ron Howard entered negotiations for the competing project last month after Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu dropped out, but we haven't heard a peep about it since. Perhaps they are building things quietly and plan to announce everything at once.
In the past few years we've seen a number of dueling projects like these - White House Down vs. Olympus Has Fallen; Mirror Mirror vs. Snow White and the Huntsman; No Strings Attached vs. Friends With Benefits - but I'm very curious to see how this one shakes out. Favreau and Howard both have very similar sensibilities, so I fear that we may be getting two very similar adaptations of the same story that are set to debut in the same year. That sounds like trouble.
Then again, maybe I'm wrong. After all, we've already seen two great, very different feature adaptations of Kipling's story, so maybe these will just be the third and fourth.
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