The battle of The Jungle Books is getting fierce! Just yesterday, Warner Bros' Jungle Book adaptation made their first cast announcement, revealing Benedict Cumberbatch would be their Shere Khan. Quick to join him are Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan, Peter Mullan and Rohan Chand.
THR revealed this avalanche of casting news over Warner Bros' Jungle Book: Origins. The directorial debut of motion-capture actor extraordinaire Andy Serkis will blend motion capture, CG animation and live action, and boasts a script by Callie Kloves, daughter of Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves.
As Disney has a live-action, Jon Favreau-helmed Jungle Book in the works to rival Warner Bros' Jungle Book: Origins, we've created a helpful image guide to keep straight the who's who of it all.
As Baloo the bear, Bill Murray will face off against Andy Serkis, who is pulling double duty as performer and director.
First cast in each production was Idris Elba and Benedict Cumberbatch as the man-eating tiger Shere Khan.
Playing the protagonist Mowgli will be a pair of relative unknowns. After a worldwide search, Disney chose newcomer Neel Sethi. Warner Bros selected a slightly more established child actor, picking Rohan Chand, who has recently appeared in the raunchy comedy Bad Words and the feel-good drama The Hundred-Foot Journey.
Of course the lost human boy is taken in by a wolf pack, the leader of which is Akela. Onscreen tough guys Giancarlo Esposito and Peter Mullan have snatched these rival roles.
Lending voice to Mowgli's adoptive wolf mom are two beautiful actresses, Lupita Nyong'o and Naomie Harris. Eddie Marsan will play onscreen mate to Harris's Nisha.
For the voice of Bagheera, the black panther who befriends Mowgli, both production went with actors known for their gravitas. Disney selected Ben Kingsley, while WB went with Christian Bale.
Lastly, a pair of lovely leading ladies, Scarlett Johannson and Cate Blanchett, will each lend their voices to the mesmerizing python Kaa.
With no apparent parallel at present, Tom Hollander will play an underling jackal of Cumberbatch's Shere Khan called Tabaqui. While on the Disney end, Christopher Walken will play the orangutan King Louie. WB has not revealed a Louie of its own.
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Disney's The Jungle Book will open October 9th, 2015. Jungle Book: Origins will follow nearly a full year later on October 21st, 2016.
Staff writer at CinemaBlend.
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