We have two competing CGI/live-action Jungle Book movies, and Disney’s has the advantage. Jon Favreau (Iron Man) is directing theirs, and he’s managed to line up an impressive voice cast thus far. Now he’s landed his Baloo the bear in Bill Murray. Other voice actors cast include Ben Kingsley (Bagheera the panther), Christopher Walken (King Louie the orangutan), Idris Elba (Shere Khan the tiger), Scarlett Johansson (Kaa the snake), Lupita Nyong’o (Raksha the mother wolf), and Giancarlo Esposito (Akela the father wolf). It’s set to open October 9, 2015.
Newcomer Neel Sethi will play the boy Mowgli.
Meanwhile the Warner Bros project will be directed by Andy Serkis, and it opens October 21, 2016. No casting has yet been announced.
The Jungle Book was originally a collection of stories written by Rudyard Kipling in 1894. Many of the stories are about Mowgli in the jungle, but other tales in it include Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, about a mongoose who defends a human family from some deadly cobras, and The White Seal, about a fur seal trying to find a place to live where he cannot be hunted by humans.