Sunday, 31 August 2014

Christian Bale set to join Andy Serkis' Jungle Book: Origins

Over the last few months we've had a virtual ark's worth of animal voice casting announcements for Jon Favreau's (Cowboys & Aliens) new live action and CGI blended take on Walt Disney Pictures The Jungle Book, yet heard very little about Andy Serkis' (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) competing project, Jungle Book: Origins for Warner Bros. That all changed recently when The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Benedict Cumberbatch (12 Years A Slave) has agreed to lend his distinctive vocal chords to the lethal tiger Shere Khan.

Today Serkis' take on Rudyard Kipling's famous tale became considerably more crowed with a whole swathe of additional casting announcements, with word that Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises), Naomie Harris (Skyfall), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Peter Mullan (Tyrannosaur), Tom Hollander (About Time), Eddie Marsan (The World's End) and Rohan Chand (Lone Survivor) have joined what is now a hugely impressive ensemble.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Serkis will also be acting in the film, playing Baloo the bear, the friendly type who befriends the young human orphan Mowgli (Rohan Chand).

As for everyone else? Bale is set to give voice to the fearsome yet protective panther Bagheera, while Blanchett will add her slinky and hypnotic voicing to the dangerous snake Kaa, with Hollander as Shere Khan's (Cumberbatch) jackal henchman Tabaqui. Mullan is Akela, the leader of the wolf pack that raises Mowgli, Harris will be female wolf Nisha and Marsan will be Vihaan, her mate.

With a script from Callie Kloves – daughter of Harry Potter regular screenwriter Steve, who is an executive producer here for Warner Bros – Serkis will be shooting soon using a mixture of live action, performance capture and CG animation to bring the story to life. Serkis' adaption of The Jungle Book is set for 21 October 2016, which places it a year after Jon Favreau's Disney driven take due 6 October next year.

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