It’s time to return to the jungle as Disney preps a live-action version of its classic animated musical film The Jungle Book, originally based on Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories about a young boy called Mowgli who is adopted by a wolf pack after being found in the jungle. Not to be confused with Andy Serkis’ upcoming darker take on the source material, Jungle Book: Origins, Disney’s version will be more akin to the studio’s live-action remake of Cinderella, which is out next spring.
It’s hard to say which of the two adaptations has the cooler voice cast. In Serkis’ version, Benedict Cumberbatch is voicing malevolent tiger Shere Khan, whereas in Disney’s version the same character will be voiced by Idris Elba. The two movies are being released two years apart, so they’re not exactly dueling, but comparisons will inevitably end up being made.
To show off some of the famous faces that won’t be seen in the movie, director Jon Favreau has been dropping some behind-the-scenes images of the voice cast behind The Jungle Book – which includes Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Scarlett Johansson, and Ben Kingsley – as well as a behind-the-scenes image of newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anrthony and Joe Russo are also pictured on-set with Favreau, who they are familiar with through their Marvel connection. Just a casual visit, or were they plotting about the upcoming Captain America: Civil War? (Okay, probably just a casual visit, but still…)
Ssscarlett voicing the role of Kaa #Disney #JungleBook
Russo Bros visiting the set of #JungleBook
Mr. Murray Mr. Walken and the Doctor #nola #junglebook
Kermit Ruffins and Bill Murray #nola #junglebook
Behind the scenes #junglebook
To recap, Walken is playing ambitious orang-utan King Louie, Murray is laidback bear Baloo, Johansson is the wicked snake Kaa, Kingsley is long-suffering panther Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o is Mowgli’s adoptive wolf mother Raksha and Giancarlo Esposito is wolf pack leader Akela.
The behind-the-scenes photos also feature New Orleans musicians Dr. John and Kermit Ruffins, which is interesting since Favreau has already said that his version of The Jungle Book is not a musical. In an interview earlier this year the director admitted that he loves King Louie’s song “I Wanna Be Like You” from the original film and that he’d like to work it into the score or theme of the movie somehow; and since Ruffins and Dr. John are both jazz experts, it’s possible they’ve been hired to inject the spirit of Louis Prima into The Jungle Book.
It’s certainly an excellent cast and Favreau is an accomplished director whose most recent film, Chef, garnered a lot of positive reviews from critics. We’ll wait until we have more than a few on-set selfies to go on before making predictions about The Jungle Book, though.
The Jungle Book hits theaters on October 9th, 2015.