The beloved 1894 novel and collection of stories "The Jungle Book," by Rudyard Kipling, has now become a hot property in Hollywood.
Disney and Warner Bros. are both in a race to make a great book-to-film-adaptation. The list of actors includes a wide range from Benedict Cumberbatch, Idris Elba, to Andy Serkis.
It was announced this week and in May this year that both film studios Disney and Warner Bros. would be making a film based on Kipling’s "Jungle Book." Disney's version will be titled "Jungle Book," and Warner Bros.' version will be called "Jungle Book: Origins." Disney has chosen an ethnic cast, while Warner Bros. has gone more traditionally British.
Disney so far has made at least four "Jungle Book" films and one animated TV series. In 1967 it was the original "The Jungle Book" animated film; then the live-action films in 1994 with "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book," and four years later in 1998 "The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story." In 2003 there was a sequel to the 1967 film titled "The Jungle Book 2." "TaleSpin" was the ever popular TV Disney cartoon in the 1990s.
In other words, Disney is not new to Kipling's jungle universe. Disney's version will be animated, while Warner Bros.' one will be a mixture of animation, performance-capture, and live-action.
Disney's "Jungle Book" will be directed by Jon Favreau ("Iron Man," and "Chef"). In the title role of Mowgli, he will be voiced and played by first-time professional actor Neel Sethi, 10. In contrast, Warner Bros. has opted for performance-capture genius Andy Serkis to direct their "Jungle Book: Origins." Rohan Chand would be seen in the role of Mowgli and Benedict Cumberbatch as the lethal tiger Sher Khan. The script will be written by Callie Kloves.
Justin Marks is writing Disney and Favreau's "Jungle Book." In Disney and Favreau's animated film, the role of Shere Khan will be voiced by Idris Elba and the role of the bear, Baloo, by Bill Murray. The black panther known as Bagheera, will be voiced by Ben Kingsley in the Disney version and by Christian Bale in Serkis' film. The leader of the wolf pack Akela is expected to be played by Giancarlo Esposito in Disney's "Jungle Book" and by British actor Peter Mullan for Warner Bros.
Disney's "Jungle Book" is set to come out on Oct. 19 2015, and Warner Bros.' "Jungle Book: Origins" is set to debut on Oct. 21 2016.