Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett & More Added to 'Jungle Book: Origins'
Following news yesterday that Benedict Cumberbatch would reateam with his The Hobbit trilogy motion-capture co-star Andy Serkis for his directorial debut on Jungle Book: Origins, the rest of the cast has been revealed, including the role of young Mowgli. THR reports Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan and Peter Mullan have all landed animal roles in the film which is a new telling of the orphan boy Mowgli who is raised in the jungle by the animal kingdom. In addition, Rohan Chand, the kid from Jason Bateman's comedy Bad Words, will play the jungle boy.
The report calls this film simply by The Jungle Book, but Jungle Book: Origins title surfaced recently when the release date was announced, so maybe a final title hasn't been decided yet. As for the animal cast, Bale is playing the panther Bagheera who saves Mowgli from the villainous tiger Shere Khan (Cumberbatch). Blachett is taking the voice of Kaa the python with Mullan taking the role of Akela, the leader of the wolfpack who raises Mowgli as their own. Harris is Nisha, a female wolf in the pack while Marsan plays her wolf mate Vihaan. Finally, Hollander will voice Tabaqui, a jackal who works for Shere Khan.
In addition, it has been revealed that Serkis himself will be taking the role of the friendly bear Baloo, a role that went to Bill Murray in Disney's competing adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic that will arrive in theaters a year before Warner Bros. version hits the big screen. There's some impressive talent here, but it doesn't seem quite as star-studded as Disney's version. Still, it'll be interesting having Christian Bale taking a rare turn doing voicework again after previously doing the English version of Howl's Moving Castle in 2004, and Disney's Pocahontas in 1995. Does this cast sound good?