Now that Disney and director Jon Favreau’s upcoming live-action/CG hybrid take on The Jungle Book has put together a pretty impressive cast, Warner Brothers and directorAndy Serkis have started to cast their competing take on the Rudyard Kipling tale, which is titled Jungle Book: Origins.
Much like Disney’s first announcement was that Idris Elba would be playing the tiger villain Shere Khan, WB’s first official casting announcement is that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing Khan in their version.
At the moment it’s only said that Cumberbatch will be voicing the character. But with Serkis, who’s best known for playing performance capture characters such as Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong in Jackson’s King Kong, and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, behind the camera, it’d be odd if performance capture wasn’t used in this, his directorial debut.
Serkis and Cumberbatch have worked together in the past as well in the Hobbit trilogy, where Serkis reprised his role as Gollum and acted as a second unit director, and Cumberbatch played Smaug the dragon and the Necromancer.
Cumberbatch is unusually fitting for the role of Shere Khan, as the character’s name is basically a collision of the names of the character he plays on Sherlock and the character he played in Star Trek Into Darkness…you know, like one of those unbearable celebrity power couple fusion names. Only this one doesn’t make you want to vomit.
Jungle Book: Origins will be released on October 21, 2016, which is just about a year after Disney’s planned October 9, 2015 release date. The screenplay is written by Callie Kloves, while her father, Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves, will produce.