Christian Bale is a badass panther.
The Dark Knight trilogy actor has been cast as Bagheera in Warner Bros. The Jungle Book: Origins. Bale joins the previously-announced Benedict Cumberbatch in the Andy Serkis-directed feature.
As we recounted when Sir Ben Kingsley was cast in Disney’s competing Jungle Book, Bagheera is the wise and proud panther from Rudyard Kipling’s novel who helps human boy Mowgli learns the laws of the jungle.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, most of the principal cast for The Jungle Book: Origins has been snapped up, with Warner Bros. opting for one big announcement. Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan, Peter Mullan, and Rohan Chand will be joining the live-action/mo-cap film.
Young Bad Words co-star Chand will play Mowgli, the young boy lost in the jungle as an infant and raised by wolves. Andy Serkis will not only direct but play laid-back mentor Baloo the bear who, along with Bagheera, will attempt to keep Mowgli out of reach of Shere Khan’s claws.
Harris (The Time Machine) and Marsan (The World’s End) will play wolf-mates Nisha and Vihaan, while Mullen (Top of the Lake) will voice wolf pack leader Akela.
Blanchett will lend her voice to another of Mowgli’s friends, the sneaky snake Ka, while Pirates of the Caribbean actor Tom Hollander will play a jackal/Shere Khan’s minion Tabaqui.
That’s… kind of a hell of a cast. While Disney has nabbed its own stable of pretty terrific actors for Jon Favreau’s largely CG with a human Mowgli, The Jungle Book: Origins might be giving them a run for their money.
Also: what’s the deal with this “Origins” jazz? I wonder how Warner Bros. plans to sequelize/franchise The Jungle Book. The novel spawned an animated film and sequel at Disney (as well as the kinda sorta animated spinoff series Tailspin), but how much of Mowgli’s story is the studio looking to tell on screen?
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]