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Benedict Cumberbatch joins Warner Bros.' 'Jungle Book: Origins'

Say goodbye to Sherlock and hello to Shere Khan: Benedict Cumberbatch will voice the tiger in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Jungle Book: Origins, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Cumberbatch is the first voice lead to join the film, which is being directed by Andy Serkis. Disney is also working on a Jungle Book film, titled The Jungle Book and directed by Jon Favreau. That film is set to arrive in theaters Oct. 9, 2015, while Jungle Book: Origins won’t be released until Oct. 21, 2016.

Warner Bros. didn’t immediately return EW‘s request for comment.

Bill Murray will voice Baloo in Jon Favreau's 'The Jungle Book'

Bill Murray is heading to the jungle: The actor is set to voice the character of Baloo in Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book.

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Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Esposito join live-action 'Jungle Book'

Christopher Walken is officially king of the swingers.

Disney revealed today that the Oscar winner has joined the cast of its increasingly star-studded live action Jungle Book remake. Walken is set to voice the ape monarch King Louie, a part sure to be as flamboyant as his upcoming turn in NBC’s Peter Pan Live. (In Disney’s 1967 animated musical, Louie is the one who sings the jazzy classic “I Wanna Be Like You.”)

Also joining the film’s ranks: Emmy nominee Giancarlo Esposito, who already has experience playing a classic Disney character. (He portrayed Once Upon a Time‘s genie-turned-magic-mirror way back in season one.) This time around, Esposito will voice Akela, the leader of the wolf pack that adopts human child Mowgli (played in the film by 10-year-old first-time actor Neel Sethi).

The two newcomers join a cast of high-profile voice actors that already includes Ben Kingsley as noble panther Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as mother wolf Raksha, Idris Elba as wicked tiger Shere Khan, and Scarlett Johansson as the hypnotic snake Kaa. Sethi will be the only actor to physically appear onscreen throughout the film.

Disney's 'Jungle Book' has found its Mowgli

The Jungle Book is full of tigers, monkeys, and bears—but its most important element may be the human boy at the heart of it all.

In a release, Disney announced that 10-year-old New Yorker Neel Sethi will play the part of Mowgli in director Jon Favreau’s upcoming live action-and-animated adaption of Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel. Sethi has no professional acting experience, but earned praise from both Favreau and casting director Sarah Finn for his ability to hold an audience—a necessary skill, as Sethi will be the only actor onscreen in this version of the story.

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Casting Net: Ben Kingsley joins voice cast of Disney's 'The Jungle Book'; Plus, Rooney Mara, Jason Sudeikis, more

Oscar winner Ben Kingsley will provide the voice of panther Bagheera in Disney’s upcoming film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The movie, directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), will be a combination of live-action and animation with a script by Justin Marks. Kingsley joins previously announced stars Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Scarlett Johansson (Her), and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) as the voices of Shere Khan, Kaa, and Rakcha, respectively, for a scheduled Oct. 9, 2015, release. [THR] READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson in talks to star in 'The Jungle Book'; Plus, Zooey Deschanel, more

12 Years A Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and The Avengers‘s Scarlett Johansson are both in talks to lend their voices to Disney’s upcoming live-action/CG adaption of The Jungle Book. Nyong’o is currently in talks to play Rakcha, the mother wolf who adopts Mowgli, while Johansson is in early negotiations to lend her voice to the character of Kaa, a python who eats its victims by hypnotizing them. Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau is set to direct the film based on the classic novel by Rudyard Kipling which will also star Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘s Idris Elba as the voice of Shere Khan the tiger. [The Hollywood Reporter]
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Andy Serkis will direct live-action 'The Jungle Book'

Andy Serkis — also known as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies and The Hobbit’s second unit director – is set to take a break from the Tolkien universe to direct the live-action The Jungle Book from Warner Bros., according to The Hollywood Reporter.

This will be the actor’s feature directing debut. Babel director Alejandro González Iñárritu was previously in the running to direct.

This The Jungle Book is one of two Jungle Book films in the works right now — the other is being made by Disney.

Casting Net: Jude Law in talks to join Melissa McCarthy in spy comedy; Plus, Idris Elba, more

• Jude Law (The Grand Budapest Hotel) is in talks to join Melissa McCarthy (The Heat) and Rose Byrne (Insidious: Chapter 2) in the upcoming spy comedy Susan Cooper. Jason Statham (The Transporter) has also been confirmed to co-star in the upcoming film, which centers on the adventures of a James Bond-esque female spy. [The Wrap] READ FULL STORY

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu in talks to direct 'The Jungle Book' for Warner Bros.

Alejandro González Iñárritu is in early talks to direct a live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book for Warner Bros. Deadline first reported the news.

The two-time Oscar nominee is best known for directing lyrical adult dramas, including 21 Grams, Biutiful, Amores Perros, and Babel, but seems to be expanding his repertoire lately. Iñárritu is currently in post-production on his first major comedy, Birdman, which stars Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and Michael Keaton.

Warner Bros. declined to comment on the news.

Little is known about the project at this point, but telling the story of the young boy raised in the jungle for a major studio would be another departure for the Mexico City-native. Newcomer Callie Kloves has already written the script, and Harry Potter scribe Steve Kloves is set to produce.

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'Alice in Wonderland 2' and 'The Jungle Book' snag release dates

Disney laid claim to a number of far off release dates for some of their biggest upcoming properties on Friday.

The live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book will open on Oct. 9, 2015, while the Johnny Depp-fronted Alice in Wonderland 2 is set for a May 27, 2016 release.

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