Hollywood seems obsessed with the idea of recycling old films and giving them a modern take. Among the classics retold, we’ve seen remakes of ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘Robocop’, ‘Godzilla’, ‘Hercules’ and opening this week, ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’. Seeing as this appears to be a recurring trend, it comes as no surprise studio Disney has green-lit production on a remake of ‘The Jungle Book’.
With the aid of new technology and a star-studded cast, Disney has gathered the ‘bear necessities’ required to give Rudyard Kipling’s highly-acclaimed novel a 21st Century reboot. Production on the film is reportedly underway and the film even has a release date of October 8th 2015.
The cast features an ensemble of A-list talent, all under the influence of ‘Iron Man’ director Jon Favreau. According to the latest reports, veteran talent Bill Murray has agreed to play the loveable and laid-back bear Baloo, Sir Ben Kingsley will voice Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o will take on the role of mother-wolf Raksha, Idris Elba will voice Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson plays the python Kaa and Christopher Walken will play the orangutan King Louie.
Ten-year-old Neel Sethi will make his acting debut as the adventurous Mowgli, and will be the only cast member who will be physically featured in the film, and not added through animation and motion capture.
“He’s warm and accessible, yet also has an intelligence well beyond his years and impressed us all with his ability to hold his own in any situation. Even though he has no professional acting experience, his natural charisma and instincts jumped out at us,” said casting director Sara Finn about the first-time actor.
Although Disney’s remake of ‘The Jungle Book’ will be the first big-budget adaptation of the original novel since the animated classic in 1967, it will face some serious competition from a Warner Bros film based on the same franchise. ‘Jungle Book: Origins’ will be produced by Warner Bros and directed by motion-capture actor Andy Serkis, aka Gollum from ‘The Lord of the Rings’. The film will mark Serkis’ directorial debut and is also currently in the developmental stages with a planned release date for sometime in 2016.
With a great list of cast members lined-up and production already underway Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ hopes to do justice to the original novel, and the 1967 film that inspired a new generation.