Everything We Know About the Two Competing Jungle Book Films So Far

3 minute read

By now, you may have heard that Benedict Cumberbatch has been tapped to voice the tiger Shere Khan in Warner Bros. upcoming production of The Jungle Book.

But wait, you might also be thinking, isn’t Idris Elba doing the voice of Shere Khan in another upcoming production of the same title? The answer is yes — though it’s a different film altogether.

Both Warner Bros. and Disney are planning competing adaptations of the Rudyard Kipling classic story about an orphan boy named Mowgli who is raised by animals in the jungle. The two films are set to be released about a year apart and though the Warner Bros. version — which is said to be a relatively dark film, especially compared to the 1967 Disney animated classic — has only just recently landed its director, news of each production has been rolling in fast. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter has just named a whole slew of actors — including Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale — that have joined the Warner Bros. cast.

With all the big names being thrown around, it can all get confusing. That’s why we’re here to break down what we know about each film so far:


Director: Jon Favreau, best known for Swingers and the Iron Man films.
Mowgli: Neel Sethi, an adorable newcomer.
Shere Khan: Idris Elba, best known for his roles on The Wire and Luther.
Baloo: Bill Murray, best known for Ghostbusters, Wes Anderson films and crashing parties in Brooklyn.
King Louie: Christopher Walken, best known for Deer Hunter, his dance moves and “more cowbell.”
Kaa: Scarlett Johansson, best known for Lost in Translation, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and playing a superhero.
Bagheer: Ben Kingsley, who needs no introduction.
Raksha: Lupita Nyong’o, best known for 12 Years a Slave.
Release date: October 9, 2015

Warner Bros.

Director: Andy Serkis, best known for his roles in The Lord of the Rings and the new Planet of the Apes films, is making his directorial debut.
Mowgli: Rohan Chand, best known for his role in Bad Words.
Shere Khan: Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for playing any number of oddballs and misfits and making the internet swoon.
Baloo: Serkis, again.
Begheera: Christian Bale, best known for playing Batman.
Kaa: Cate Blanchett, best known for playing a queen and Blue Jasmine.
Nisha: Naomie Harris, best known for playing Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall and Winnie Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
Release date: October 21, 2016

With all the big names that Warner Bros has just landed for its cast, the studio is indicating they’re ready to go head to head with Disney. So which version will come out on top? Only time and the laws of the jungle — that is, Hollywood — will tell.

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