One of our (or perhaps just one of my) favorite British actors has signed on to lend his silky dark chocolate voice to Warner Bros.’ adaptation of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. Benedict Cumberbatch, whose voice has been likened to “a jaguar inside a cello”, will reportedly join the project with first-time director Andy Serkis, the king of modern motion capture. Cumberbatch and Serkis both worked on the current Hobbit trilogy with Cumberbatch stretching his voice and motion capture chops with the role of the mighty dragon Smaug, while Serkis was able to work out some director muscles as the director of the second unit for the production. The current working title, according to IMDB, is Jungle Book: Origins. There is little other information currently available, but it has a release date currently fixed at 21 October 2016.
This movie will be up against some competition from Disney which is also creating a Jungle Book movie boasting the voice talents of Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong’o, Ben Kingsley, and Idris Elba as their malicious man-eating tiger. This project is much farther along than the Warner Brothers project. It is supposedly already in the filming phase and has a scheduled release date of 9 October 2015. Will this harm or hurt the Origins project? Maybe, maybe not. What needs to be considered is will the audiences be too saturated with adaptations or will the general short-term memory of the public make it ok to have two different films released a full year apart? Only time will tell.
What this anglophile is curious to know is, how does Tom Hiddleston feel about all of this? He has gone on record stating the Disney animated version of The Jungle Book from 1967 as one of his personal favorites. Does he wish to get in on the action? He is good pals with Benedict, and there are still other roles to fill. Perhaps the big bear Baloo? Shall Hiddlesbatch combine forces again? I, for one, am hoping the answer might be yes.
Until then, enjoy some singing and hip-swaying action from a good looking man in a tux.
God save the Queen.