Bill Murray To Play Baloo For Jon Favreau

While Andy Serkis' competing Jungle Book pic has a title and a date


Jon Favreau is pushing ever onward as he prepares to start work on a new, live-action/CG creature blend take on The Jungle Book for Disney. He’s just scored an elusive target from the wild, securing Bill Murray to voice Baloo the bear.

Baloo, of course, is the happy-go-lucky bear best known from the 1967 ‘toon version for singing ‘The Bare Necessities’ and for being human lad Mowgli’s best friend.

The Rudyard Kipling tale has here been updated by Justin Marks and will star relative Neel Sethi as Mowgli, the human orphan adopted by animals in the jungle and protected from some of its more dangerous inhabitants. Murray joins a starry cast lending their voices to the animals that already includes Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Christopher Walken as King Louie and Giancarlo Esposito as Akela. Favreau’s take on the tale has a release date set for October 9, 2015.

But he isn’t the only filmmaker planning a return trip to the jungle. Andy Serkis has been attached to make his own version for Warner Bros. for some time now and has scored a release date, along with a slightly different title.

While Serkis has been busy on other projects and has yet to start assembling his cast for what will be now known as Jungle Book: Origins, he’ll be shooting next year for an October 21, 2016 release date. The Hobbit’s second-unit director and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes star will work from a script by Callie Kloves.