Christopher Walken doesn’t exactly sound like Louis Prima, but the Oscar winner has been cast to voice King Louie, the same part that the legendary trumpeter had for the original Jungle Book, in Disney’s new version of Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli stories.
Walken is the latest A-lister to join the cast of the Jon Favreau-directed project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Breaking Bad actor Giancarlo Esposito also joined the cast and will play Akela, the leader of a wolf pack.
The casting of Walken does highlight how different a direction Favreau and the studio are hoping to take the Jungle Book stories in the new movie. King Louie was the leader of monkeys who abduct Mowgli and got to sing “I Wan’na be Like You,” one of the film’s signature songs. Of course, Walken’s not really known for singing, but he has been hired to play Captain Hook in NBC’s Peter Pan Live broadcast this winter.
The new Jungle Book will have one human actor – 10-year-old newcomer Neel Sethi, who will play Mowgli. The voice cast will feature Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba and Scarlett Johansson.
Jungle Book hits theaters on Oct. 9, 2015. Warner Bros. is also working on its own adaptation with Andy Serkis as director.
image courtesy of Jennifer Graylock/INFphoto.com
Deputy Editor Daniel S Levine is a longtime movie fan and a graduate of Hoftsra University. I also know just about everything you might need to know about Star Wars.