Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett join Benedict Cumberbatch in Warner Bros.' 'Jungle Book: Origins'

By Daniel S Levine,

While Warner Bros.’ Jungle Book movie is coming out a year after Disney’s, the studios are clearly trying to one-up each other in terms of casting. After Tuesday’s high-profile casting of Benedict Cumberbatch in its project, Warner Bros. has enlisted two Oscar winners to join the team.

As previously reported, Cumberbatch joined the film to voice Shere Khan in the film, which will be Andy Serkis’ directorial debut. Cumberbatch previously voiced the dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter again broke news of more casting. The headliners in the group are Oscar winners Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett.

Bale landed the role of Bagheera, the panther who helps Baloo (Serkis) save Mowgli. Blanchett will voice the sinister snake Kaa.

The other actors to join the film today are Naomie Harris (Skyfall); Tom Hollander (Pirates of the Caribbean); Eddie Marsan (The World’s End); and Peter Mullan (Harry Potter).

Mowgli will be played by Rohan Chad, Jason Bateman’s co-star in Bad Words.

THR says that casting on the project, titled Jungle Book: Origins, is now finished, so production can get underway. The film is slated for release on Oct. 21, 2016, a year after Disney’s movie.

Of course, the Rudyard Kipling stories are in the public domain, so there’s nothing stopping two Hollywood studios from adapting the same material.

image courtesy of Peter West/ACE/INFphoto.com

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