Benedict Cumberbatch is tapped for Warner Bros' "Jungle Book: Origins", The Hollywood Reporter learns. The actor who voices dragon Smaug in the last two installments of Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" saga is booked to voice Shere Khan in the adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli tale.
The Julian Assange of "The Fifth Estate" is the first actor hired for the WB flick which is going to be directed by Andy Serkis. In the rival project to be helmed by Jon Favreau for Disney, the villainous man-eating tiger is set to be voiced by Idris Elba.
The WB movie is expected to make its way out across the States starting October 21, 2016. Steve Kloves ("Harry Potter" movies) serves as a producer, while his daughter Callie Kloves writes the script. The plot is still under wraps, but the pic is expected to take on a darker route.
"What I love about the screen adaptation by Steve and Callie Kloves is it's very truthful to the original book; it doesn't shy away from its darkness," Serkis once said. "The jungle is a Garden of Eden and a wonderful place for Mowgli to grow up in, but also is a place of fear and a place of threat."
Disney, meanwhile, locks October 9, 2015 for "The Jungle Book". Neel Sethi will play the titular kid, while Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, Christopher Walken and Bill Murray are among the voice cast. Although it will be family friendly, Favreau insisted the film would not be same as the one made by the Mouse House in 1967.