As the release date to Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Bookdraws near, six new promotional images have been unveiled of the stunning cast next to the animals they lend their voices to.
Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Once Upon a Time) as Akela
Akela is the strong and hardened alpha-male wolf who shoulders the responsibility of his pack. He welcomes Mowgli to the family but worries he may one day compromise their safety. “Akela is a fierce patriarch of the wolf pack,” says Giancarlo Esposito, who voices the character. “He believes the strength of the pack lies in what each and every wolf offers. He’s a great leader, a wise teacher.”
Idris Elba (Zootropolis, Thor) as Shere Khan
Voiced by Idris Elba, Shere Khan bears the scars of man, which fuel his hatred of humans. Convinced that Mowgli poses a threat, the bengal tiger is determined to rid the jungle of the man-cub. “Shere Khan reigns with fear,” says Elba. “He terrorizes everyone he encounters because he comes from a place of fear.”
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Raksha
Lupita Nyong’o voices Raksha, a mother wolf who cares deeply for all of her pups—including man-cub Mowgli, whom she adopts as one of her own when he’s abandoned in the jungle as an infant. “She is the protector, the eternal mother,” says Nyong’o. “The word Raksha actually means protection in Hindi. I felt really connected to that, wanting to protect a son that isn’t originally hers but one she’s taken for her own.”
Scarlett Johansson (Avengers, Lucy) as Kaa
Kaa is a massive python who uses her voice and hypnotic gaze to entrance Mowgli. The man-cub can’t resist her captivating embrace. “Kaa seduces and entraps Mowgli with her storytelling,” says Scarlett Johansson. “She’s the mirror into Mowgli’s past. The way she moves is very alluring, almost coquettish.”
Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can) as King Louie
King Louie is a formidable ape who desperately wants the secret of Man’s deadly “red flower”—fire. He’s convinced Mowgli has the information he seeks. “King Louie is huge—12 feet tall,” says Christopher Walken, who voices the character. “But he’s as charming as he is intimidating when he wants to be.”
Ben Kingsley (Ghandi, Iron Man 3) as Bagheera
Bagheera is a sleek panther who feels it’s his duty to help the man-cub depart with dignity when it’s time for him to leave his jungle home. “Bagheera is Mowgli’s adoptive parent,” says Ben Kingsley, who lends his voice to Bagheera. “His role in Mowgli’s life is to educate, to protect and to guide. My Bagheera was military—he’s probably a colonel. He is instantly recognizable by the way he talks, how he acts and what his ethical code is.”
Sadly there appears to be no promotional photo of Bill Murray next to his CG character Baloo, but this special shoot is very enticing. While a few of us were dubious about another Disney live-action remake, this talented voice cast and the official Super Bowl trailer certainly gets us pumped for the movie.
The Jungle Book is released in theaters April 15th.
What do you think of the cast? Are you excited for The Jungle Book?
MJ is a writing and film graduate who loves to relax with scented candles and herbal teas. She is a dog-walker by day and a pie-maker by night. She loves movies starring Christopher Reeve and her favorite animated film is Meet the Robinsons. MJ also loves anything that LAIKA and Tim Burton come out with.