On the back of the news that Christopher Walken (Jersey Boys) and Giancarlo Esposito (Batman: Assault on Arkham) have been cast in Disney’s live-action updated of The Jungle Book, comedy legend Bill Murray has joined the picture. Like Walken and Esposito, the star of Groundhog Day and Rushmore will be lending his voice to one of the film’s many talking animals. In Murray’s case, he will be voicing Baloo the Bear, who in Disney’s original animated film sang the iconic song, “The Bare Necessities.”
The casting makes sense when you match the general laid-back demeanor Murray exudes in many of his roles (see: Ghostbusters, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou) with the laid-back attitude Baloo had in the original movie (see: “The Bare Necessities”) – considering it’s the same studio doing both films, there’s good reason to assume the characters will match.
The Jungle Book is a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling. Most of the stories center around Mowgli, a boy who was raised in an Indian jungle by a family of wolves. Along with the 1967 animated film and the upcoming movie, The Jungle Book has had many other adaptations, including another live action one produced by Disney in 1994, directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli.
The new film is being directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef), and Mowgli is being played by newcomer Neel Sethi.