Actors Christopher Walken and Giancarlo Esposito have been officially added to the cast of Disney’s live-action remake of classic children’s tale The Jungle Book. They will be joining a group of high-in-demand Hollywood actors already cast in the project, including Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave), Idris Elba (The Wire, Pacific Rim), Scarlet Johansson (Lost in Translation, Lucy), and Ben Kingsley (Schindler’s List, The Boxtrolls). Nyong’o will voice the mother wolf Raksha, Elba the villain Shere Khan, Johansson the cunning snake Kaa, and Kingsley the black panther Bagheera.
Walken is cast for the voice of King Louie, the comical monkey ruler. Esposito will be voicing the character Akela, the leader of the wolf pack. Walken is known for a plethora of iconic roles, from films like True Romance, Catch Me If You Can, and Seven Psychopaths. Esposito is perhaps most widely recognized as the infamous villain Gus Fring from television phenomenon Breaking Bad, (think face-melting explosion). What may be less known is that Walken and Esposito have previously worked with each other in the 1990 crime film King of New York. The addition of these two actors is the bow on top of a neatly packaged ensemble of talented actors in a highly-anticipated Disney film.
The film is a part of a trend of live-action Disney remakes, a la Maleficent and upcoming Cinderella. These films are likely to bring parents and children together, just as Disney films always have, to relive their favorite stories in an exciting, re-imagined way.