Baloo The Bear is the new Truman Capote. There’s a long history of competing projects in Hollywood — see “Capote” and “Infamous” a decade ago, for instance — but two big-budget movie versions of Rudyard Kipling’s classic “The Jungle Book” has to be one of the most curious, with the different projects landing just eighteen months apart, and with very different approaches to the same story. Further off is Warner Bros’ “Jungle Book: Origins,” a darker approach directed by and starring Andy Serkis in his trademark performance-capture style, with Serkis as Baloo, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, Christian Bale as Bagheera and Cate Blanchett as Kaa, among others.
But more imminent — just six months away, now — is Disney’s “The Jungle Book.” Directed by “Iron Man” helmer Jon Favreau, the film adheres closer to the 1967 animated film by the same studio, songs and all. Favreau’s assembled a terrific cast, with Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Giancarlo Esposito and Lupita Nyong’o as Akela and Raksha, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Christopher Walken as King Louie and, best of all, Bill Murray as Baloo, and you can get your first look at the film thanks to the new trailer below.
“The Jungle Book” might be our favorite Disney animated classic, so it’ll be interesting to see how Favreau’s tackling it. Will it be an honorable follow up that makes the Serkis picture look redundant, or a cheap cash-in? Take a look below, and you can find out in theaters on April 15th, 2016