Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures' new big-screen, 3D adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's beloved classic The Jungle Book, marking the feature film directorial debut of Andy Serkis. Blending live action and performance capture, the film features an impressive roster of stars, including Oscar winners Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett and Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch.
The story follows the upbringing of the human child Mowgli, raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera, Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan. But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins.
The actors performing the roles of the story's central animal characters are: Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies) as the tiger, Shere Khan; Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, Cinderella) as Kaa, the snake; Christian Bale ("The Fighter," the "Dark Knight" Trilogy) as the panther, Bagheera; Andy Serkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) as Baloo, the bear; Peter Mullan (Hercules, War Horse) as the leader of the wolf pack, Akela; Tom Hollander (the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Pride & Prejudice) as the scavenging hyena, Tabaqui; Naomie Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Skyfall) as Nisha, the female wolf, who adopts the baby Mowgli as one of her cubs; Eddie Marsan (Snow White and the Huntsman, Sherlock Holmes) as Nisha's mate, Vihaan; and Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction) as Mowgli's Brother Wolf. On the human side, young actor Naomie Harris (The Hundred-Foot Journey, Lone Survivor) will play the boy raised by wolves, Mowgli.
The film is being produced by Steve Kloves, who wrote seven of the blockbuster Harry Potter films, and Jonathan Cavendish (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason), with Nikki Penny (Gravity) serving as executive producer. The screenplay is by Callie Kloves, based on the stories by Kipling. Among those collaborating with Serkis behind the scenes are production designer Gary Freeman (Cinderella), Oscar-winning editor Mark Sanger (Gravity) and Oscar-winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne (Elizabeth: The Golden Age). The film is slated for release on October 6, 2017.