Walt Disney Pictures announced today that Ben Kingsley has signed on to provide the voice of the black panther Bagheera in The Jungle Book. Take a look at the brief, official statement from the studio, then read on for more details regarding this adaptation.
"Academy Award-winning actor Ben Kingsley has been cast as the voice of Bagheera in Disney's upcoming The Jungle Book. Directed by Jon Favreau from a script by Justin Marks, The Jungle Book combines live action and animated filmmaking. The Jungle Book arrives in theaters in 3D on October 9, 2015."
Based on Rudyard Kipling's timeless novel, The Jungle Book centers on Mowgli, a young boy who is raised in the wild by a pack of wolves lead by the mother wolf Rachka, along with a bear and the black panther Bagheera, voiced by Kingsley. In the Rudyard Kipling novel, Bagheera is featured in many of Mowgli's adventures, and serves as the young boy's mentor and one of his closest friends.
Idris Elba has signed on to voice the villainous tiger Shere Khan, who sees Mowgli as a threat to his kingdom. We reported in April that Scarlett Johansson and Lupita Nyong'o are in talks to voice Ka, a python who hypnotizes and eats other animals, and Rachka. It isn't known when production will begin on The Jungle Book.