Benedict Cumberbatch has been cast as the voice of Shere Khan in a live-action adaptation of Jungle Book made by Warner Bros that will compete against another live-action version made by Disney.
The Warner Bros version, Jungle Book: Origins, will be the directorial debut of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit actor Andy Serkis, with Sherlock star Cumberbatch set to lend his imperious tones to the infamous man-eating tiger, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The voice of Shere Khan in the Disney film will be performed by Luther star Idris Elba, under director Jon Favreu. The Disney version – announced earlier this year – is fully cast whereas Cumberbatch is the first name to be announced for Serkis' take on Rudyard Kipling’s story.
To have two similar films in production from two different studios is nothing new, of course. In 1991, there was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Robin Hood; in 1998, there was Antz and A Bug's Life, and in 2012, there were two takes on the Snow White fairy tale, Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsmen. There are many reasons for it, mostly to do with a topical story or a screenplay being sent around to many studios.
Disney’s Jungle Book will be out October 2015, while the Warner Bros version slated for October 2016.