Benedict Cumberbatch to Voice Shere Khan in Warner Bros.’ ‘Jungle Book: Origins’

Benedict Cumberbatch Jungle Book Shere Khan
David Livingston/Getty Images

Benedict Cumberbatch has come on board Warner Bros.’ live-action version of “Jungle Book: Origins” as the voice of the villainous tiger Shere Khan.

The studio recently dated “Jungle Book: Origins” for Oct. 21, 2016 — a year and a week after Disney’s rival project opens.

Andy Serkis will direct along with producing with “Harry Potter” scribe Steve Kloves and Jonathan Cavendish, Serkis’ partner at his London-based production company The Imaginarium. Callie Kloves wrote the adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling stories about a young boy raised by wolves.

Disney’s own “Jungle Book” opens Oct. 9, 2015, with Jon Favreau directing and Idris Elba voicing the evil tiger. Kipling’s original stories were published in 1894 and are in the public domain.

The casting of Cumberbatch is the first for “Jungle Book: Origins.” It is the first feature directing gig for Serkis, although the actor was a second unit director on two of Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” movies, including the barrel chase scene in “The Desolation of Smaug.”

Cumberbatch appeared with Serkis in the “Hobbit” movies as the voice of the dragon Smaug. He will be seen next as Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game,” the drama premiering at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Cumberbatch is repped by UTA and UK’s Conway van Gelder Grant.

The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

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  1. Alex says:

    Let me guess, Khan is white in this one, too. :)

    • Shere Khan is a tiger. So unless a job is being taken away from a talking tiger someplace that I don’t know about, the ethnicity of the actor providing the voice is wholly irrelevant.

      For my part, when I heard that Cumberbatch had been cast for the movie my first thought was that his voice would be awesome for Shere Khan. So I was delighted when I clicked through to the article and saw that was the role he’d been cast in.

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