Idris Elba as Shere Khan

Disney has picked up momentum in developing its version of The Jungle Book, which is set to be a live-action film with extensive CG embellishment. The project has just cast Idris Elba as Shere Khan, the tiger whose name literally means “king.” Elba has a regal bearing no matter what he’s doing, and even his voice alone should be able to command respect, and instill fear. Read More »

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Ron Howard

Warner Bros.’ The Jungle Book took a hit last month when Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu dropped out over scheduling conflicts, but now it’s back on track with a new director. Ron Howard has entered talks to helm the live-action adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling adventure. More details after the jump.

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Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Briefly: Two competing Jungle Book films are in the works but one just fell back to second place in the race. The Warner Bros. version, written by Callie Kloves, was aiming to have Babel director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu direct. That’s not going to happen, due to scheduling. The news makes Disney’s version, directed by Jon Favreau with an already-scheduled October 9, 2015 release date, the clear front runner. Warner Bros. now has to scramble for a new director. [Deadline]

the-jungle-book

Briefly: The new film from Babel, 21 Grams, and Biutiful director Alejandro González Iñárritu is a comedy of sorts, Birdman, about a washed-up superhero. But since we haven’t seen that yet it’s difficult to think of the director outside the dour confines of his major features. And so it’s weird to think about him making a version of The Jungle Book, based on Rudyard Kipling‘s novel about a young boy who is raised by animals.

Granted, this isn’t the Disney version, which has Jon Favreau attached to direct. This Jungle Book is at Warner Bros. — a studio that likes its big movies to be a lot more serious than what Disney would be after — and has a script from Callie Kloves with Steve Kloves (Harry Potter) producing. How will it be different from the Disney version? There’s no doubt that the tone will be darker, or more “realistic,” but otherwise we don’t have much indication.

At this point Iñárritu is not signed, and there’s no indication of how the film will be cast. [Deadline]

Alice in Wonderland

Briefly: Wow, that was fast. Mere weeks after first hearing about Jon Favreau‘s live-action 3D remake of The Jungle Book, Disney has given the film a release date. It’ll open October 9, 2015, making it the first film to claim a date in that month. But that’s not all. Disney also announced the follow up to the billion dollar hit Alice in Wonderland will come out a year later. Alice in Wonderland 2, starring Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska, opens May 27, 2016. James Bobin (The Muppets) will direct.

Also, Ron Howard‘s sea-bound film, Heart of the Sea starring Chris Hemsworth, will be released March 13, 2015. [ERC]

Jon Favreau Jungle Book

Jon Favreau is in talks to finally make that big budget Disney family movie we’re been waiting for. No, not Magic Kingdom. Instead, the director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2 is in negotiations to direct a new version of Rudyard Kipling‘s classic tale The Jungle Book. Read More »

Aladdin's Genie and Sebastian

Even casual Disney fans have likely noticed that the studio’s various animated features often contain subtle nods at each other. Rapunzel from Tangled has Disney fairy tale books in her collection, Nani from Lilo & Stitch has a Mulan poster, et cetera. But what if these aren’t mere sight gags from playful animators. What if, instead, they’re hard evidence that all of these movies take place in the same universe?

In an homage of sorts to Jon Negroni’s The Pixar Theory, Josh Butler posits that 30 of Disney’s animated features share a world. His thesis requires some suspension of disbelief — for one thing, it involves a lot of magic and time travel — but it’s fun to think about nonetheless. Hit the jump to see how Butler’s theory shakes out.

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Tom Hiddleston at D23

Tom Hiddleston sure knows how to work a crowd. Although his entrance at D23 wasn’t quite as dramatic as his big Loki monologue from Comic-Con, what it lacked in menacing villainy, it more than made up for in adorable musicality.

The Brit actor was at the event to promote The Pirate Fairy, Disney’s new animated musical about a badass fairy and a young Captain Hook. Christina Hendricks voices the former, while Hiddleston voices the latter.

It’s unclear whether they’ll provide the characters’ singing voices as well as their speaking ones, but either way Hiddleston seemed more than happy to show off his pipes — and his lingering affection for Disney’s The Jungle Book. He serenaded the audience with Baloo’s signature tune “The Bare Necessities,” as his co-star Hendricks gamely danced along. Watch the video clip after the jump.

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