He’s not usually one to make a monkey out of himself, but Christopher Walken has been confirmed as the voice for madcap orangutan King Louie in an upcoming reboot of The Jungle Book.
Disney’s latest twist on the classic Rudyard Kipling tale has recruited some huge names already, with Walken looking to be the biggest coup of the lot.
Director John Favreau has managed to sign up Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Ben Kingsley (Bagheera) and Scarlett Johansson (Kaa) for the live action-computer animation combo. Only new kid on the block Neel Sethi (Mowgli) will appear in person on screen.
While this production has all the makings of a sure-fire hit, despite it being yet another Hollywood remake, it may be facing some stiff competition already. Roaring along nicely with another version are Warner Brothers, who have Andy Serkis at the helm employing the performance-capture technique he has made his trademark. How film technology has moved on since the 1942 Sabu vehicle, where the staff at Alexander Korda Studios had to make do with a decidedly dodgy, rubber python.
Those of you going ape over the prospect of another King Louie may know that the first incarnation was voiced by jazz veteran Louis Prima in the 1967 Disney motion picture. The character had never featured before this film because Kipling based his story on the wildlife of India, to which orangutans are a non-native species. Then again, if it’s safe for a bear to put on a grass skirt what’s a little more artistic license? Prima, of course, also lent his considerable vocal talents to the ever-popular tune, I Wanna Be Like You.
With Disney’s animal adventure due out in October 2015, which version do you think will come out on top? While we’re at it, who should voice Baloo? Let us know!