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Who's who in the incredible world of The Jungle Book


Recently unveiled to a rave reception at the Disney D23 ExpoThe Jungle Book promises to introduce Rudyard Kipling's classic adventure story to a whole new generation. 

A live-action take on the story featuring cutting-edge CGI animal characters, it's directed by  Iron Man filmmaker Jon Favreau – and he has an awesome A-list cast at his disposal. Here's your guide to the stars of The Jungle Book.

1) Scarlett Johansson

 Voices: Kaa the snake 

The lowdown: The versatile and glamorous star of films like Lost in Translation, The Avengers and Under the Skin lends her seductive, alluring tones to the role of the python, originally voiced by Sterling Holloway in the 1967 animated classic. Will the famously trippy tune 'Trust In Me' be featuring? If it does, expect Johansson to completely redefine the song. Kaa this time narrates the story and explains how our hero Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is discovered by panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley).

2) Idris Elba

Voices: Shere Khan the tiger

The lowdown: This is an inspired bit of casting. British star Elba's commanding tones have been put to use in TV series Luther and films like Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. So he's sure to bring a sense of menacing authority to the story's villain, a tiger with a grudge against hero Mowgli. Will he top George Sanders' famously smooth vocal performance from the original, though?

3) Bill Murray

Voices: Baloo the bear

The lowdown: Talking of inspired casting, is there anyone better suited to voicing laid back Baloo than the famously chilled out Bill Murray? Footage of the Ghostbusters actor voicing the character screened at Disney D23 and brought the house down – and yes, 'The Bear Necessities' is back.

4) Ben Kingsley

Voices: Bagheera the panther

The lowdown: As one of Britain's pre-eminent thesps, Kingsley is surely perfect to voice the wise big cat who helps teach Mowgli about the wider world. "We did have a few days together, Neel and I," Kingsley explains, "and I could get the feel of exactly what his performance was... He brings a great purity, honesty and discovery to his performance."

5) Lupita Nyong'o

Voices: Raksha the wolf

The lowdown: The 12 Years a Slave Oscar winner voices one of the story's most important characters, the lupine creature who ultimately adopts Mowgli as one of her own. Raksha means 'protection' and she vows to defend Mowgli against the villainous Shere Khan.

6) Christopher Walken

Voices: King Louie the orangutan

The lowdown: The famously quirky actor is playing the jungle VIP, the king of the swingers and the jungle's coolest cat (well, monkey). Frankly, Walken's off-kilter energy should be perfect – remember his dancing in Fatboy Slim's 'Weapon of Choice' video?

And a warm welcome to...

7) Neel Sethi

Plays: Mowgli

The lowdown: As the hero of Jon Favreau's vine-swinging adventure, Sethi has to shoulder a huge burden, interacting with all of the aforementioned CGI characters and presenting a Mowgli for the 21st century generation. Not that he's showing the pressure – at the Disney D23 Expo, Sethi lapped up the attention. "They're really accomplished actors and it was awesome working with them," Sethi raved of the cast. He also admitted he hadn't been to Disneyland before – we're sure that's about to change.

The Jungle Book swings into Cineworld on 15th April 2016. Excited? Tweet us @Cineworld with your thoughts.