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Who will be King of the Jungle?

Baloo and MowgliIt’s every mancub for himself as two new versions of The Jungle Book race to the big screen.

With the backing of two behemoth Hollywood studios, we thought it a good time to take a look at the contenders and some of the A-list talent currently being tapped to star.

In the blue corner is Disney’s CGI/live-action take; it’s already a decent pedigree as the Mouse House was also responsible for the much-loved original animation feature in 1967.

Jon Favreau is at the helm for this one, calling the shots from a screenplay by Justin Marks. Favreau also produces with Brigham Taylor.

A starry cast is assembling: Luther star Idris Elba is already attached to provide the malevolent, mellifluous tones of silky smooth tiger Shere Khan, and it has been recently reported that Scarlett Johansson is joining up as the voice of the hypnotising python Kaa. With Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o also said to be on board to portray Mowgli’s wolf mother Rakcha, this one certainly has the star quality needed to ensure big box office.

In the red corner is Warner Bros.’ version of the Rudyard Kipling stories. Andy Serkis is now firmly in the director’s chair, which had previously briefly been occupied by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu with Ron Howard having also been thrown into the mix as a likely replacement for the Mexican director.

Multi award-winining Serkis has a great track record when it comes to performance capture – winning critical acclaim for his roles as Gollum, King Kong, Captain Haddock and Caesar in Planet of the Apes.

With a screenplay by Steve and Callie Kloves, it seems likely that this one will reflect more of the darkness found in the original Rudyard Kipling stories – something Serkis has said originally drew him to the project - which will mark his feature directorial debut.

We are looking forward to more location and casting news soon on both shiny new versions over the coming weeks.

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