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Actor Ben Kingsley on the Voice of Bagheera in ‘The Jungle Book’

Image via Disney

Image via Disney

“The Jungle Book.” That’s a movie title you’re going to hear a lot of in the near future. And that’s not just because of the supposedly stellar D23 Expo 2015 footage fans got to see a few weeks back, but because we’re getting not one, but TWO “Jungle Book” movies in the next couple years. The first is the Jon Favreau-directed picture from Disney, hitting theaters in 2016, and the second is Andy Serkis’ directorial debut entitled “Jungle Book: Origins.” That being said, it’s Jon Favreau’s movie that we’ll be talking about today.

For those who haven’t read the book or seen the classic Disney animated film, “The Jungle Book” follows a boy named Mowgli, who is raised by wolves, in his journey of self-discovery. During his personal journey he encounters many friends and foes along the way, including the terrifying Shere Khan, and the paternal Bagheera.

Speaking with Yahoo! Movies at D23, Ben Kingsley–British actor of Indian descent–discussed how he found the voice of Bagheera, the black panther who becomes the father figure of the human boy Mowgli in the story. Surprisingly enough, finding the voice of the animated creature wasn’t as easy as one would think.

“I offered an Indian accent to Jon for my Bagheera, and we debated it, and then we thought, ‘No — actually, it’s more British,’ and then I leaned towards a military Brit to have authority, discipline, command, and then underneath that of course, tremendous loyalty and affection.”

It would have made sense for Kingsley to have gone with an Indian accent, as the storydoes take place in India (though of course, the British did absorb the country into their empire around that time as well), but great to see that Kingsley put so much thought into his performance. Of course, what else could we expect from an actor of his caliber? It’s not like the man’s made a living off of phoning it in. 

Either way, it’s exciting to see things come together on this project, and I can only wait in anticipation until we get a chance to see a first trailer.

“The Jungle Book” hits theaters on April 15, 2016.

SOURCE: Yahoo! Movies

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