Bill Murray to Play Baloo in Disney's The Jungle Book Reboot
No word yet on whether the wry comic will sing "Bare Necessities" (but our fingers are crossed)
Bill Murray knows a thing or two about appreciating the bare necessities of life – and apparently Disney agrees.
The company has cast the droll photobomb specialist as Baloo in the upcoming live action/animated combination of The Jungle Book to be released in October 2015, according to a studio release.
The Saturday Night Live alum, 63, will play the laid-back, ticklish bear who befriends Mowgli, the child raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The story is originally based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book of the same name.
However, Baloo did not truly reach international acclaim until Disney released The Jungle Book animated feature in 1967.
In that movie, Baloo (as voiced by the late Phil Harris, best remembered as the perennially tipsy band leader for radio and TV comic Jack Benny) memorably delivers the Oscar-nominated Best Song “The Bare Necessities,” which teaches Mowgli how to live off the land while simultaneously living a life of leisure.
The upcoming Jon Favreau-directed film has also cast Christopher Walken as King Louie, Lupita Nyong’o as mother wolf Raksh, Scarlett Johansson as the python Kaa, Idris Elba as evil tiger Shere Khan and Breaking Bad‘s Giancarlo Esposito as wolf pack leader Akela. Newcomer Neel Sethi, 10, will star as Mowgli.
This is not the only Jungle Book reboot in the works. Warner Bros. is also putting together a live-action version of the beloved story, with Andy Serkis (AKA Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy) directing. That one is expected to be released in October 2016.