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Walken Joins ‘The Jungle Book’

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14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - ArrivalsChristopher Walken is to voice the orangutan King Louie in Disney’s new version of the Jungle Book.

The Hollywood star is the latest name to be revealed for Jon Favreau’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s book.

Giancarlo Esposito, who starred in the television series Breaking Bad, will also join the cast in the film which is a mixture of live action and computer-generated animation.

Walken is taking on the role of the ape who became famous for singing I Wanna Be Like You in the 1967 animated version.

The character, which was voiced by Louis Prima, did not feature in the original book as orangutans are not native to India where it is set.

The duo join Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa and newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli – the only actor to physically appear on screen.

The 3D picture has an October 2015 release date.

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Ana de Armas Joins Daniel Craig In Rian Johnson’s Knives Out

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Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049) has officially signed on to join actors Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Michael Shannon in Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.

The film, which Johnson also wrote, is scheduled to start shooting next month. Knives Out has been described as a contemporary whodunit, with Craig portraying an archetypal grizzled detective, tasked with getting to the bottom of a classic locked-room murder mystery.

Johnson is set to produce with his creative partner Ram Bergman, and studios are expected to bid fiercely for the rights to distribute the feature in the coming months. Craig was previously pencilled in to begin shooting Bond 25 for director Danny Boyle at the tail end of this year, but when Boyle departed that project following creative differences it freed up the Casino Royale actor’s schedule to join Knives Out.

Somewhat ironically, Ana de Armas can next be seen in an untitled project from Danny Boyle, which is likely to release prior to Johnson’s crime thriller.

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Michael B. Jordan To Lead, Produce Hitman Novel Adaptation The Silver Bear

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Black Panther and Creed star Michael B. Jordan is set to produce and star in Lionsgate’s adaptation of Derek Haas’ hitman novel The Silver Bear.

Haas, who penned the screenplay for both Wanted and 3:10 to Yuma, released the novel online in 2008 (and it was later collated into physical print with its two sequels, becoming The Assassin Trilogy). The book follows an assassin named Columbus, a.k.a the Silver Bear, who is initially tasked with hunting and eliminating a wily politician who dreams of being president, before becoming embroiled in a high-action conspiracy. Frank Baldwin (The Godmother) adapted the script from Haas’ novel, with the intention clearly being to kick off a franchise.

Lionsgate chairman Joe Drake released a statement, exuberating that “The Silver Bear is the kind of story that needs to be experienced on the big screen and Michael is the perfect movie star to inhabit the skin of this dynamic character and take us into the cinematic world of Columbus. We’re incredibly honoured that Michael and [his production house] Nickel City chose Lionsgate to partner with in bringing this exciting property to life”.

The project is presently seeking a director with experience in handling high-octane, contemporary action. Meanwhile, Michael B. Jordan can next be seen in Creed II, which releases in UK cinemas on the 30th November, rated 12A.

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Idris Elba Joining Taylor Swift, Sir Ian McKellan In Cats Adaptation

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Apparently Shere Khan isn’t done with Cats. The Jungle Book and Luther actor Idris Elba has joined the cast of The Danish Girl director Tom Hooper’s upcoming adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical, alongside an all-star cast.

Already on board are Lord of the Rings‘ Sir Ian McKellan, entertainer James Corden, and pop stars Jennifer Hudson and Taylor Swift. The film, which is being produced by Universal Studios, ran for 21 years in the West End and 18 years on Broadway.

Idris Elba is currently filming the gleefully-anticipated Fast and Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, which will pit him as the antagonist against Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s fan-favourites.

Cats is eyeing a December 20th, 2019 release.

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