Disney announced today that Academy Award-winning actor Ben Kingsley is set to voice Bagheera in it's live action remake of The Jungle Book, coming to theaters in 2015. My history with Kingsley may not be as extensive as other movie-goers, but for the uninitiated video game and comic nerd, Kingsley is most recognizable as Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3, the voice of Nizam in Prince of Persia, and the voice of Sabine in Fable III. That, of course, is not where he's best known in the real world: from playing Anne Frank's father to Mahatma Gandhi in 1982's Ghandi, Kingsley has led a rather prolific career, and this Disney nerd is more than excited to see him take on the role of everyone's favorite, albeit always stressed-out panther.
To describe Kingsley's role, let's pluck a quote directly from the The Jungle Book itself, written by Rudyard Kipling:
Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody dared to cross his path; for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down.
Classically, Bagheera speaks for the human cub Mowgli, in a sense taking the role of mentor in the boy's life. It is also Bagheera who delivers Mowgli back to his human tribe when the boy comes of age, so the role itself is key within the story.
What do you think of this casting -- and who are you hoping to see cast in the movie as well?