Who doesn't love Benedict Cumberbatch? He's Smaug, Sherlock and Khan, and he is one of the nicest nerd-actors to boot. The man is just so darned polite! He actively changed the name of his fandom because he was uncomfortable with a word that he felt to be derogatory; how's that for fan appreciation? He dances, he's silly, he makes hilarious videos and always takes pictures with his fans, he officiated his friend's same-sex wedding, and he generally just ups the level of awesome in the world.
Now, he has been announced to voice Shere Khan in Warner Brother's upcoming version of [The Jungle Book](movie:1038643). He will be up against Idris Elba in the Disney adaptation, coming out around the same time. (You know Elba as Heimdall in Thor, by the way.)
Two incredibly different casting choices, and I'm 100% on the Cumberbatch bandwagon. Why? Well, do you remember the Shere Khan from the original Disney animation? That's why. Warner Brothers may be going for a darker style based on the book, but I truly hope we get the sneering, snobby tiger that I loved as a child. Cumberbatch basically is that Shere Khan - just look at him!
He has the voice, he has the facial expressions, he even has the perfectly dry snobbishness down pat.
He's also got more than enough experience playing the villain, and if he can pull off a dragon, a tiger should be a piece of cake.
It's just too easy! Whoever did this casting gets a standing ovation, and I cannot wait to see him bringing his inimitable style to this project. Sorry Idris, and I'm sure you will also make an amazing (and very different) Shere Khan, but Cumberbatch is just too perfect for this.
Now we wait and see who else will be cast in the Warner Brothers version (Disney has announced their cast already, including Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken). If they can match up the rest of these as well, I will be seriously impressed.
I'll be seeing both versions, and hoping that neither are quite as forgettable as the 1994 live-action offering. I'll also be crossing my fingers that Cumberbatch continues his signature silliness, and maybe treats us to a little dance number - he may not be working with Disney on this one, but wouldn't you love to see him shaking his tail feathers to King Louie?