Bill Murray to Play Baloo in Disney's New 'Jungle Book'

Actor joins Christopher Walken, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o in Jon Favreau-directed reboot

Bill Murray
Ethan Miller/WireImage
Bill Murray
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Bill Murray is set to give voice to the lovably laid-back bear Baloo in Disney's upcoming reboot of The Jungle Book. Deadline reports that the actor will be joining the Jon Favreau-directed production, which is set for release on October 9th, 2015.

Murray is taking up the post in an already-impressive cast that includes Christopher Walken as the orangutan King Louie, Scarlett Johansson as the snake Kaa, Ben Kingsley as the panther Bagheera, Lupita Nyong'o as the wolf Raksha and Idris Elba as the tiger Shere Khan. The film, based on Rudyard Kipling's classic children's book, will be a mix of live action and animation. Mowgli, the orphaned boy raised by wolves, will be played by 10-year-old newcomer Neel Sethi.

Disney first set the Kipling tales to film in its 1967 animated feature. In that earlier version, Baloo was played by bandleader Phil Harris, who helped make the film a hit with the Oscar-nominated song "The Bare Necessities."

Jon Favreau celebrated the casting news on Friday night by posting to Instagram a shot of Mowgli and Baloo from the 1967 film, along with a Caddyshack reference. "Looks like we cast our Baloo. So we have that going for us. Which is nice," he wrote in the caption. 

Another Jungle Book film will be coming the year after Disney's release. Warner Bros. announced on Friday that their version, a live-action 3D film called Jungle Book: Origins, directed by Lord of the Rings' Andy Serkis, will hit theaters on October 21st, 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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