The classic story of The Jungle Book is coming to life on-screen yet again. This weekend, Netflix drops Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle, a live-action version of Rudyard Kipling's 1894 story. So you may be wondering: Who is in the Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle cast? It looks like Netflix really stacked this one.
The title character Mowgli, a young boy raised in the jungle by wolves, is played by Rohan Chand. Chand, 14, already has a few killer jobs on his résumé. As per his IMDb page, his notable roles include playing Adam Sandler's son in 2011's Jack and Jill, and parts in The Hundred-Foot Journey, Homeland, and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Andy Serkis both directed and acted in the movie. He plays Baloo, the Himalayan brown bear who Mowgli has a close friendship with. The cast is full of other amazing actors — though you won't see many of their faces on screen, as most characters in this movie are animals. Christian Bale voices Bagheera the panther, another one of Mowgli's animal buddies. Cate Blanchett voices Kaa, an Indian python and foe of Mowgli's. Fun fact: Kaa was voiced by a male actor (Sterling Holloway) in the 1967 animated film, so it's awesome that Serkis went with a woman for the role this time around.
Rounding out the voice-actor cast is Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, an evil Bengal tiger who wants to kill Mowgli; Peter Mullan as Akela, the head of the wolf pack that raises Mowgli; and Naomie Harris and Eddie Marsan as Nisha and Vihaan, a pair of wolves in the pack.
A few actors also star in the film as humans. Freida Pinto plays Messua, a rich woman who takes in Mowgli; and Matthew Rhys plays John Lockwood, an artist and the real-life father of The Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling.
Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle has been a long time coming. Warner Bros. hired Andy Serkis back in 2013 to adapt Callie Kloves' script, Vanity Fair reported. While working on the film for the past five years, another adaptation of The Jungle Book was made and released — Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, which was a live-action version of Disney's 1967 animated movie.
“I genuinely feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Serkis told Vanity Fair of the film's upcoming Netflix release. “It takes away any worry about being judged on an opening weekend, which in this climate, is what everybody judges the film on. And people would always judge Mowgli against the other release, you know? This way everybody, across the world, will see this movie.”
That said, Mowgli is very different than past adaptations of The Jungle Book. In an interview with Collider, Serkis explained that the movie is darker than other iterations of the story, in that it is "very much closer to Rudyard Kiplings's book, which is a very complex treatise on identity, on being other" and frames Mowgli's journey as very "emotionally real" and with serious consequences.
And in a video interview with the Hindustan Times, Chand opened up about what he loves about his character, explaining that he admires his unique perseverance. "There's just so many problems that just keep coming at him, but he just keeps pushing through them no matter what happens," Chand told the Hindustan Times.
Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle lands on Netflix on Friday, Dec. 7. Happy watching!
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