Lupita Nyong’o & Idris Elba Both Voice Characters In Disney's 'Jungle Book' Adaptation

Disney's 'The Jungle Book' adaptation, featuring the voices of Lupita Nyong’o and Idris Elba, shares its visually-stunning first trailer.

Lupita Nyong'o rocks Peperuka's 'Me I Love Nairobi' tee at Disney Land (via Lupita Nyong'o)

In April of next year, Disney will be releasing a hybrid CGI/live-action movie adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Directed by Jon Favreau and written by Justin Marks, the film's only human star is ten-year-old Neel Sethi in his debut role as the movie's protagonist, Mowgli. Joining Sethi is a star-studded list of voices, including Scarlett JohanssonBill Murray, Christopher Walken, Ben KingsleyIdris Elba and Lupita Nyong'o.

The film marks Nyong'o's third Disney project currently in the works (the others being Stars Wars: The Force Awakens and the Ugandan chess biopic Queen of Katwe). In it, the Academy Award-winning actress will voice the fiercely protective motherly wolf character of Raksha. “I really enjoy that process, playing a mother of this boy,” she said in an interview with EW last month. “Just the love between a human and a wolf was something really cool to explore.”

Elba, meanwhile, will voice the villainous tiger known as Shere Khan.

Today, Disney's The Jungle Book shared its first official look with a visually-stunning trailer. A description accompanying the clip sheds additional insight on the reboot:

Directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong'o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. The wild adventure swings into theaters in 3D on April 15, 2016.

The Jungle Book opens in theaters April 15, 2016. Watch the film's teaser trailer below.


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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