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Panther-voiced human Ben Kingsley to voice panther in Disney’s Jungle Book

Seeing as all cats speak with a British accent (Isn’t that right, Lord Meowbottom? Yes it is! Yes it is!), it stands to reason that the cats of Disney’s Jungle Book will be voiced by English actors Idris Elba and Sir Ben Kingsley. Variety reports that Kingsley has joined the live-action-and-also-CGI-obviously-we’re-not-trying-to-get-sued update of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale, in the role of Bagheera. The antithesis of Elba’s tiger Shere Khan, Bagheera is the loyal panther who helps look out for the orphaned Mowgli—mostly by not eating him, like a panther would. Kipling himself once described Bagheera as possessing “a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down,” two qualities that Kingsley was confirmed to have by director Jon Favreau, in the most emotionally traumatizing audition ever. 

It’s now believed that, midway through the film, Ben Kingsley’s character will be revealed as a tabby only pretending to be a panther.

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