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Andy Serkis starts filming 'The Jungle Book,' starring Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch

The movie, which is a blend of live action and performance capture, is set for theatrical release Oct. 6, 2017.

By Karen Butler
Andy Serkis starts filming 'The Jungle Book,' starring Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch
English actor Benedict Cumberbatch attends The EE British Academy Film Awards 2015 at The Royal Opera House in London on Feb. 8, 2015. Photo by Paul Treadway/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, March 10 (UPI) -- Principal photography has begun on the latest film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's beloved classic The Jungle Book, Warner Bros. Pictures announced Monday.

The movie, which is a blend of live action and performance capture, marks the feature-film directorial debut of Andy Serkis, who is renowned for his performance-capture work in The Lord of the Rings and recent Planet of the Apes franchises. Serkis has also served as a second-unit director on many of Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson's movies.

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"The story follows the upbringing of the human child Mowgli, raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India," a synopsis of The Jungle Book said. "As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera, Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan. But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins."

The actors performing the roles of the story's central animal characters are: Benedict Cumberbatch as the tiger, Shere Khan; Cate Blanchett as Kaa, the snake; Christian Bale as the panther, Bagheera; Andy Serkis as Baloo, the bear; Peter Mullan as the leader of the wolf pack, Akela; Tom Hollander as the scavenging hyena, Tabaqui; Naomie Harris as Nisha, the female wolf, who adopts the baby Mowgli as one of her cubs; Eddie Marsan as Nisha's mate, Vihaan; and Jack Reynor as Mowgli's Brother Wolf.

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Newcomer Rohan Chand will play Mowgli.

The film is being produced by Steve Kloves, who wrote seven of the blockbuster Harry Potter films, and Jonathan Cavendish, with Nikki Penny serving as executive producer. The screenplay is by Callie Kloves, based on the stories by Kipling.

The film is slated for release on Oct. 6, 2017.

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