Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, has just signed on to play a very different Khan. He'll provide the voice of Shere Khan, the tiger baddie, in a new live-action/motion-capture/CG-animated version of The Jungle Book -- called Jungle Book: Origins -- that's to be directed by Andy Serkis. Cumberbatch and Serkis have a connection: they've both worked on Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, with Cumberbatch playing both Smaug and the Necromancer, and Serkis reprising his Lord of the Rings role as Gollum in the first film and serving as a second unit director on the trilogy. Jungle Book: Origins, due out in 2016, will also feature Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris and Eddie Marsan, among others.
Jungle Book: Origins is one of many projects on Cumberbatch's busy schedule. The Imitation Game, a biopic about Alan Turing, will open on November 21, while Penguins of Madagascar (for which he provides a voice) will reach theaters on November 26, and the third and final Hobbit film, The Battle of the Five Armies, will be released on December 17. Cumberbatch has also wrapped production on Black Mass, co-starring in the drama with Johnny Depp, and is committed to reprising his role as Sherlock Holmes in another season of Sherlock and to playing Richard III opposite Judi Dench in the BBC's upcoming filmed adaptations of Henry VI (done in two parts) and Richard III, collectively referred to as The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses.
And yes, Cumberbatch has joined the ranks of William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, George Takei, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner and Robert Picardo and taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Though Stewart's was by far the classiest video we've seen, Cumberbatch's rates as the funniest. It's not over when it seems to be over, so keep watching.
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