Los Angeles: Oscar winning British actor Ben Kingsley has signed on to play loyal panther Bagheera in Jon Favreau's new version of “The Jungle Book”.
The 70-year-old is set to join the cast of Disney's new live-action version of their classic 1967 animation, playing the wise black panther who watches over orphan boy Mowgli, reports contactmusic.com.
Based on Rudyard Kipling's book, Jon Favreau's fresh take on the story follows Mowgli's adventures in the jungle with his sidekicks Bagheera and Baloo the bear.
Idris Elba is already on board to voice villainous tiger Shere Khan, while Scarlett Johansson will lend her tones to Kaa, Mowgli's charming python ally.
“12 Years a Slave” breakout star Lupita Nyong'o has also been cast as Rakcha, the wolf who raises the boy as her own.
“The Jungle Book” is set for release Oct 9, 2015.