Idris and Benedict: Khan vs. Khan

Two Kahns: Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba (Pics: BBC)

Two Kahns: Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba (Pics: BBC)

Some days can pass by without a solitary mention or thought of the word ‘Khan,’ whether Kublai, Genghis or otherwise. But that’s not today, oh no.

Today we’ll be talking about two versions of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, both made using live-action techniques but by rival studios, and both using very familiar British actors to give haughty imperial steel to the voice of Shere Khan, the enemy of the man-cub Mowgli.

The Disney version, which builds upon its already impressive pedigree in this field—having cast haughty George Sanders in the role for the 1967 cartoon movie—has signed up Idris Elba as the scoundrel tiger. Jon Favreau is directing, and the movie is due out in October 2015.

Meanwhile Warner Bros. are working on their own version, Jungle Book: Origins, which will be the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, who has brought his Hobbit co-star buddy Benedict Cumberbatch in for tiger duty. That movie is slated for release in October 2016, so the two Khans are not exactly going head to head. Not that this will stop anyone (hello!) from conjecturing as to which of the two of them would do the better job.

Not that it would be fair to express a preference, but Benedict does have some experience as a Khan, having turned out to be Captain Kirk’s arch-nemesis played a character with an entirely non-spoilery relationship to that name, in Star Trek Into Darkness.

See more:
5 Vintage British Writers Speak in Rare Clips
Idris Elba Is The New Shere Khan
10 Best Moments from Benedict Cumberbatch’s Comic-Con Debut
Louise Brealey on Kissing Benedict Cumberbatch: “I Milked It!”

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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