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Murray to voice Baloo the bear in ‘Jungle Book’ Female ‘Ghostbusters’? Feig talks reboot with Sony

LOS ANGELES, Aug 4, (RTRS): After years of struggling to develop “Ghostbusters 3,” Sony Pictures is entertaining the idea of a female-driven reboot of the original cult hit that would be written, directed and produced by “Bridesmaids” filmmaker Paul Feig, multiple individuals familiar with the situation have told TheWrap. While Sony was believed to be happy with the last draft of “Ghostbusters 3” which was written by Etan Cohen (“Tropic Thunder”), the studio has had second thoughts and reversed course, sparking to Feig’s empowered take and discussing his rewriting the project from scratch, according to insiders. It’s unclear what creative connection if any, the new “Ghostbusters” movie would have to the first two films, but it is not expected to have the number “3” in the title. Dan Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman will likely remain involved as fellow producers given their ties to the series, but it’s unknown whether Aykroyd and fellow ghostbuster Ernie Hudson would appear onscreen, perhaps passing their proton packs onto their college-aged daughters.

Sony has been actively seeking a director since “The Lego Movie” filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller turned down the opportunity to direct “Ghostbusters 3.” The studio’s own “Zombieland” and “Bad Teacher” directors, Ruben Fleischer and Jake Kasdan, were also rumored to be in the mix. Should Feig come onboard, the question would likely turn to casting, in which Melissa MCCarthy’s name would inevitably come up, given her relationship with the director. MCCarthy became the breakout star of Feig’s “Bridesmaids” and went on to work him on “The Heat” and his upcoming Fox movie “Spy.” “Ghostbusters” fans would likely urge MCCarthy to use her powers of persuasion on Bill Murray, since the two co-star in “St. Vincent” and shared a sound booth for DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming “B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations.” Another strong possibility for the “Ghostbusters” reboot is Emma Stone, who passed on an earlier incarnation of the project when it was being developed as “Ghostbusters 3.” With starring roles in “Zombieland,” ‘Easy A,” the upcoming Cameron Crowe film and the “Amazing Spider-Man” series, Stone is a favorite among Sony executives, and it’s possible the studio may approach her down the line.
Stone’s very first Sony movie was “Superbad,” so she’s part of the same Friends of Judd Apatow Club of which Feig is a longtime member, plus she doesn’t have a rival franchise like Jennifer Lawrence (“The Hunger Games” and “X-Men”) and Shailene Woodley (“Divergent”). While Aykroyd has indicated that a new “Ghostbusters” movie could shoot as early as next spring, Feig would likely need some time before he could focus his attention on the “Ghostbusters” reboot, as he’s in post-production on “Spy,” which Fox will release on May 22, 2015. Feig has been a superstud as a proponent for female-driven movies, taking it upon himself to create comedic roles for women. He is represented by CAA and attorney Warren Dern. Representatives for Sony, Feig and Stone all declined to comment for this story.

LOS ANGELES: Bill Murray has joined the cast of Disney’s “The Jungle Book,” directed by Jon Favreau.
Murray will voice Baloo, the jolly bear who befriends the human orphan Mowgli, to be played by newcomer Neel Sethi. Murray joins a voice cast that also incluldes Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, the wolf mother who adopts Mowgli as one of her own, Christopher Walken as King Louie the orangutan, Giancarlo Esposito as Akela the grey wolf and Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, a jaguar. Idris Elba is also on board as the fierce tiger Shere Khan and Scarlett Johansson will voice Kaa, the snake who hypnotizes her victims. Favreau is directing the live-action/animation hybrid film from a script by Justin Marks. Warner Bros is mounting its own take on “The Jungle Book,” recently named “Jungle Book: Origins,” which is set to be directed by Andy Serkis.

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