Walt Disney Studios The Jungle Book: How Kingsley Connected Kipling To Bagheera written by Sean Gerber April 6, 2016 How actors connect to and find the voice for their characters is one of the most pivotal and fascinating elements of filmmaking. Sometimes inspiration can come from an unlikely source or even a place that is unknown to the actor at the time, only to be revealed later. That is what happened to Sir Ben Kingsley when he found the voice of Bagheera for Disney’s The Jungle Book. During the global press conference for the film, Kingsley shared a brilliant, touching story of how actor’s intuition led him to find Bagheera through the author of Jungle Book‘s source material, Rudyard Kipling. My secret to my performance I discovered later, which is odd. But I had an intuitive feeling, grasp of something in [Bagheera] and I realized much later that I actually am playing Kipling. That Bagheera is Rudyard Kipling. He’s the voice of Kipling in the story and the narrator. Tragically, as you probably know, Kipling lost his only son in World War I in the Battle of Loos in 1915. And we were talking about coincidences and how there’s some kind of benign matrix in which we’re all mixing here and it’s definitely the spirit of Kipling. Because after working with John, I had the opportunity with my son, Ferdinand, of reading letters between the front line in Belgium where [Kipling’s son] was killed and Kipling. My son and I read this exchange in front of an audience and I realized whilst reading it with my son, ‘My goodness, Bagheera is Kipling!’ Although I didn’t recognize it, sometimes an actor’s intuition is buried and you don’t realize what you’re mining as a source of energy until perhaps afterwards. I am privileged to be the voice of Kipling, a man I greatly admire and love. And when I was in the Boy Scouts, our troupe leader, no I was in the Cubs, actually, which is before the Boy Scouts, our troup leader was called Akela. It was amazing to hear just how much of a Kipling fan Kingsley was and how he was able to connect the dots in such a personal, profound way. Kingsley’s intuition and insight certainly paid off, as he gives a wonderful performance as Bagheera in the film. The Jungle Book greatly benefits from the humanity Kingsley tapped into in order to play Bagheera, even if he wasn’t fully aware of exactly what he was connecting to at the time. Disney’s The Jungle Book is in theaters April 15 and you can read my review here. The Jungle Book: How Kingsley Connected Kipling To Bagheera was last modified: April 6th, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related The Jungle Book 1 comment 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Sean Gerber Sean Gerber is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Myth Media. When he's not writing here, you can catch him as the host of Popular Opinion Podcast, Batman News, and Marvel News! previous post Teaser Trailer For ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Coming Tomorrow On GMA next post See The Trailer For ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY You may also like Disney Releases A Spectacular Set Of Cast... March 21, 2016 Neel Sethi Is Disney’s New Mowgli In... July 15, 2014 Disney Releases First One-Sheet From BEAUTY AND... July 7, 2016 Disney Premieres First Clip And New Website... March 23, 2016 Open Forum: CINDERELLA March 12, 2015 SAVING MR. BANKS Review December 19, 2013 Trailerpalooza 2015: TOMORROWLAND Joins the Fray With... April 21, 2015 Tomorrowland review May 22, 2015 Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS December 2018! May 31, 2016 Try On Disney’s New CINDERELLA Trailer November 19, 2014 stock Kingsley is one of our greatest living actors. The English have a much more advanced and thorough method of training their actors. It’s called Shakespeare and Dickens. I’m not sure it’s still the case these days. They may find actors now the way we do. Blue Jean ads. Kingsley was amazing as Ghandi. He jumped off the screen playing against type in Sexy Beast, and he was arguably the most entertaining piece of IM3. Voice acting is a bit of a different animal, but this flick looks good.