'I Wanna Be Like You' From 'The Jungle Book' Is Way Different In The New Movie
The songs in Disney's 1967 The Jungle Book were some of the most memorable parts of the film, adding a fun musical layer to an already-delightful children's movie. Between Baloo's classic "Bare Necessities," King Louie's "I Wanna Be Like You," and the vultures' "That's What Friends Are For," The Jungle Book was filled with songs that are as addictive now as they were when you were a kid. Jon Favreau's live-action The Jungle Book pays tribute to the musical romp that was the 1967 version by including several of the classic songs in the new film. You can expect to hear "Trust In Me," "Bare Necessities," and "I Wanna Be Like You" in the 2016 Jungle Book . The latter is a solo piece sung by Christopher Walken as King Louie, and it's as hilariously ridiculous as it sounds.
Walken is known for having many amazing talents, but his singing voice is not one of them. Therefore, "I Wanna Be Like You" uses the spoken word as opposed to singing. Walken's vocals are set over fast-paced jazz instrumentals, just like in the 1967 version. But there are also some other key differences between the original Jungle Book song and the 2016 version, one of which is the lyrics themselves.
Richard Sherman, who was the songwriter of the 1967 Jungle Book songs, was brought in to assist with the music for the new movie, and he decided that "I Wanna Be Like You" needed an update. At the film's premiere, Sherman explained to USA Today that, because King Louie is no longer an ape like he was in the 1967 movie, the song had to be tweaked to fit the character's new persona. He said, "[I Wanna Be Like You] needed new lyrics, because it's not the king Louie you saw in the first movie. This is a gigantopithecus, the greatest ape there ever was."
Director Jon Favreau similarly felt that the music in the new Jungle Book needed an update, and he also didn't want the songs in general to be the main selling point of the film. In a September 2015 Twitter chat, Favreau explained, "We wanted to include enough music to satisfy people who grew up w [sic] 67 film but not make it a musical or betray action tone." He also mentioned, though, that the music and singing are parts of the film that he is most excited about. I can only imagine that "I Wanna Be Like You" is one of the musical highlights.
So if you're a Jungle Book fan, a Christopher Walken fan, or both, you might be wondering where you can get this new track. Unfortunately, details about the 2016 Jungle Book soundtrack are pretty scarce at this point, with neither a track list nor singles having been released. However, I would speculate that there's a good chance that "I Wanna Be Like You" will be on the soundtrack since it's included in the movie and since it was on the 1967 soundtrack. If that's the case, you can get your fill of the song when the soundtrack is released (in CD form) on Amazon on April 15. Then, you can sing (or rather, speak) along with the "king of the jungle" to your heart's delight.
Images: Disney (2), Jon Favreau/Twitter