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Bill Murray to sing in new ‘Jungle Book’ film

Wilmette’s own Bill Murray is the new Phil Harris.

He’s the guy who played Baloo the bear in Walt Disney’s cinematic cartoon version of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” which came out in 1967. The character’s most memorable song is, you might recall, “The Bare Necessities.”

According to a recently published report posted by Entertainment Weekly, Murray’s Baloo will reprise the tune in director Jon Favreau’s upcoming, largely non-musical adaptation. Or so says Favreau. The movie stars only one live human (10-year-old Neel Sethi as Mowgli) and employs “performance-capture” technology.

Can Murray sing well enough to pull it off? Presumably, yes. And it’s safe to assume his crooning will be a step or three up from his underwhelming (but amusing) performance in “St. Vincent” or his legendary lyrical rendition of “Star Wars” on “Saturday Night Live,” which grew out of a cheesy lounge lizard he developed during his days at Second City, or his less-than-impeccable channeling of Mario Lanza.