Disney unveils The Jungle Book triptych poster
In 1967, Walt Disney Studios adapted Rudyard Kipling‘s The Jungle Book as an animated film, which was one of the last projects that Walt Disney himself worked on for the studio that bears his name. On April 15, Disney will revisit The Jungle Book with a new live-action adaptation directed by Jon Favreau.
Earlier this week, Disney revealed the first images from The Jungle Book triptych poster. Today, the full image has been revealed (click on the image above for a big version), and it features most of the major characters from the story, including Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, Shere Khan, Kaa, and King Louie.
Back in December 2014, ComingSoon.net was invited to the set of The Jungle Book where Favreau personally led the media on a tour of his production studio and offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his Jungle Book movie.
One of the early scenes screened for the visiting media featured Mowgli questioning Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) about why he had to leave the jungle. The scene had dramatic elements, but it was also quite funny to see this 10-year-old kid verbally challenge a talking panther. It seems as if Favreau’s trademark sense of humor will be very present in this movie.
“If you want to do a comedy, you’re better off doing an action movie,” said Favreau. “Because no one is gonna give you a hard time, and if you get a laugh, it’s a bonus. In a comedy. if you’re not getting a laugh every ten seconds you’re failing. So I think some of the humor is coming through… and of course the casting. Chris Walken and Bill Murray, and just making those guys come to life and working with them over and over again is a real dream come true.”
According to producer Brigham Taylor, over 8,000 boys were brought in to audition for the part of Mowgli. The role ended up going to a 10-year-old actor named Neel Sethi, a previously unknown performer.
“It wasn’t that we wouldn’t have taken someone who was pre-established,” explained Taylor. “It’s just that there were very few people who existed in this category… there were so many parameters that it was an amazingly difficult thing to find that I think it was good that it was someone who was sort of untrained and unformed in that way so he could be as natural as he is. He also has a talent to remain who he is, which is hard to do.”
“[Neel’s] a little New Yorker, and I definitely related to him,” added Favreau. “And Mowgli in the original was sort of like always confident but also innocent…What’s cool with working with Neel is that he’s the only actor on the set, so everything can be about him…I’ve worked with kids enough to know, you get a really smart one. That’s imperative, and for adults too by the way. That’s the top thing I look from an actor, it’s smarts. Are they gonna make smart choices? They have to figure out what the character would really do in this strange situation.”
“The kid is really, really sharp,” continued Favreau. “Very curious, fast learner, knows everybody’s name on the set, he’s friendly with everybody, has a great sense of humor. And first and foremost was extremely watchable and charming when I saw his tape, and it’s like moneyball, you just pick somebody who’s got a good swing already…There’s an authenticity to him that I really like and then it really becomes about getting those particular moments of deep emotion, and some of it is I work with him directly and sometimes it’s working with another actor who’s one of the motion-capture performers.”
Although Sethi was only a few days shy of his eleventh birthday during the set visit, he displayed a lot of confidence when speaking with the media while still in costume and covered in scratches from his scenes for the day. As the primary actor in the film, it will be up to Sethi to carry the story and make audiences believe in the illusion of the photo-realistic talking animals.
Fortunately, Sethi seemed to be well suited for the challenge. Taylor noted that Sethi was a red belt in karate and his audition tape included a promise that he wouldn’t need a stuntman… he’d do all of his stunts by himself.
Even though Sethi won’t be directly interacting with his castmates, he told the press that he had already been introduced to most of them.
“I met Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken,” recalled Sethi. “And Scarlett Johansson… am I going to meet her?” That question was jokingly shared by several members of the media.
“I didn’t know I was going to play football with Bill Murray, but we had that,” added Sethi. “And then he smoked an awesome brisket at Martha’s Vineyard.”
What do you think about the full Jungle Book triptych poster? You can view more photos in the gallery below and keep watching ComingSoon.net for more from our Jungle Book set visit before the film hits theaters on April 15, 2016.