In January, I was invited to a special presentation of “The Jungle Book” hosted by director Jon Favreau and Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Legato at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood California. “The Jungle Book” is an all-new, live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub raised in the jungle by a family of wolves, who embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known.
In creating “The Jungle Book,” filmmakers accomplished new feats by seamlessly blending live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. During the presentation, I received a sneak peek at how the new process worked and discovered some fun facts about the making of Disney’s “The Jungle book” that I thought you would find just as fascinating as I did.
Here’s 5 Fun Facts About Disney new live-action epic “The Jungle book”
1) Out of 1000
An adorable newcomer, Neel Seth, plays the only human character in the movie, Mowgli. Neel was selected from thousands of hopefuls who auditioned as part of an extensive worldwide search. The all-star cast also includes Bill Murray as the voice of Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as Shere Kahn, and Lupita Nyong’o as the voice of mother wolf, Raksha. Scarlett Johansson gives life to Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito provides the voice of alpha male wolf Akela, and Christopher Walken lends his iconic voice to King Louie and many others.
2) Timeless Story
“The Jungle Book” is based upon one of Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories. However, when creating the new live-action epic adventure, the filmakers had an approach all their own. “We embrace the mythic qualities of Kipling in the more intense tonal aspects of the film,” says director Jon Favreau, “but we left room for what we remember from the ’67 film, and sought to maintain those charming Disneyesque aspects.”
3) Strong Impression
As a child, “The Jungle Book” was one of director Favreau’s favorite films because it reminded him of his relationship with his grandfather.
Favreau states “It reminded me of my own relationship with my grandfather, who was a big part of my life. I really like that Mowgli is rambunctious and always getting into trouble. He isn’t the standard well-behaved kid, but a bit precocious like ‘Dennis the Menace’. He isn’t intimidated by these big wild animals, in fact, he’s completely at home among them. He’s a tough kid but also very vulnerable emotionally, especially with Baloo.”
4) Never Before Seen Technology
To bring the story to life, filmmakers employed up-to-the-minute technology to tell the story in a contemporary and immersive way; blending live-action performances with stunning CG environments and extraordinary photo-real animal characters that artists stylized to elevate the storytelling. According to Favreau, “We take the best of the photo-real animation process, the best motion-capture techniques and the best of live-action shooting and combine these three things in a way that that nobody’s done before. We discovered that we could use cutting-edge technology to create something that appears completely realistic and organic to the audience.”
5) Experience Exotic Lands
In order to create the environment that was realistic to the Indian Jungle, the designers built a practical set-building only what was needed for a particular shot. They later blended it with a CG environment. Legato states “The audience will experience this exotic land. That’s part of the fun of going to the movies—seeing a place you’ve never seen before. Living it. Walking through it.”
Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book,” is an all new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger, Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor, Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear, Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.
The wild adventure swings into theaters in 3D on April 15, 2016