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“The Jungle Book” is an all-new, live-action epic adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli find he is no long welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan, 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 journey of self-discovery, guided by panther mentor Bagheera, and the free-spirited bear Baloo. Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa, a python whose seduction voice and gaze hypnotizes him and the smooth talking King Louie who tires to trick Mowgli into giving up the secret of the deadly red flower (fire).
“The Jungle Book” is based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, with an approach all its 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 1967 film, and sought to maintain those charming Disneyesque aspects.”
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. “‘The Jungle Book’ is a universal coming-of-age story that everyone can relate to,” says producer Brigham Taylor. “Walt told the story through traditional cell animation and now we have the technology to actually bring these characters to life, make them photo-real and put a real kid into the environment in a seamless, believable way. The opportunity to be able to show that with today’s technology was irresistible.”
According to Favreau, story is king. “I think films have to offer an emotional experience for the audience,” says the director. “The spectacle won’t mean anything if they’re not engaged emotionally with the characters. Every story needs humanity, emotion and character development, as well as humor—presented in a way that doesn’t betray the stakes of the film. There are white-knuckle moments in the movie when you wonder, ‘What’s going to happen to this kid?’”
During a recent press conference we had the opportunity to hear from the Cast and Director on what made this movie so special. Watch our 3-part Video below.
The Jungle Book Press Conference Part 1:
The all-star cast includes Bill Murray (“Lost in Translation”) as the voice of Baloo, Ben Kingsley (“Learning to Drive,” “The Walk”) as Bagheera, Idris Elba (“Star Trek Beyond”) as Shere Khan, and Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) as the voice of mother wolf Raksha. Scarlett Johansson (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”) gives life to Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”) provides the voice of alpha-male wolf Akela, and Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) lends his iconic voice to King Louie. Newcomer Neel Sethi stars as the film’s only human character, Mowgli.
The Jungle Book Press Conference Part 2:
Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “Chef”) directs “The Jungle Book” from a screenplay by Justin Marks (“Top Gun 2,” TV’s “Rewind”) that was based on the books by Rudyard Kipling. The producers are Favreau and Taylor (EP “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” “Tomorrowland”). Peter Tobyansen (“Alice in Wonderland”), Molly Allen (“Chef”) and Karen Gilchrist (“Chef”) executive produce.
Bill Pope (“The Matrix,” “Spider-Man 2”) is director of photography, Christopher Glass (“Arthur Newman”) serves as the production designer, Mark Livolsi (“Saving Mr. Banks,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “The Blind Side”) is editor, and Laura Jean Shannon (“Chef,” “Iron Man,” “Elf”) is costume designer.
The Jungle Book Press Conference Part 3:
The award-winning teams of artists tapped to bring India’s jungle and animals to life were headed by Oscar®-winning visual effects supervisor Rob Legato (“Avatar,” “Hugo,” “Titanic,” “Apollo 13”), Moving Picture Company’s visual effects supervisor Adam Valdez (“Maleficent,” “World War Z,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”) and WETA’s visual effects supervisor Dan Lemmon (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”). The visual effects producer is Joyce Cox (“The Great Gatsby,” “Men in Black 3”) and the film’s animation supervisor is Oscar® winner Andrew R. Jones (“Avatar,” World War Z,” and “I, Robot”).
With a score composed by Emmy® winner and Oscar-, BAFTA- and Annie Award- nominee John Debney (“Elf,” “Iron Man 2”), “The Jungle Book” is now playing in theaters in 3D.