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D23 Expo 2015: ‘The Jungle Book’: A Live Twist On An Animated Classic
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Disney The Jungle Book live-action film title card

Disney’s recent turn to modernize their animated classics by giving them a live-action adaptation has been a successful product thus far. With Maleficent and Cinderella already proving to be box office hits, the studio shows no signs of slowing down, by releasing more of these adaptations. Perhaps the most interesting of all the adaptations would be The Jungle Book. Now, it’s not interesting in a perplexing manner, but in how they approached the production of the film. The adaptation combines live-action and CGI to form a beautiful story, based on the animated film and Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel.

During the film’s presentation at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, today, director Jon Favreau talked about the production of The Jungle Book, with his cast Ben Kingsley, who voices Bagheera; Lupita Nyong’O, who voices the protective mother wolf Raksha; and newcomer Neel Sethi, who plays the human lead Mowgli.

More on the production of the film as well as description of the footage here below.

In order for the vision of the film to be just right, Favreau implored the same CGI-hybrid live-action technology that was used in James Cameron’s Avatar, with much of the scenes having to be shot twice, once with mo-cap suits, and another live-action. Right before the footage was shown, Favreau revealed that “everything you’re about to see was filmed in downtown LA.” Here’s a description of the footage:

Scarlett Johansson (who voices the python Kaa) describes the dichotomy between man and beast, poetically talking about the red flower, which is a metaphor for fire. We hear her describe the flames as a warm light that can bring destruction. The scene then cuts to Shere Khan killing a man, leaving an infant Mowgli behind.

Years later we see Mowgli become a young boy, living amongst the animals of the jungle, but is an unwelcomed sight to some like Khan. Khan believes that he doesn’t belong with their kind, and goes as far as to chase him off a cliff.

Another clip introduces us to Bill Murray voicing Baloo. As Mowgli and Baloo walk along a trail, the bear starts to hum the signature song “Bare Necessities.” The tune clearly has Mowgli intrigued. He’s never heard anything quite like it, and explains to Baloo that he doesn’t know what a song is. This surprises Baloo. “You’ve never heard of a song before?”

The finale of The Jungle Book sizzle reel included Mowgli being squeezed by Kaa, as she continues to hypnotize him, before she tries to eat him. There’s also a tease of Christopher Walken“˜s King Louie, the orangutan character of the animated film, who introduces himself: “I’m the king. Call me Louie.”

Disney D23 Expo press release:

After an introduction by Sean Bailey, Jon Favreau, director of Disney’s upcoming “The Jungle Book,” welcomed to the stage newcomer Neel Sethi, who was selected from thousands of candidates to play man-cub Mowgli; plus Oscar® winners Ben Kingsley, who helps bring panther-turned-mentor Bagheera to life, and Lupita Nyong’o, who lends her voice to the protective mother wolf Raksha. Favreau treated fans to a sneak peek of footage from the film, and each guest received a copy of the dramatic teaser poster following the presentation. The all-new, live-action epic adventure showcases Mowgli’s journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known.

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s 1967 animated classic, the film features state-of the-art technology that immerses audiences in the lush world like never before. “The Jungle Book” also features the voices of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken. Jon Favreau and Brigham Taylor produce and the screenplay is by Justin Marks. “The Jungle Book” hits theaters in stunning 3D and IMAX 3D on April 15, 2016.



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