Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book is almost ready to swing into a theater near you. The film, directed by Jon Favreau, has the bare necessities and then some as it transports viewers into an entirely digital jungle. The cast and crew didn’t have to head to the wilds of a faraway country to capture imagery of sweeping savannahs and foliage-filled jungles. Instead, they filmed in a place both more and less exotic: downtown Los Angeles. We caught up with Favreau and the sole non-digital star of the film, Neel Sethi (Mowgli), and talked about the challenges of acting in a completely make-believe world.
Sethi didn’t know quite what he was getting into when he landed the part. He was one of thousands of kids to audition for the role of Mowgli, and when he got on set, he had to learn on his feet. He said Favreau was a huge help in teaching him, more or less playing Obi-Wan to Sethi’s Luke. And did I mention this was Sethi’s first acting gig? One way Favreau helped Sethi was by bringing in Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to create reference puppets for the young actor to interact with and react to. They have to be more engaging than tennis ball stand-ins.
Besides the lack of sets and the surplus of puppets, we also talked about bringing in the iconic music from the animated film, expanding Mowgli’s journey, and the very important topic of which jungle animals Favreau and Sethi would want to be.
The Jungle Book will arrive in theaters on April 15.
Head to the comments and tell us which jungle creature you most want to be.