The Jungle Book is an upcoming American 3D live-animation adventure fantasy film directed by Jon Favreau, written by Justin Marks, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a live-action remake of the 1967 animated film. The film stars and introduces Neel Sethi as Mowgli with the film featuring the voice talents of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, and Christopher Walken. The film is scheduled to be released in Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D andIMAX 3D on April 15, 2016.
Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a boy who was raised by the Indian wolves Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) and Akela (Giancarlo Esposito). When the fearsome scarred Bengal tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) threatens his life since man isn’t allowed in the jungle, Mowgli leaves his jungle home. Guided by Bagheera the black panther (Ben Kingsley) and Baloo the bear (Bill Murray), he sets out on a journey of self-discovery while evading the human-hunting tiger Shere Khan. Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who do not exactly have his best interests at heart-including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (Christopher Walken), an orangutan-resembling Gigantopithecus who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly “red flower” (his name for fire).
- Bill Murray as Baloo
- Ben Kingsley as Bagheera
- Idris Elba as Shere Khan
- Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha
- Scarlett Johansson as Kaa
- Giancarlo Esposito as Akela
- Christopher Walken as King Louie
- Emjay Anthony as Grey Brother
The cast was announced between March and August 2014, with Idris Elba being announced to voice Shere Khan during early stages, and Bill Murray eventually confirmed as the voice of Baloo in August 2014. Between then, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Neel Sethi and Christopher Walken were confirmed to play Kaa, Bagheera, Mowgli and King Louie, respectively. Favreau decided to cast Johansson to play Kaa, originally a male character, as he felt the original film was “a little too male-oriented”. Favreau also decided to change King Louie from an orangutan to a Gigantopithecus due to the fact that orangutans are not native to the area in which the story takes place. The special effects use to craft the various animal characters will consist of motion capture techniques alongside computer animation done from scratch. Favreau expressed desire to avoid overusing motion capture in order to prevent an uncanny valley effect.
Richard M. Sherman, who wrote songs for the original 1967 film alongside his late brother Robert B. Sherman, will return to write new songs for this film. “The Bare Necessities“, originally written by Terry Gilkyson, will be included and sung by Murray. “Trust in Me” is also to be included, sung by Johansson, after an appearance in the film’s teaser trailer.