Undoubtedly one of my biggest highlights of this year’s Disney Showcase was getting a glimpse at the House of Mouse’s upcoming live-action adaptation of their animated classic The Jungle Book. The Jon “Iron Man” Favreau directed feature film sees the Rudyard Kipling’s much beloved story brought to life through an incredible mix of live-action footage (well, only for the single human actor in newcomer Neel Sethi’s Mowgli) and photorealistic CG backgrounds and animals. It was the latter that proved particularly jaw dropping.
And now you guys will get to drop your own jaws as the first full trailer has been released online, showing us that beautifully rendered world and introducing us to the film’s impressive voice cast. And even a hint of some bear necessities.
The Jungle Book is an all-new, live-action/CGI epic adventure about Mowgli (Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (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 (Ben Kingsley), 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 (Scarlett Johansson), a python who’s seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.
While I’m not 100% convinced on Scarlett Johannson as Kaa yet – she seems to be lacking a little menace in her voice – I’m really loving the rest of what I’m seeing here. Favreau appears to be sticking pretty close to the much beloved 1967 animated version, which can’t be anything other than a great thing seeing as how perfect that film is.
The Jungle Book also stars Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Bill Murray as Baloo Giancarlo Esposito and Lupito Nyong’o as Mowgli’s wolf parents Akela and Rashka and Christopher Walken as King Louie. It is scheduled for release on April 15, 2016.
That’s 18 months before Warner Bros.’s own new take on Kipling’s classic, Jungle Book: Origins. This rival film – because this is Hollywood, so of course there’s a rival film – is said to be a much darker take on Mowgli’s tale and is directed by Andy Serkis who also stars as Baloo using his signature motion-capture. His cast also boasts the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch as Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, Christian Bale as Bagheera, Cate Blanchett as Kaa and more.
Last Updated: September 16, 2015