Looks like The Jungle Book has found its star in an unknown actor. Jon Favreau, the director of the film has hired Neel Sethi for the role Mowgli.
Disney announced earlier today that the extensive search lead to Favreau picking the newcomer from New York. The search for the perfect Mowgli happened in auditions across the globe, including United States, England, Canada, New Zealand and India. Neel Sethi will be making his film debut as the boy who is raised in the jungle.
In a statement, director Jon Favreau said of the young boy.
“Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative. Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I’m confident he can handle it.”
Sethi has the unique position of being the only person who will be seen on screen as the rest of the actors, such as Ben Kingsley, and Idris Elba, are set to voice the animals in the jungle who all look after little Mowgli.
Favreau continued to speak about the actor whom will portray Mowgli:
“Neel embodies the heart, humor, and daring of the character,” added casting director Sarah Finn. “He’s warm and accessible, yet also has an intelligence well beyond his years and impressed us all with his ability to hold his own in any situation. Even though he has no professional acting experience, his natural charisma and instincts jumped out at us.”
As most of you know the film is based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling about a young boy who is raised by the animals in the jungle. To capture the wild animals, Favreau plans to use the most recent technology to animate the black panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and the tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba).
In addition, Scarlett Johansson, who was seen in Favreau’s independent film Chef, and Lupita Nyong’o are both said to co-star in The Jungle Book although their roles have not been confirmed. If Lupita is game she will play the mother wolf that adopts Mowgli while Johansson will voice the character of Kaa, a hypnotizing python.
This is not to be confused with Warner Bros version with motion capture actor Andy Serkis. Serkis will be directing his own version.
The last film version of The Jungle Book was the live adaptation in 1994. Back then the film starred Jason Scott Lee who at the time played a much older version of Mowgli.
[Image via Bing]