In an era when movies are regularly remade and franchises are frequently rebooted, it should come as no surprise that Disney will be releasing a live-action remake of the beloved children’s tale The Jungle Book.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, the Jon Favreau-directed version of The Jungle Book will star relative unknown Neel Sethi in the lead as Mowgli. Sethi, playing the only human character in The Jungle Book, will be accompanied by some much bigger names voicing the animal friends that Mowgli meets. That includes, among others, Bill Murray playing Baloo, Ben Kingsley playing Bagheera, Scarlett Johansson playing Kaa, and Christopher Walken playing King Louie.
The version of The Jungle Book’s trailer, which posted to YouTube yesterday, is already approaching four million views.
While the scenes from this Jungle Book teasers may seem breathtaking at first, don’t be fooled. As reported by USA Today, all of the jungle scenery is 100 percent CGI. As confirmed by the director during a Twitter Q&A, the whole thing was shot in Los Angeles.
This live-action version of The Jungle Book comes out almost 50 years after Disney’s first animated version of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 literary classic. Their initial attempt to recreate the magic of their 1967 animated film resulted in 1994’s Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The mid-90’s release received a lot of criticism for failing to truly capture the spirit that Kipling and Disney each found decades earlier.
This time around, Disney keeps the focus of The Jungle Book on Mowgli’s adaptation to life in the jungle, rather than potential romance and Indiana Jones-like stunts.
And while so many things are being updated for The Jungle Book’s 2016 release, at least one thing stays the same. You can “forget about your worries and your strife” if the movie’s soundtrack has you concerned. It has been confirmed that the ever-popular “Bear Necessities” — did you watch the trailer until the very end? — will be updated and sung by the new Baloo, Bill Murray.
Scarlett Johansson, whose voice is the only one we hear in The Jungle Book trailer, speaks for Kaa in the film. Despite being one of the biggest sex symbols in Hollywood, this isn’t the first time Scarlett has provided audio-only for a major film. She voiced the operating system that Joaquin Phoenix fell in love with in Her. Less notably, she was the voice for Princess Mindy in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
The anticipated theatrical release date for The Jungle Book is April 15, 2016.
[Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney]