Rudyard Kipling’s iconic ‘The Jungle Book’ is arguably the greatest collection of children’s stories ever written.
It has also, unsurprisingly, inspired countless TV and big screen adaptations – the latest of which is arguably the most eagerly awaited of all.
Disney have released the first trailer for the live-action version of the film and it appears to continue the recent trend with blockbuster films to do the “dark, brooding” thing alongside the spectacular special effects.
Kipling, who based the book on his early years in India, was inspired by the teeming jungles around Bombay and this latest big-screen version of his work appears to have taken that as the central theme.
It all begins with a set up by the fiendish snake ‘Kaa’ – voiced by Scarlett Johansson whose voice talents appear to be as Oscar-worthy as all her other talents – before we see Mowgli (Neel Sethi) dodging all manner of jungle creatures, all of whom look quite incredible.
Adding to the anticipation surrounding this movie is the cast of characters both behind and in front of the camera.
Directed by Iron Man-helmer Jon Favreau, ‘The Jungle Book’ features a galaxy of acting talent – including Bill Murray, who plays Baloo the bear; Idris Elba, who plays the tiger Shere Khan; Sir Ben Kingsley (the panther Bagheera); King Louie (Christopher Walken) and the wolves Akela and Raksha, played by Giancarlo Esposito and Lupita Nyong’o.
The coveted character of Mowgli – the feral child who befriends a forest-full of animals – is played by 10-year-old Indian American Neel Sethi.
New York-born Sethi beat out thousands of hopefuls to win the role following a series of auditions in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
The film’s director Jon Favreau has said of the precocious youngster: “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 no previous acting experience but, according to the film’s casting director, had “a natural instinct” that was unforgettable.
‘The Jungle Book’ is slated for release in 2016.