A precocious 10-year-old Indian American boy from New York has beaten out thousands of hopefuls to win the coveted role of Mowgli in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of ‘The Jungle Book’.
Neel Sethi was chosen after a series of high-profile auditions in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
The film’s director Jon Favreau said: “Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I’m confident he can handle it”.
Casting director Sarah Finn described Sethi as embodying “the heart, humor, and daring of the character. 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.”
Neel will be the only actor seen on-screen in the film with the rest of Rudyard Kipling’s unforgettable characters brought to life via the magic of CGI and animation.
‘Gandhi’ star Sir Ben Kingsley will voice the protective black panther Bagheera while Idris Elba lends his voice to the character of Shere Khan.
Oscar-winning ’12 Years a Slave’ star Lupita Nyong’o and Scarlett Johansson will also voice characters in the story about a young boy who, after being separated from his family as an infant, is raised by a pack of wolves in the jungles of Central India.
The film is slated for released in 2015.