A newcomer has been cast as Mowgli in Jon Favreau’s upcoming The Jungle Book. Walt Disney has released an official press release to introduce to the world to Neel Sethi. Outside of this casting news, the other big news is that Sethi will be the only physical actor on screen. Sethi will join Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, and Lupita Nyong'o in the film.
Press Release: After an extensive worldwide search ranging from New York to New Zealand, London to Canada, and all throughout the United States and India, The Walt Disney Studios is pleased to announce that 10-year-old Neel Sethi will play the part of Mowgli in Disney’s The Jungle Book. Neel is a newcomer from New York picked from among thousands of auditions, and his role in The Jungle Book marks his first foray into acting.
“Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative,” said director Jon Favreau. “Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I’m confident he can handle it.”
“Neel embodies the heart, humor, and daring of the character,” adds 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 Mowgli, Neel will be the only actor onscreen in the film. The Jungle Book is a combination of live-action and animation and will be released in 3D on October 9, 2015.