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Disney's The Jungle Book Casts Mowgli

An Unknown

By Robert T. Trate     July 15, 2014
Source: Walt Disney


Jungle Book arrives October 9th, 2015.
© Walt Disney

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.

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
monkeyfoot 7/15/2014 12:37:38 PM

Oh wow, its actually a kid! An Indian kid at that! I figured they'd be similar to the other live action versions that had young guys floating around teens to early 20s like the ones with Sabu and Jason Scott Lee.

ultrazilla2000 7/16/2014 6:09:58 AM

 Neel WHO?!?  To he'll with this correct ethnicity and age appropriate casting...we him to be played by Christian Bale!  ;)

Higgy 7/16/2014 10:43:51 AM

I wonder how they're going to get the bear to dance and sing?   I hope it's not too CGI.  And they better not cast some panda as the bear.  It better be a real brown or grizzly bear.

blankczech 7/17/2014 12:43:24 PM
 There are Himalayan Black Bears and Brown Bears that are indigenous to the jungles of India. The Grizzly a North American subspecies of the brown bear is not found in India (unless it escapes from a zoo or circus).
 
Higgy...I'm surprised that you don't like a liberal use of CGI in movies.  Didn't you think the apes in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes were terrific?  In a couple of weeks we'll see Rocket Raccoon and Groot.  I like CGI.  I think it looks very realistic (like plastic bags filled with saline and implanted inside a human body).
 
Personally I see no real reason or need for this movie to be made, as the 1967 Disney animated movie is quite good and easy to access.  I'd rather see Disney use the money to make something new, but of course that would carry with it some risks.  Remakes of classic movies are usually guaranteed box office successes and it's been a couple of weeks since Disney made a movie that raked in a billion dollars.
 
 
 
 
HomestarRunner 7/17/2014 1:29:18 PM

Cute kid.

My prediction: The movie will do well, earning 3-4x the budget. A sequel will be announced within four weeks of the release date. However, due to the time it'll take to start rolling, the boy will have aged too much or too unappealing by hollywood's standards. Therefore, another newcomer will be cast. Production will be plagued by rewrite and weather-related problems and get bumped to a lousy release date where it will bring in 1-2x the budget and the suits will end the franchise there, deeming it not worth the time and energy.

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