Jon Favreau finds Mowgli for Jungle Book

Jon Favreau has cast inexperienced child actor Neel Sethi to take on the only acting role in his upcoming adaptation of 'Jungle Book'

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Jon Favreau

Jon Favreau

John Favreau's 'Jungle Book' has found its Mowgli.

The 47-year-old actor-director has chosen 10-year-old Neel Sethi to take on the role of Mowgli in his upcoming live-action and animation reboot of the Disney classic.

In a statement, Favreau said: "Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli is imperative.

"Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I'm confident he can handle it."

The 'Chef' star held auditions for thousands of hopefuls from New York to New Zealand, London to Canada and India.

'Jungle Book' will mark Sethi's first big-screen appearance and he will be seen taking on the role of the orphan boy who is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear named Baloo and a black panther named Bagheera.

He joins an already star-studded cast as Idris Elba will voice the lion Shere Khan while Ben Kingsley is set to provide vocals for Bagheera.

Scarlett Johansson and Lupita Nyong'o are also in talks to voice the characters Kaa and mother wolf Rakcha respectively.

Casting director Sarah Finn added: "Neel embodies the heart, humour and daring of the character ... Even though he has no professional acting experience, his natural charisma and instincts jumped out at us."

'Jungle Book' is slated for release on October 9 2015.

The Jungle Book

  • 4 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 106 min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Jon Favreau
  • Written by: Justin Marks (screenplay), Rudyard Kipling
  • Cast: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken
  • UK release: 15 April 2016

You know the story: boy (Sethi) left in woods, adopted by wolves (Nyong'o and Esposito), mentored by panther (Kingsley), befriended by bear (Murray), hunted by tiger (Elba, terrifying). Favreau and his team successfully retool the story with stunning CGI, and a script with heart, soul and spirit. A feelgood delight.

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