MANILA, Philippines – A talented 10-year-old from New York named Neel Sethi has been chosen to play the iconic role of Mowgli in an upcoming adaptation of The Jungle Book.
Neel joins a high profile cast for this project. Entertainment Weekly reports that Idris Elba (Thor) will play slinky, calculating tiger Shere Khan, while Ben Kingsley will play the panther Bagheera. Scarlett Johannson will play the snake Kaa, while Lupita Nyong’o will play Raksha the mother wolf.
According to a press release from the Walt Disney Studios, the movie will be a combination of live action and animation. Mowgli will be the only one seen as himself on screen, while the other actors will be heard via voice work.
The first Jungle Book film, released in 1967 and based on the book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling, told the story of Mowgli, who was raised among wolves since he was a baby and makes friends in the jungle with Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear, among others. But the threat of animosity from Shere Khan soon leads Mowgli’s friends to believe that life among other humans may be best for him.
Neel beat out candidates who were evaluated during a worldwide search for the right peson to play the lead.
“Neel embodies the heart, humor, and daring of the character,” says 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.”
The Jungle Book will hit theaters in October 2015. – Rappler.com