Jon Favreau’s career is a fascinating one, and like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, he wrote his way into the business. Getting started by writing “Swingers,” which was directed Doug Liman and starred Favreau and his pal Vince Vaughn. After making his directorial debut with “Made” in 2001, the triple threat actor/director/writer kept expanding his horizons, delivering the beloved smash hit “Elf” in 2003. Soon he was immersing himself in the world of blockbuster filmmaking. People wondered if Favreau was the right choice to helm an action-filled super hero movie like “Iron Man” before its release, but forgot, he had already learned the world of CGI and greenscreen on the children’s film “Zathura: A Space Adventure” (which was his training ground for this world).
Favreau would then help launch the entire Marvel universe, direct “Iron Man 2” and go on to become one of the more prominent blockbuster filmmakers. More recently though, he turned back to his indie roots to make “Chef.” Now, he’s taking on a live-action/motion-capture-assisted version of one of Disney’s most treasured films, “The Jungle Book.” And man, how far VFX have come. It was only a few years ago we were lamenting the shoddy-looking bear in “The Wolverine,” and still pained from “Jumanji,” but fast forward a few years later and animals rendered as fully animated creatures is incredibly viable. Here’s the official synopsis:
Directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.
“The Jungle Books” stars and is voiced by Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Neel Sethi and Christopher Walken. The movie lands in theaters on April 15th so check out the first clip below, TV spots, new character posters and recently released cast images with the actors “meeting” their CGI-assisted animal counterparts.