The nostalgia for a Disney of the past begins and ends with the first trailer released for director Jon Favreau’s adaptation of The Jungle Book, which is alleged to hit the theaters in early 2016. Forget the singing cartoon bears and scary, spindly snakes, because this version is going to get very, very real.
Originally released in 1967, The Jungle Book is an iconic movie based on an equally iconic novel by Rudyard Kipling. The adaptation, which will be directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Made), blends Kipling’s storyline with a realistic filming style – think James Cameron’s Avatar – to create a film that edges on the surreal. The surreal elements lie in the voice actors for the animals: Scarlet Johansson as Kaa the snake, Bill Murray as Baloo the bear, and Christopher Walken as King Louie the ape are just a few of the stars who will anthropomorphize the animals found in The Jungle Book. Though touted as a “live-action” film, the only live acting will be performed by Neel Sethi, who plays – you guessed it – Mowgli.
What many might not know is that this is not the first adaptation of The Jungle Book by Disney. In 1994, Stephen Sommers directed a live-action version starring Jason Scott Lee and Cary Elwes. However, considering the technology available and the hype that many adaptations receive, Favreau’s Jungle Book is sure to do better in the box office.
Because it has been branded with the name “Disney,” the story of The Jungle Book is thought by many to be an innocent tale about adventure. However, it is actually a much darker story about a boy (Mowgli) who deserts his native village and is raised by wolves, only to return to his native village to subsequently question his identity. It is yet to be seen whether Favreau’s version of The Jungle Book will keep it family-friendly or explore the more psychologically twisted aspects of the plot.
A final fun fact: Walt Disney died during the original production of The Jungle Book, making it the last film he saw produced. The Jungle Book was the 19th feature in Disney’s series of Animated Classics. Watch the chilling and exciting trailer in its entirety below.