Jon Favreau Discusses Bringing The Jungle Book To Life


During a recent interview with Coming Soon, director Jon Favreau spoke about the behind-the-scenes process of bringing The Jungle Book to life for the hit 2016 film:

On having the film pitched to him: “I has just done ‘Chef,’ and ‘Chef’ came on the heels of doing two Marvel movies, and then ‘Cowboys & Aliens,’ so I had done a lot of that. Also, the Marvel Universe was really underway, and I felt like I really made my mark and I was a part of the beginning of that, so that’s very satisfying to see that continuing on, and you feel like the work you did on those movies – the baton is being passed. But them they called me about ‘Jungle Book.’ I thought, I loved the original. I don’t know what I’d do with live-action with [the film]. It sounds like a very challenging project to be filming in the jungle, and what do you do about the animals? You’re dealing with a young actor, and there is only one human character in it. I didn’t understand how to wrap my head around it.”

On Neel Sethi as Mowgli: “It would have been very difficult had he not just been able to be this compelling talent that made you want to watch him, and made you want to experience the emotions of the film through his eyes. We did everything we could to make it as organic a process and as fun for him as we could. When he was doing the acrobatic stuff, it looked like a jungle gym, with lots of foam pieces and mats that were all going to be replaced digitally anyway, so we could make it very safe and very fun. And then we had puppeteers and life-sized puppets, and hand puppets, and live actors, and even myself jumping in there to act as a scene partner.”

On having Jim Henson Studios on set: “They worked really well with the technology, and understanding the framing. The people from Henson were very comfortable creating eye lines and also performing, and improvising. That kept it fresh for Neel. And Neel just happened to be a very smart, sharp kid who was very talented.”