Jon Favreau’s adaptation of “The Jungle Book” has found its Mowgli in 10-year-old newcomer Neel Sethi, Disney announced Tuesday.
Sethi, who hails from New York, was found during an extensive search that included the United States, Canada, England, New Zealand and India. “The Jungle Book” marks his first acting role.
“Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative,” director Favreau said in a statement. “Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I’m confident he can handle it.”
As Mowgli, Sethi will be the only actor seen in the film, which is based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 story collection about a boy raised in the jungle by wild animals. The menagerie of talking beasts will be rendered via digital animation.
Ben Kingsley will voice the black panther Bagheera, and Idris Elba is set to play the man-eating tiger Shere Khan. Lupita Nyong’o and Scarlett Johansson are also in talks to co-star.
Disney’s “Jungle Book” is scheduled for release Oct. 9, 2015. Warner Bros. is also working on an adaptation of Kipling’s book, which is in the public domain, with Andy Serkis at the helm.
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