Disney and director Jon Favreau have announced that newcomer Neel Sethi has landed the role of Mowgli in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic ‘The Jungle Book.’
The 10-year-old’s casting follows an extensive worldwide search ranging from New York to New Zealand, London to Canada, and all throughout the United States and India.
“Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative,” 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.”
Sarah Finn, the film’s casting director, described Sethi as embodying “the heart, humour, and daring of the character. 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.”
Sethi will be the only actor seen on screen in the film, with the rest of the characters created as computer-generated creatures.
Ben Kingsley (‘Iron Man 3’) is voicing the black panther Bagheera, Idris Elba (‘The Gunman’) will voice the villainous tiger Shere Khan, with Scarlett Johansson providing the voice of the python Kaa, and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o lending her voice to Rakcha, Mowgli’s adopted wolf mother.