To turn Disney’s classic cartoon The Jungle Book into a live-action movie, director Jon Favreau had to look for the bare necessities. Favreau tells Yahoo Movies that he grew up watching the 1967 animated feature, about a little boy named Mowgli who is raised among wild animals in India. But when the studio approached him to adapt it for a live-action version, they were looking to go back to the source material: Rudyard Kipling’s (significantly less light-hearted) 1894 short story collection. How did Favreau bridge the gap? Watch him explain in the video above.
“A lot of liberty was taken in tone in the ’67 animated film, because the source material was much darker,” Favreau tells Yahoo Movies during a chat at D23. However, Favreau felt a deep connection to the original Disney movie, particularly regarding the music, the tone, and “the playfulness of the characters.” So in creating new version, Favreau drew on both the book and the cartoon. “I tried to pick out the aspects [of the 1967 movie] that I found most memorable and that I connected with the most, and made sure that we protected those as we explored the combination of those things,” he explains.
Fortunately, he had the assistance of an amazing cast, including Bill Murray as Baloo the Bear, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, and young newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli (who charmed the crowds at D23). The Jungle Book opens on April 15, 2016.