Disney’s live-action remake of the Rudyard Kipling classic The Jungle Book has been taking shape for months now under Iron Man and Chef director Jon Favreau, and has now cast its most important role. According to THR, 10 year-old newcomer Neel Sethi will play Mowgli, the orphan human boy raised by wolves.
Interestingly, Mowgli is one of the last prominent roles to be cast. Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) will voice the villainous tiger Shere Khan, Sir Ben Kingsley (Ender’s Game, Exodus: Gods and Kings) will play black panther Bagheera, Scarlett Johansson (Her, Lucy) will voice the hypnotic python Kaa, and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave, Star Wars: Episode VII) will play Rakcha, the wolf who finds and raises Mowgli.
The search for Mowgli was an extensive one, which is why it took so long to find Sethi. Favreau is confident in his choice though, saying:
“Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative. Neel [Sethi] has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I’m confident he can handle it.”
Written by Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li), The Jungle Book will employ a mixture of live action and animation, and is slated to hit theaters in both 3D and 2D on October 9, 2015.