Exclusive new still from Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book

the jungle book text

by Emma Thrower |
Published on

Any filmmaker would be falling over themselves to direct an ensemble boasting Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Ben Kingsley and Lupita Nyong'o. But not many directors would consciously choose to hide their faces. Cue Jon Favreau, the man behind The Jungle Book's stellar mocapped cast.

Taking on Rudyard Kipling's 19th century source material, Favreau's latest focuses on the adventures of young jungle-dweller Mowgli, played by newcomer Neel Sethi (below) - singled out from over 2,000 auditionees.

"There was a certain quality we wanted, and we knew he was going to have to carry the film," Favreau told Empire about his leading man-cub. "So it was going to have to be somebody that had a certain charisma, a certain charm and certain qualities that I remember from the cartoon."

As the above exclusive image from our February issue shows, Mowgli isn't alone in the jungle. The sopping wet wolf the youngling is clinging to is Raksha (voiced by Lupita Nyong'o), one half of Mowgli's adoptive parents (the other, Akela, is voiced by Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito).

Pick up the new issue of Empire on December 31 for more on The Jungle Book before its release on April 15, 2016.

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