‘Jungle Book’: Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba And More Embrace Their Inner Animals In Photo Shoot

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THE JUNGLE BOOK – Voiced by Idris Elba, Shere Khan bears the scars of man, which fuel his hatred of humans. Convinced that Mowgli poses a threat, the bengal tiger is determined to rid the jungle of the man-cub. “Shere Khan reigns with fear,” says Elba. “He terrorizes everyone he encounters because he comes from a place of fear.”
Photo by: Sarah Dunn. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

With all the talk of the town centering around Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Walt Disney dropped what is a lovely bit of advertising for the next big would-be blockbuster, The Jungle Book. Jon Favreau’s live-action (if you want to call it that) adaptation of their 1967 animated feature and/or the original 1894 Rudyard Kipling novel opens on April 15th in the United Kingdom.

While the full movie has not been screened for press at this juncture, preliminary footage has been previewed and the word has been nothing short of spectacular. Basically the entire film, save for its human lead (Neel Sethi), is animated, and the trailers have been genuine showstoppers.

But this morning’s photo shoot highlights the other bankable element of the picture, namely the all-star cast playing somewhat well-known animal characters. This is one of the hooks for some of these Walt Disney “live-action adaptation of an animated film” pictures, namely the ability to cast well-known players as recognizable pop culture icons.

In this case, you’ve got Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Christopher Walken as King Louie, Giancarlo Esposito as Akela, and Sir Ben Kingsley as Bagheera. I cannot say why Bill Murray (as Baloo) is not pictured, but that’s Mr. Murray’s prerogative.

Anyway, I hate to just leave you with the offered content minus more original text, but I really liked these pictures and the mini-character bios are relatively self-explanatory. There will be more time to discuss this project over the next month. Tickets have been on sale since the Super Bowl and the Red Carpet premiere is on April 4th. So we’ll have a good idea as to whether this thing is as impressive as it looks soon enough.

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THE JUNGLE BOOK – Kaa is a massive python who uses her voice and hypnotic gaze to entrance Mowgli. The man-cub can’t resist her captivating embrace. “Kaa seduces and entraps Mowgli with her storytelling,” says Scarlett Johansson. “She’s the mirror into Mowgli’s past. The way she moves is very alluring, almost coquettish.”
Photo by: Sarah Dunn. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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THE JUNGLE BOOK – Lupita Nyong’o voices Raksha, a mother wolf who cares deeply for all of her pups—including man-cub Mowgli, whom she adopts as one of her own when he’s abandoned in the jungle as an infant. “She is the protector, the eternal mother,” says Nyong’o. “The word Raksha actually means protection in Hindi. I felt really connected to that, wanting to protect a son that isn’t originally hers but one she’s taken for her own.”
Photo by: Sarah Dunn. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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THE JUNGLE BOOK – King Louie is a formidable ape who desperately wants the secret of Man’s deadly “red flower”–fire. He’s convinced Mowgli has the information he seeks. “King Louie is huge–12 feet tall,” says Christopher Walken, who voices the character. “But he’s as charming as he is intimidating when he wants to be.”
Photo by: Sarah Dunn. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

THE JUNGLE BOOK - Akela is the strong and hardened alpha-male wolf who shoulders the responsibility of his pack. He welcomes Mowgli to the family, but worries he may one day compromise their safety. "Akela is a fierce patriarch of the wolf pack," says Giancarlo Esposito, who voices the character. "He believes the strength of the pack lies in what each and every wolf offers. He's a great leader, a wise teacher." Photo by: Sarah Dunn. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

THE JUNGLE BOOK – Akela is the strong and hardened alpha-male wolf who shoulders the responsibility of his pack. He welcomes Mowgli to the family, but worries he may one day compromise their safety. “Akela is a fierce patriarch of the wolf pack,” says Giancarlo Esposito, who voices the character. “He believes the strength of the pack lies in what each and every wolf offers. He’s a great leader, a wise teacher.” Photo by: Sarah Dunn. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

THE JUNGLE BOOK - Bagheera is a sleek panther who feels it's his duty to help the man-cub depart with dignity when it's time for him to leave his jungle home. "Bagheera is Mowgli’s adoptive parent," says Ben Kingsley, who lends his voice to Bagheera. "His role in Mowgli’s life is to educate, to protect and to guide. My Bagheera was military—he’s probably a colonel. He is instantly recognizable by the way he talks, how he acts and what his ethical code is." Photo by: Sarah Dunn. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

THE JUNGLE BOOK – Bagheera is a sleek panther who feels it’s his duty to help the man-cub depart with dignity when it’s time for him to leave his jungle home. “Bagheera is Mowgli’s adoptive parent,” says Ben Kingsley, who lends his voice to Bagheera. “His role in Mowgli’s life is to educate, to protect and to guide. My Bagheera was military–he’s probably a colonel. He is instantly recognizable by the way he talks, how he acts and what his ethical code is.” Photo by: Sarah Dunn. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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