16 Jul – Disney has finally found its perfect actor to play the role of protagonist, Mowgli, after going through a worldwide casting search with thousands of auditions and finally deciding on newcomer, Neel Sethi, who will be making his film debut in Jon Favreau's new take of Disney's "The Jungle Book".
10-year-old Sethi from New York will be the only actor seen onscreen working along with a number of computer generated characters voiced by Scarlett Johansson as python Kaa, Lupita Nyong'O as Rakcha, Idris Elba as Shere Khan and Ben Kingsley as Bagheera.
Jon Favreau said in a statement, "Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative." He further added, "Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I'm confident he can handle it."
Casting director, Sarah Finn also added, "Neel embodies the heart, humor, 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."
"Life Of Pi" actor Suraj Sharma was also discovered through a worldwide casting process to play the lead of the Ang Lee fantasy film. With no acting experience beforehand, the then 18-year-old New Delhi native's debut role has led him to star in the Disney film, "Million Dollar Arm" alongside Jon Hamm.
"The Jungle Book" is set to release in U.S. on 9 October 2015.