Jon Favreau Talks ‘Jungle Book’ After Trailer Drops

In 1967 Disney released The Jungle Book, its 19th feature in the Animated Classics series and the last film produced by Walt Disney. In 1994, they released a live-action remake of the film, starring Jason Scott Lee (Lilo and Stitch, Back to the Future Part II) as Mowgli and a black bear named Casey as Baloo. And in 2016, almost half a century after the release of the animated film, we will see Disney’s third retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s famous story.

Disney has been remaking a lot of their classic films, starting in 2010 with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Sleeping Beauty was remade from Maleficent’s point of view (in 2014’s Maleficent), and a shiny new Cinderella was released this past spring. Disney’s animated classics are well-known for their catchy songs and cheery stories (for those of you who haven’t read the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, the Evil Stepsisters cut off chunks of their feet to fit into the glass slipper), but so far their live-action remakes have been on the darker side, and The Jungle Book appears to be following in those footsteps.

The 2016 adaptation definitely looks a lot darker so far: the atmosphere is literally darker, the animals are scarier, and the only cheerful bit of the trailer is when Bill Murray’s (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day) Baloo is floating down a river and whistling “The Bare Necessities” in what is clearly a nod to the animated film.

Similar to Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent, this Jungle Book is part live-action, part CGI. Favreau took to Twitter during the #AskJungleBook Twitter conversation on September 15 to comment that none of the locations in the film are real and the whole film was shot in downtown Los Angeles. But unlike Alice and Maleficent, The Jungle Book remake will be a musical, with new songs written by Richard M. Sherman who, alongside his late brother, wrote the songs for the 1967 animated classic. The live-action Cinderella features the animated version’s beloved songs “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” and the live-action Jungle Book is following suit by recycling “The Bare Necessities.”

With Favreau directing and Sherman coming back to write the music, The Jungle Book can’t be nearly as dark as the trailer makes it out to be. Favreau, of course, is the veteran director of Elf (2003), Iron Man (2008), and Chef (2014), and knows how to keep things light and heartwarming even during times of duress. He even went so far as to say it:


And with Murray as Baloo and Christopher Walken (Hairspray, Peter Pan Live!) as King Louie, there is bound to be a lot of love and a lot of laughs thrown in with the thrills and chills promised by Scarlett Johansson’s (The Avengers, Her) Kaa in the trailer.

As for what’s coming next, perhaps one of the most anticipated in Disney’s long list of remakes is Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson (Harry Potter) as Belle and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as the Beast, due out in March 2017. Disney also plans to remake The Little Mermaid, Dumbo, Mulan, and Pinocchio, as well as give Prince Charming (Cinderella), the Genie (Aladdin), and Tinker Bell (Peter Pan) their own origin stories.

Disney’s The Jungle Book will be in theaters April 15, 2016.

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