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'The Jungle Book' trailer gives glimpses of reimagined characters

(YouTube screengrab)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SHERE KHAN'S LAIR — Disney released a teaser trailer Tuesday for its live-action version of the 1967 animated classic "The Jungle Book," and it has the Internet all aflutter.

With Jon Favreau directing, hopes are high for the latest silver screen iteration of a Disney feature, particularly after the commercial success of "Maleficent" and "Cinderella," both of which used live actors along with a Disney-sized dollop of CGI.

What should have audiences itching to purchase tickets on the April 15, 2016, release date is the stellar voice actors bringing to life many of Rudyard Kipling's characters: Idris Elba as the nefarious Shere Khan, Bill Murray will reimagine Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Christopher Walken will portray King Louie, and Scarlett Johanson's velvety voice will mark the first female depiction of the serpent Kaa. Her voice is the only one the trailer gives the audience a taste of during her alluringly alarming voiceover.

"Don't you know what you are?" Kaa asks Mowgli, played by newcomer Neel Sethi. "I know what you are."

Goosebumps.

In conjunction with the release of the trailer, Favreau conducted an #AskJungleBook Twitter Q&A in which the director revealed some additional tidbits about the movie. For example, none of the scenes were shot in India, where the story is set. Rather, they were all shot in a studio in downtown Los Angeles.

@MonkeyBoy1138 None are real. All are CGI. The whole movie was shot in downtown LA. #askjunglebook — Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) September 15, 2015

Favreau also alluded to the trailer being much darker in tone than the entirety of the film, which will have a feel that is a mix between "the original animate version and a modern action/adventure."

@Bannerofff No. You'll see as more footage comes out that the tone is a mix btwn the original animated version and a modern action/adventure — Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) September 15, 2015

The Hollywood veteran also said that his experience directing "Iron Man" gave him valuable know-how in tech/animation to tackle the Disney classic, while working on "Elf" taught him "a lot of lessons in VFX."

@sammyzkay95@TheJungleBook Iron Man gave me the most experience in the tech/animation aspect, but Elf taught me a lot of lessons in VFX. — Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) September 15, 2015

Overall, the teaser promises action and a lot of stunning visuals. While some may be disappointed in a lack of lightheartedness, Favreau assures it's there.

The trailer ends on the perfect note, with Mowgli floating away on Baloo's chest while his fuzzy friend whistles "The Bear Necessities."

"The Jungle Book" is the latest in a series of live-action adaptations by Disney, with "Dumbo," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Mulan" also in the works.

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Angie H. Treasure

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