Actor/director Jon Favreau recently popped in on Reddit for an AMA to promote The Jungle Book, which he directed, and here are some of the highlights.
Favreau was asked what elements of Disney’s original Jungle Book and Rudyard kipling’s original novel he wanted to incorporate into his new adaption:
“The images that I wanted to preserve in the latest telling of the story were Mowgli & Baloo floating down the river together singing “Bare Necessities,” Kaa’s hypnosis of Mowgli and his scintillating eyes, King Louie and the collapse of the Cold Lairs, the marching elephants, and Mowgli’s encounter with the baby elephant. These are the images I remembered from my childhood when I saw the movie time and time again.
There were some interesting aspects of the Kipling story that I wanted to feature. These include Raksha, the mother wolf, and her relationship with Mowgli, Shere Khan’s backstory and antipathy for man, the reverence that all the denizens of the jungle felt for the elephants, and the reciting of The Law of the Jungle. I also wanted to mix the tone of the two, which led to the PG version that you’ll see in theaters.”
The director was asked about working with CGI characters versus live actors:
“Even though computers are used in the process, CGI movies are truly handmade. Artists take the data, regardless of whether it’s motion capture or keyframe animation, and they slowly refine the performances until life is breathed into them. CG animation is every bit as much of an artist’s endeavor as was the old fashioned cell animation. The tools have just been more refined.
The key to directing these high tech, animation heavy projects is to hire excellent performers to drive the acting choices of the characters and then to oversee the artists and animators who are, in turn, performers in their own right. If all of these elements are effectively coordinated, the entire process is invisible and the audience is left with a viewing experience that feels like they are watching something organic and emotional.”
He was also asked if, given his relationship with Disney, if he has been approached to direct any of the upcoming Star Wars films:
I love Star Wars. I cannot wait for Rogue One. The trailer is amazing. I have not discussed directing any films from that universe with Disney. I’m a big fan and I don’t know if I would want to give up the fun of watching it in the movie theater without any inside knowledge.
Naturally, Swingers came up, and he was asked if he would consider a sequel to the film, in which he and co-star Vince Vaughn would look at Hollywood having the experience they’ve had with the industry:
“I think we should do The Sunshine Boys in 20 years.”
The Jungle Book opens April 15, 2016.