Disney: Jon Favreau & Neel Sethi Interview #JungleBookEvent

I received an all expense paid trip from Disney to attend the #JungleBookEvent. The opinions expressed here are my own and I received no monetary compensation.

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While at the #JungleBookEvent, we had the opportunity to interview The Jungle Book (opens April 15th!) Director Jon Favreau and Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli. Jon Favreau was everything I expected him to be. He was funny, gracious and just brought a great energy to the room. He took a look at The Jungle Book toys that were lined up in front of him and he made a joke about how he was so sad that he never received merchandise for Elf. Now he’s stocking up and is being sent box and after box of toys. He compared it to the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy unwittingly buys 700 pounds of beef, which immediately makes him super cool in my book for referencing one of my favorite shows. Neel Sethi, at 12 years old, oozed confidence and was just darling. He thought it was pretty awesome to see himself as a toy! 

THE JUNGLE BOOK

Q: How did you know when you found Mowgli?

Jon Favreau: I can’t take credit for this talented young man. He wasn’t experienced but he had a quality and being a father, I recognized it, it was confidence. I think the fact that he wasn’t a kid who was out there looking for acting jobs, made it fun for him. It didn’t feel like he was concerned about failing or concerned about getting the part or not. They came in on a lark. He saw a Flyer. We were lucky enough to find this gift. 

Press Junket For Disney's "The Jungle Book"

 Photo: Becky Fry / MySparklingLife.com

Q: What was it like when you got the part?

Neel Sethi: I was in a dance class and teacher for the dance class said I’d be very good for [the part] and I never thought about acting before but I auditioned and they really liked me so we flew to LA, and then 2 weeks later, the producer called and we’re like flipping and jumping and we were so happy. We were so happy, we went out, and got my favorite food.

Q: What’s that?

Neel Sethi: Lobster and ravioli. 

Press Junket For Disney's "The Jungle Book"

 Photo: Becky Fry / MySparklingLife.com

Q: What was the scariest scene for you to film?

Neel Sethi: None of it was really scary cause I was always 30 inches off the ground but I didn’t really like the mud. It would dry on me and then I would get all hot and itchy and then they would spritz it with cold water for it to get muddy again and I didn’t like that and I had to act like it was normal but I’m getting chased by a stampede of buffalo.

Q: Did you go to a traditional school and what was it like to transition from school to set and back again?

Neel Sethi: I was in a normal school and when I auditioned, it was actually the last day of 5th Grade, the last day of Elementary School, and so our school split up into 2 schools basically for Middle School. And all of my good friends and everybody went to the same school as me. It was just normal again and everybody thought it was cool for like a week and then like all right, you know, enough.

Press Junket For Disney's "The Jungle Book"

 Photo: Becky Fry / MySparklingLife.com

Q: Out of everything that you’ve worked on, have you taken anything meaningful from the set of one of your films?

Jon Favreau: Yeah, I do so to my wife’s chagrin because it ain’t going nowhere. It’s all just piling up. The one I took from this [film] was, um, if you notice when he goes into the Temple where King Louie is…the cowbell.  

Q: How did you incorporate what musical scores would go into it? It was very beautiful how you put the music in. How did you decide that?

Jon Favreau: Some of it was intuition. A lot of it was trial and error, and honestly it was the part I was most concerned about as the plane is leaving the runway now because if you don’t have the music…I know when I’m watching “Creed” and Rocky comes on, I’m like yeah, you know. And so I remember as an audience member, I [want the music]. As a film maker, you’re scared, you’re like is it gonna break the tone. And as a film maker I know I got to give.

Press Junket For Disney's "The Jungle Book"

 Photo: Becky Fry / MySparklingLife.com

And as a matter of fact, there was one of the songs that wasn’t in the earlier version and my kids, and my wife, actually it was my wife who never, she’s very smart. She’s like it’s fine, everything is great. She’s very supportive and very, very rarely goes against what I’m doing because she knows that I’m– as a film maker, you’re facing a lot of different opinions and things, and when you go home, it’s nice to have support and enthusiasm and you know, confidence that you’ll figure it out and work it out.

But this is the one time, she was like you’re not gonna have that song in. And I’m like no, no, it might not fit tonally. And she’s like, I think you should have the song. And so it was early enough in the process that we worked it in. And I started working on the Bare Necessities and then we worked in the one with Walken. 

Make sure to follow The Jungle Book on Facebook, Twitter, IG, Pinterest and G+. You can also follow Walt Disney Pictures on Tumblr and YouTubeThe Jungle Book opens in theaters everywhere in 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D on April 15th!

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I'm Vanessa and it's my mission in life to spread my love of hot glue guns and glitter to others. I suffer from craft ADHD, regularly working on at least 10 projects at the same time and my craft room looks like a tornado hit it. My first craft book, Party in a Jar, was published in 2014. I look forward to crafting with you!

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