Sunday 20 August 2017

Jungle Book director gives the movie a 'girl power' makeover

Cast member Lupita Nyong'o poses at the premiere of
Cast member Lupita Nyong'o poses at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Alan Horn, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, from left, director/producer Jon Favreau and Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company arrive at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at the El Capitan Theatre on Monday, April 4, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Lupita Nyong'o, Neel Sethi and Ben Kingsley arrive at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at the El Capitan Theatre on Monday, April 4, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Cast member Ben Kingsley poses at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Independent.ie Newsdesk & Agencies

The director of The Jungle Book said it would have been "odd" not to feature prominent female characters in the film like the classic Disney animation.

Jon Favreau joined Oscar winners Sir Ben Kingsley and Lupita Nyong'o on a jungle-themed red carpet at El Capitan theatre in Los Angeles for the movie's world premiere.

Alan Horn, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, from left, director/producer Jon Favreau and Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company arrive at the premiere of
Alan Horn, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, from left, director/producer Jon Favreau and Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company arrive at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at the El Capitan Theatre on Monday, April 4, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Based on Rudyard Kipling's famous book and inspired by Disney's 1967 film, The Jungle Book uses live action and computer-generated animation to tell the story of Mowgli, a boy raised by a family of wolves, who is hunted by battle-scarred tiger Shere Khan, voiced by Idris Elba.

Favreau said he turned to Scarlett Johansson to provide the voice of hypnotic snake Kaa, and the film includes a high-profile role for the character Raksha, a female wolf voiced by 12 Years A Slave actress Nyong'o.

Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Lupita Nyong'o, Neel Sethi and Ben Kingsley arrive at the premiere of
Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Lupita Nyong'o, Neel Sethi and Ben Kingsley arrive at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at the El Capitan Theatre on Monday, April 4, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

He told the Press Association: "Times are different now. It seems odd to have all-male characters. In the '67 film, it was an all-male cast.

"In Kipling's (book), there was a prominent character we really played up called Raksha. She really is the heart and soul of the central relationship with Mowgli.

Cast member Ben Kingsley poses at the premiere of
Cast member Ben Kingsley poses at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

"And then we changed Kaa the snake to be Scarlett Johansson who has an incredibly warm, wonderful, compelling, dramatic voice, and I think it helped balance it out and feel more of our time."

Cast member Lupita Nyong'o poses with actor David Oyelowo at the premiere of
Cast member Lupita Nyong'o poses with actor David Oyelowo at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Cast member Lupita Nyong'o poses with actor David Oyelowo at the premiere of
Cast member Lupita Nyong'o poses with actor David Oyelowo at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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