As part of a special Q&A at Tribeca Film Festival’s Tribeca Talks’ Directors Series on Friday night, “The Jungle Book” director Jon Favreau spoke about his approach to his next adaptation of a Disney animated classic – 1994’s “The Lion King”.
Favreau’s take on “The Jungle book” grossed $966.5 million at the worldwide box office last year, and its photorealistic, computer-generated jungle animals and environments seemed like an obvious test run for “The Lion King” which would take a similar approach, but remove the human character – essentially a fully CG animated feature.
And while The Jungle Book was adapted from a Disney animated classic, Favreau admits the stakes are much higher with this film than ‘Jungle Book’ as expectations are higher thanks to both the material’s immense popularity and its more modern origins meaning the audience is much more aware of the original’s smaller moments along with its big ones:
“”With the Disney stuff, people know even more … With Lion King, people really know [the original], and they grew up with it and it has emotional impact. I think about what I remember about The Lion King? I did it with Jungle Book.
What do I remember about The Jungle Book? I remember Mowgli and the snake. I remember the snake’s eyes. I remember Baloo going down the river and Mowgli riding on him like a raft. I made a big list, and those are the images we definitely needed… and you have more latitude to shift and change those things.
The Jungle Book was 50 years ago, Lion King was 20, and people grew up with it in an age of video where they watched it over and over again. So, I have to really examine all of those plot points. Also, the myths are very strong in it, so you’re hitting something even deeper than the movie sometimes. What I’m trying to do is honor what was there … There are certain expectations people have.”
James Earl Jones is reprising his voice role of Mufasa, Donald Glover is voicing the pivotal role of Simba, and Beyonce is being sought for the voice of Nala in the film which hasn’t yet set a release date.