Director Jon Favreau unveiled the first trailer for Disney’s “The Jungle Book” and brought stars Lupita Nyong’o, Ben Kingsley and newcomer Neel Sethi onstage at Saturday’s D23 Fan Expo in Anaheim.
Sethi plays the film’s young hero Mowgli, while Kingsley plays Bagheera the Panther and Nyong’o plays Raksha the Wolf. Favreau played up the eye-popping visual spectacle of the film, saying that “The best CGI is the CGI that disappears.”
Favreau revealed the film’s first poster and said they’d be giving out copies to fans after the presentation. After Favreau joked he didn’t have any footage ready, Sean Bailey asked him to look within his heart for a glimpse and Favreau obliged.
The trailer opens with the smoky voice of Scarlett Johansson’s Kaa the Python talking about the Red Flower, which brings “warmth, light and destruction.”
Bagheera finds Mowgli and we’re told that “the jungle is no longer safe. I’ll return him to where he belongs.”
We see Idris Elba’s killer tiger Shere Khan stalking Mowgli through the outback in a thrilling sequence that ends with him jumping off a cliff, after which he’s discovered by Bill Murray’s Baloo the Bear. Baloo tells Mowgli to “relax” and that “there’s no need to get worked up.” Then he sings the classic Disney song “Bare Necessities,” a song about “the good life,” though Mowgli confesses he doesn’t know what a song is.
“Everyone’s got a song,” Baloo assures him.
As the trailer nears its end, we see Shere Khan warning Mowgli that “if you come back, I’ll be waiting,” then the footage concludes with Christopher Walken’s orangutan King Louie saying “I am the king!” — which brought the house down.
The footage, which was stunning and full of wonder, earned a standing ovation before Bailey brought out Mia Wasikowska for the “Alice Through the Looking Glass” presentation.
Sethi appeared overwhelmed during his first major public appearance, but won the crowd over with his wide-eyed enthusiasm and budding movie-star smile.
Nyong’o was making her first visit to Disneyland, which was one of the things on her mother’s dream board for her family. Nyong’o didn’t work directly with Sethi, but said she has seen glimpses of his performance and found it quite moving.
Kingsley quoted an oft-repeated showbiz line that it’s never a good idea to work with children or animals, but then joked: “I worked with a child and I played an animal and I would say, anytime. You have my number.”