-- Jon Favreau, the actor and director behind hits like “Swingers,” “Elf,” “Chef” and “Iron Man,” is back in action with a brand new take on the Disney classic “The Jungle Book.”
The new CGI version of the classic tale features the voices of all-star actors like Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong'o, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley and Scarlett Johansson. Murray, however, was apparently a bit difficult to nail down for the role of Baloo the Bear.
“Have you ever had him here?” Favreau asked George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” today. “He’s not the easiest. It’s not like you call an agent or a publicist. He runs his own business. You get a hold of him, he reaches out to you, he kind of moves around quite a bit. And I sent him letters, I sent him artwork, I’ve been wanting to work with the guy. He’s been an idol of mine since I was little.
“Finally I got a phone call from him, out of the blue. I’d sent letters, I’d reached out left messages, and he said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’” Favreau added. “And ever since then, he’s the hardest working guy, he really loves to get it just right and I’ve gotten to know him and work with him and it was a real highlight of my career.”
The famous director also explained how exciting it was to update the classic film for a modern audience.
“I grew up with the film. [The original] came out in ’67, it was the last animated film that Walt Disney worked on,” Favreau said. “But now we have all this photo real CGI, and I learned a lot about it working on the ‘Iron Man’ films, and speaking to Disney it was maybe time to update this and see if you could bring a combination of the [Rudyard] Kipling version from 100 years ago, the books, with a movie to life. It’s pretty spectacular what the artists are able to achieve now.”
“The Jungle Book,” which is produced by ABC’s parent company Disney, opens in theaters on April 15.