7 things you don’t know about the new Jungle Book flick

2016-04-14 12:25

Cape Town – Disney's live action version of The Jungle Book hits screens nationwide this weekend.

The film stars Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken. 

Newcomer Neel Sethi plays the man-cub Mowgli raised by wolves. 

The 3D adventure blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments.

Here are some fun facts about the making of the film.

1. The team at Moving Picture Company (MPC) were responsible for animating more than 70 species, crafting 100 million leaves and simulating earth, fire and water. A team of more than 800 computer graphics artists spent more than a year on the project. 

2. Artists digitally built most of the jungle environment that appears in the film, creating moss, bark, rock, water, grass, trees, leaves that were all inspired by their real-life counterparts in India. The virtual environment makes up 80% of the film frame 100% of the time.

3. Filmmakers utilised motion capture technology to help them visualise the entire film prior to live-action production kicking off. The process involves special body suits adorned with dots that translate into the computer. Even director Jon Favreau suited up for select scenes.  

4. One of the challenges filmmakers faced by pairing a live-action Mowgli with computer-generated animal counterparts was that the CG creatures were unable to cast shadows on real-life Mowgli. Visual effects supervisor Rob Legato developed a system that allowed filmmakers to project light and shadows onto Mowgli that represent the creatures that are moving near him.

5. Mowgli deals with a lot of honey in The Jungle Book. The sweet stuff proved challenging for filmmakers, who wanted it to look authentic—yet still appealing. Colour and viscosity had to be considered, as well as how to make the honeycomb it comes in.

6. Artists at WETA took some creative license when it came to King Louie, borrowing a legendary character—Gigantopithecus—and exaggerating his size. King Louie stands 12 feet tall.

7. Mowgli sports a red loincloth in the film, but costume designer Laura Jean Shannon had her work cut out for her. “Mowgli’s immersed in water and mud, he gets rained on, he runs,” says Shannon. “We even rigged a hidden safety harness into the costume because Mowgli hangs on tree limbs and cliffs. Each of the loincloths—we ended up with 16 or 17—had a very specific purpose.”

Watch the trailer here:

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