Disney’s live action epic adventure “The Jungle Book,” released today on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere, and Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on August 30, has all the elements that people love about Disney! We laughed, we cried, were scared at times and thrilled at times as Mowgli makes his transformative journey through the jungle. During the Pete’s Dragon Event we were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Producer Brigham Taylor and Visual Effect Supervisor Rob Legato to learn about the film and the bonus features in the Blu-ray that reveal the innovative filmmaking technology used to create the richly immersive jungle world and characters.
How many people were on the production team of The Jungle Book?
Legato: There were probably 1,000, maybe 2,000 people, all in all, if we could count all the musicians in New Orleans, and if you count everybody that was actually on the film at one point or another. It’s probably close to 2,000 people. There were a lot of people.
Can you discuss tell us a little bit about why you used puppets and puppeteers in the film?
Legato: This was Neel’s first film, and we wanted to elicit a response from him and keep it fresh take after take after take. I thought it was a brilliant idea to have the puppeteer capture his imagination with small little things like put eyeball on their knuckles. Neel’s reaction to these things would be the reaction that we want to see in the movie. He needs to experience it to make you believe that he’s seeing the animals speaking to him. I think that that decision was, one of the best ones for this kid.
Taylor: That was one of the most discussed things cause the puppeteers also brought a human element performance onstage. Not every shot required a scale puppet but sometimes it did. Whether it was to cast a shadow or to get the right byline and also to get a performer to react. That is why we turned to the Henson company to build those. They didn’t have much time because we figured this out later, but they turned it around quickly. These guys were very used to working that way but also were just great at feeding these lines and giving the performances, so it was vital. This was something that Jon paid a lot of attention to because he knew how important Neel’s performance was.
Taylor: Saying goodbye to the mother because of the interactivity and also because of the level of performance. Again, we had Neel in his first film, having done no acting prior, and it was a heavy emotional scene. It was also one of the most demanding technical scenes. I think we could talk about that scene for a year, both in terms of how we were going to accomplish it, but then also to have performers perform it.
Is there anything you weren’t able to do or had to compromise on that you wish you might have been able to?
Taylor: The cool thing is there isn’t anything that we wanted to do that we couldn’t do technically. We didn’t want the film to be too long. We were trying to be very strict about the duration, in terms of the overall experience but there was nothing to my recollection that we set out to do that we didn’t accomplish and that was really neat.
In putting together the bonus content for the home release, which behind the scene tidbits were you most excited to share with the audiences?
Taylor: For me, just as a movie fan, I like hearing about little inspirations and tidbits that you wouldn’t have necessarily understood and this isn’t just one piece. It’s sprinkled throughout the pieces, like when Jon mentions how we were looking at the piece for Bambi and in terms of the inspiration for the first move and then there are six or seven of those moments. I find it interesting. I find it all engrossing. I like having digested in 30 minutes what took 2-2-1/2 years and looking at it that way, but I love hearing about the sort of behind the scenes creation inspirations in terms of why stuff wound up on the screen the way it did.
“The Jungle Book,” is released today on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere, and Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on August 30!
Venture behind the scenes with in-depth bonus features that reveal the innovative filmmaking technology used to create the richly immersive jungle world and characters; Follow the journey of the film’s only on-screen actor, charismatic newcomer Neel Sethi (Mowgli); Delve into a candid and humorous scene-by-scene audio commentary with director Jon Favreau and meet the all-star voice cast who help bring the film’s colorful characters to life, as well as the musicians who accent the adventure with a majestic music score.
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