LOS ANGELES, July 15 (UPI) -- Disney's live action Jungle Book has found its star.
Newcomer Neel Sethi will portray lead character Mowgli. The 10-year-old hails from New York, and has no prior professional acting experience.
"Casting is the most important element of any film and finding the right kid to play Mowgli was imperative," director Jon Favreau said in a statement. "Neel has tremendous talent and charisma. There is a lot riding on his little shoulders and I'm confident he can handle it."
"Neel embodies the heart, humor and daring of the character," casting director Sarah Finn added. "He's warm and accessible, yet also has an intelligence well beyond his years and impressed us all with his ability to hold his own in any situation. Even though he has no professional acting experience, his natural charisma and instincts jumped out at us."
Sethi will be the only actor onscreen, as the movie is a combination of live action and animation. Voice actors include Ben Kingsley as the panther Bagheera, Idris Elba as the tiger Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as the snake Kaa and Lupita Nyong'o as mother wolf Raksha.
The Jungle Book is scheduled for release October 9, 2015. The movie is one of four live action adaptations in the works at Disney; Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Dumbo are also in production.