'The Jungle Book' stars pose with their on-screen characters

Disney previously released an animated "Jungle Book" in 1967 and a live-action version in 1994.
By Annie Martin Follow @littlemannie   |  March 21, 2016 at 12:49 PM
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LOS ANGELES, March 21 (UPI) -- The Jungle Book stars get close to their on-screen characters in an all-new set of promos for the forthcoming Disney movie.

Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o and Scarlett Johansson are among the voice actors who posed with their on-screen animals to promote the live-action adaptation.

Elba voices Shere Khan, a tiger who "bears the scars of man, which fuel his hatred of humans." He's convinced the human boy Mowgli (Neel Sethi) poses a threat and "determined to rid the jungle of the man-cub."

"Shere Khan reigns with fear," the 43-year-old British actor said. "He terrorizes everyone he encounters because he comes from a place of fear."

Nyong'o voices Raksha, a wolf who adopts Mowgli after he's abandoned in the jungle as an infant. The character raises Mowgli as if he's one of her own pups and protects him from Shere Khan.

"She is the protector, the eternal mother," the 33-year-old Mexican-Kenyan actress said. "The word Raksha actually means protection in Hindi. I felt really connected to that, wanting to protect a son that isn't originally hers but one she's taken for her own."

Johansson, meanwhile, voices Raa, a python "who uses her voice and hypnotic gaze to entrance Mowgli" into her "captivating embrace."

"Kaa seduces and entraps Mowgli with her storytelling," the 31-year-old American actress said. "She's the mirror into Mowgli's past. The way she moves is very alluring, almost coquettish."

The Jungle Book is based on the Rudyard Kipling story collection of the same name, and was previously adapted as a 1967 animated Disney film. The studio released a first live-action remake with Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli in 1994.

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Idris Elba voices the tiger Shere Khan in "The Jungle Book." Photo by The Jungle Book/Facebook

Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and Christopher Walken also have voice roles in the new movie. The film is directed by actor and Elf helmer Jon Favreau and opens in theaters April 15.

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