The Jungle Book: Kids acting with just green screens

Yesterday I went to the cinema to check out The Jungle Book, an amazing new Disney movie, although it was not very surprising as it was the 100th live action Disney classic… I really wonder if Mr. Walt Disney would have appreciated all those live-action versions of his movies, but anyway..

Jungle Book is terrific and even though it is not a very surprising thing to watch, it still is very exciting with spot-on voice casting, excellent storytelling and visuals that are simply breathtakingly beautiful.

Especially when you watch Jungle Book in 3D in the cinema, it is very clear how freaking amazing the graphics are. The CGI animals all look very real, even though there are always little things that give away that they are computer animated, their fur is simply amazing.

But, while being amazed by these spectacular visuals, I also realized something else: there are hardly any actors in this movie. Most of it is green screen. You might say: Duh, chick, don’t you know almost every movie uses green screens at some point? Of course, but have you thought about the actors that have to deal with that?

To be more specific, in The Jungle Book it is just one kid. One little kid having no actors around him, just green things. That does not only mean that there is no mentor to act with on camera, and to learn from; your acting also has to be super excellent as you do not really have real eyes to look in, and you are talking to just a green object.

That is very impressive to me, to come across real when you are in such a surreal, plastic environment. In communication body language, eyes and tone of voice are so important, and feedback especially, so to not have that while you are acting, must be extremely hard. Props for our favorite man-cub of all time: Neel Sethi, playing Mowgli.

And it seems to be a bit of a trend to put kids in movies like this, cause Spielberg is doing it too. The Big Friendly Giant (BFG) will be coming out soon, with the little girl Ruby Barnhill playing Sophie, the girl that gets ‘kidnapped’ by the Big Friendly Giant. And there probably have been movies before with kids playing in films like that.

Partly Alice in Wonderland with Mia Wasikowska, although she did not really play a lot of pure solo scenes, she usually had people (mainly Johnny Depp) around her. Even though I am usually not that fond of movie-kids, I really think those kids playing in movies that are so modern, especially when playing solo a lot, are very admirable. They are truly talented kids that deserve our time and money.

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