From the ‘jungles’ of India through the film “The Jungle Book” to a story being helmed by Indian director Mira Nair, the Walt Disney Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm presented their live-action film slates with a bit of India entwined with action, emotions and a quality to mesmerize one and all.
A sneak peek of some exclusive footage and scoops of the film along with the appearances by the star cast as well as special video messages kept the fans, who gathered at D23 Expo 2015, on the edge of their seat on Saturday.
The three-day Disney fan event is being held at Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim.
Stars like Chris Evans, Chris Pine, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o and Harrison Ford added sparkle to the event taking the excitement to another level.
In fact, Hollywood star Johnny Depp walked on to stage in costume as Captain Jack Sparrow, his character from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, and threw grapes at the crowd.
A story straight from the enchanting and mysterious forests of India, “The Jungle Book” presents a modern take on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless classic (1894) by the same name.
The film’s director Jon Favreau also got newcomer Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli and has a connection with India, on stage amid thunderous applause.
Oscar-winners Kingsley, who helps bring panther-turned-mentor Bagheera to life, and Nyong’o, who lends her voice to the protective mother wolf Raksha, were also on stage to share insights about the film, which will hit the theatres on April 15, next year.
The live-action epic adventure showcases Mowgli’s journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon his home in the forest.
“This is awesome. Shooting for it was fun and overwhelming,” Sethi said while Kingsley noted that he had a wonderful time shooting with Sethi.
“Working with young actors teaches you a lot. Neel has astonishing purity and connection with the character,” Kingsley added.
Mira Nair will be helming “Queen of Katwe”, a story of a Ugandan girl who strives to be a champion chess player with Nyong’o in the lead.
“This is the kind of movie you have to humble yourself to the circumstances. You have to get down and work… Mira has a ravenous passion. She lives in Uganda half the year for 13 years. She was so committed to keeping it authentic and letting the world see that. It’s very vibrant, very colourful. It’s full of movie magic as well,” Nyong’o said.
Films to make the lineup included: Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” for which star Benedict Cumberbatch sent a video message; Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War”; “The Finest Hours”; “Alice Through the Looking Glass”; “Pete’s Dragon”; and “Beauty and the Beast”, which included a musical greeting from stars Emma Watson, Josh Gad and Luke Evans — sent from the London set where they are currently shooting.
The surprise visit by Depp was in sync with the mention of sequel “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”. Orlando Bloom will be part of the film as Will Turner.
And “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” star cast fuelled expectation over the movie by releasing a new poster.