Filmmaker Jon Favreau, who is receiving rave reviews for his latest 3D live - animation adventure fantasy film "The Jungle Book", says there were 2, 000 auditions for the lead role of Mowgli in the film before locking Indian American child actor Neel Sethi.
"There were, I think, 2, 000 auditions. It was whittled down a bit before it was presented to me so I didn't see all of them, but he (Neel) was one of the people that kind of popped, " Favreau told hollywoodreporter. com.
"He was from Manhattan, he didn't have any experience, he'd never auditioned before, but he had tremendous charisma. He was very unflappable.
"He didn't seem to have any fear in the audition and when I met him he was incredible self - assured and didn't seem intimidated and that's a quality I remember from Mowgli in the animated cartoon, " Favreau added.
Favreau, who has previously directed films like "Iron Man", "Cowboys & Aliens" and "Chef", said Neel reminded film of the animated cartoon character that used to come on TV.
"He reminded me very much of the kid from the animated cartoon, even the physicality and the way he moves around. I thought he brought this really nice watchable human quality to a character that a lot was going to be pivoting on, " Favreau said.
"The Jungle Book" released in India on April 8, a week ahead of its release in the US.