THE JUNGLE BOOK 2
HALEY JOEL OSMENT (MOWGLI) started acting in commercials
at age 4 and was cast in his first leading role — by
noted director Norman Jewison for the 1996 film "Bogus" —
at age 8. At age 11, Osment received an Academy Award" nomination
for his portrayal of a clairvoyant boy in the blockbuster "The Sixth
Sense." His film work includes the starring role in Steven Spielberg's
"A.I: Artificial Intelligence" and "Pay It Forward," as well
as opposite Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump." Osment was a core cast member
of the television series "Murphy Brown" and "The Jeff Foxworthy
Show," and has done episodic work on "Ally McBeal," "Chicago
Hope," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Touched by an Angel"
and "The Pretender," to name but a few. He has also voiced several
memorable animated roles, including for the Disney Video Premieres' "The
Hunchback of Notre Dame II" and "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted
"My dad always taught me that acting is believing, so I
go through the same preparation for a voiceover that I do
getting ready' for a live-action role," Osment says. "You have to
get into the role to the point where you are Mowgli to get into that
playful, adventurousness of the character and really sound the way Mowgli would
in any particular situation. You have to forget that it's drawn and pretend it's
"The challenge with Haley is figuring out which of his
40 good reads is the one you want to use," says Thorne. "He's
managed to give a very straightforward little guy an incredible amount of
emotion. Hale)' managed to put all the pieces together and make you really
Osment holds a special place in his heart for the original
"The Jungle Book" from experiences in his nor-to-distant childhood.
"At big family get-togethers, they always put videos in for the kids to
keep them busy — and I remember we rented
â€˜The Jungle Book' one of those times," Osment sax's. "I just
watched it over and over again. I was always a kid that loved to be outdoors,
walking on walls and climbing trees. So I can relate to Mowgli —
there's definitely a little bit of me in Mowgli."
"Haley is so easy to direct —
he's a fantastic actor who happens to be in a very young body,"
Thomason says. "We do a lot of things in animation where the actor really
has to take risks, whether it's playing stuff very broad or whispering a
heartfelt speech. There's nothing Haley can't do."
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