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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 Christmas.

"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 real."

"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 care.

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 ‘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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