THE JUNGLE BOOK 2
About The Production
Based on Rudyard Kipling's classic tale, Disney's
animated masterpiece "The Jungle Book" was initially released on
October 18, 1967. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, the 78-minute film —
the last animated feature Walt Disney personally
supervised — became
one of Disney's all-time box office winners. The film featured the
now-familiar voices of Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Louis Prima, George
Sanders, Sterling Holloway, J. Pat O'Malley,
and Bruce Reitherman. Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman wrote the songs, which
included "I Wan'na Be Like You," "Trust in Me," "My
Own Home," "That's What Friends Are For," and "Colonel
Hathi's March;" and Terry Gilkyson provided the Oscar-nominated
"Bare Necessities." The film was re-released in theaters in 1978,
1984, and 1990, and initially on video in 1991.
In continuing the adventure, director Steve Trenbirth and
producers Chris Chase and Mary Thorne knew their new story would require the
rekindling of several themes from the original film. Most notably, they sought
to spotlight the engaging, tactile relationship between Baloo and Mowgli; create
more of the memorable jazz-based music; allow the audience to get reacquainted
with these beloved characters and insidious villains; and capture the original
film's inherent sense of fun.
"The original film left the door wide open to explore
the future of these wonderful characters," saysThorne. "It naturally led us to a corning-of-age story
for Mowgli. He faces the universal questions everyone encounters at some point
in their lives — that juncture between our
past and our future."
The classic nature of the original film made it a "tough
act to follow," Thorne admits. But, as Chase explains, it also begged the
opportunity to revisit old friends — particularly
diving back into the buddy-buddy camaraderie between Baloo and Mowgli —
and inspiring the creation of engaging, new characters like Shanti and
"It's so irresistible to want to tell another story
with these characters, especially with a relationship so delicious as the one
between Baloo and Mowgli," Chase says. "You can't help but want to
spend more time with these characters. The more we thought about it, the more we
realized it would be quite organic for Mowgli to find comfort with his own kind,
yet also miss his greatest childhood influences."
With the story in place, the filmmakers set about
establishing the film's "beat" — an
essential pacing underscored with Dixieland jazz and big band influences.
Composer Joel McNeely ("Return to Never Land") provided an involving
score filled with new, exciting music with a jazzy pulse that also reflects many
of the original film's classic themes.
"Joel's score allows us to stop and enjoy emotional,
heartfelt moments, moments where you see the characters evolve," Chase
The songwriting team of Paul Grabowsky and Lorraine Feather
handed the characters their next snappy step with a pair of musical numbers that
bring the characters — and audiences —
to their feet. In "Jungle Rhythm," Grabowsky and Feather give
Mowgli the opportunity to introduce the village children to his fun-filled view
of the jungle, essentially becoming the Pied Piper to a group of kids eager to
assume the roles of wild animals. And in "W-I-L-D," the songwriting
duo creates the ultimate anthem of freedom for the jungle's original party
While story and song were being established, director Steve
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