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'The Jungle Book' secrets and fun facts

Many kids and adults alike may remember the original, animated "The Jungle Book" movie based on Rudyard Kipling's classic stories, which was released in 1967.

Now, director Jon Favreau again brings Disney's "The Jungle Book" to the big screen. Mowgli (Neel Sethi), raised by a family of wolves, must leave the jungle, the only home he's ever known, when tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba) threatens him. Mowgli is guided by Bagheera, a stern panther (voice of Ben Kingsley) and Baloo, the free-spirited bear (voice of Bill Murray) as they meet many jungle animals, including Kaa, the python (voice of Scarlett Johansson) and ape King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken). This epic journey teaches him valuable life lessons along the way.

Check out 13 secrets and fun facts about Disney's "The Jungle Book."

Baloo stands nearly 15 feet high

At full stretch, Baloo can reach nearly 15
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

At full stretch, Baloo can reach nearly 15 feet high. The free-spirited bear is so heavy and sports so much fur, he took nearly five hours per frame to render.

Mother wolf Raksha is aptly named

In Hindi, Raksha means means protector.
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

In Hindi, Raksha means means protector.

King Louie is based on a legendary character

Artists took some creative license when it came
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Artists took some creative license when it came to King Louie, borrowing a legendary character -- Gigantopithecus -- and exaggerating his size. King Louie stands 12 feet tall.

Mowgli wears a red loincloth in the film

Costume designer Laura Jean Shannon had her work
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Costume designer Laura Jean Shannon had her work cut out for her. "Mowgli's immersed in water and mud, he gets rained on, he runs," said Shannon. "We even rigged a hidden safety harness into the costume because Mowgli hangs on tree limbs and cliffs. Each of the loincloths -- about 16 or 17 -- had a very specific purpose." Shannon built this "suit of armor" from the leaves of an alocasia tree (known as elephant ear plant). The garment also is used to protect the man-cub from angry bees when he collects honey for Baloo.

There were more than 70 animated species in the film

The team at Moving Picture Company (MPC) was
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

The team at Moving Picture Company (MPC) was responsible for animating more than 70 species, crafting 100 million leaves and simulating earth, fire and water. The team of more than 800 computer graphics artists spent more than a year on the project.

The jungle environment was digitally built

Artists digitally built most of the jungle environment
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Artists digitally built most of the jungle environment that appears in the movie, creating moss, bark, rock, water, grass, trees and leaves that were inspired by their real-life counterparts in India. The virtual environment makes up 80 percent of the film frame 100 percent of the time.

Filmmakers used motion capture technology

This special technology allowed filmmakers to visualize the
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

This special technology allowed filmmakers to visualize the entire film prior to live-action production kicking off. The process involves special body suits with dots that translate into the computer. Director Jon Favreau suited up for a few scenes.

Visual effects included projected lights and shadows

According to Walt Disney Studios, one of the
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

According to Walt Disney Studios, one of the challenges filmmakers faced by pairing a live-action Mowgli with computer-generated animal counterparts was that the CG creatures were unable to cast shadows on real-life Mowgli. "Visual effects supervisor Rob Legato developed a system that allowed filmmakers to project light and shadows onto Mowgli that represent the creatures that are moving near him."

The original movie's theme song received an Oscar nod

The iconic song
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

The iconic song "The Bare Necessities," written by Terry Gilkyson, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1968.

Mowgli deals with a lot of honey in 'The Jungle Book'

It was a challenge for filmmakers to make
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

It was a challenge for filmmakers to make honey look authentic yet appealing. Color and viscosity had to be considered, as well as how to make the honeycomb.

Jon Favreau was inspired by Walt Disney

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

"When I think about Disney's legacy, I relate to Walt's original dream," he said in a news release. "Walt Disney's work has influenced my work. He was considered high tech for the time. He was the first person who locked soundtrack with picture, so the characters were perfectly choreographed to the musical score -- something that absolutely blew people's minds. Disney was on the cutting edge of technology."

Composer John Debney's old ties to 'Jungle Book'

He is the son of Louis Debney, who
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

He is the son of Louis Debney, who worked for Walt Disney. "When I was a youngster, they were making this incredible magical film called 'The Jungle Book,' and I was sort of a studio brat," he said. "I got to know the young man Bruce Reitherman who played Mowgli. We would go on adventures around the world with his family."

Boy Scouts' names come from Kipling's writings

According to actor Ben Kingsley, author Rudyard Kipling's
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

According to actor Ben Kingsley, author Rudyard Kipling's characters are part childhood in the U.K. "Before a boy in the U.K. joins the Boy Scouts, he joins the Cubs," says Kingsley. "And our Cub Chief was always called Akela."

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