Neel Sethi will make his feature debut in Walt Disney Pictures' live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book. E! News caught up with the young actor at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, where he said the movie making experience has been "really overwhelming" since he's "never done anything like this before."
Sethi explained that he didn't work with real animals on set. "It's CGI technology. It's really new technology so it looks really cool, and instead of that, I worked with puppets and eye lines," he said of the filming process. "They look really funny."
Seth—along with co-stars Ben Kinsgley and Lupita Nyong'o, plus director Jon Favreau and Walt Disney Pictures' president of production Sean Bailey—premiered footage from the movie at Saturday's event. (For now, it's unavailable online.)
"We're at the point in the process where we're able to show some footage here of early looks at what combining photography done with an eye towards an effects film. It starts to feel, in many ways, more like an animated movie with a human element in it," Favreu said. "You get all of the excitement and the exhilaration of an animated film but the photorealism and the connection to it of a live-action film...It's exciting to be able to use all of these tools to be able to tell a better story."
Kingsley was blown away by what he saw onscreen.
"I think that the footage is very embracing," he said. "It pulls you in."
How will this film differ from its animated predecessor? "It is going to be a very different experience in that it's much more visceral. You feel the threat of the jungle, as well as the beauty of the jungle. You feel the power of those beasts as well as the story that they have to tell. You feel that there is something very muscular and vivid about those animals. When the elephants came onto the screen, the audience gasped because they do look like a herd of elephants," he said. "You cannot imagine that that was created in a laboratory. It's almost impossible to believe that you're watching computer-generated images."
The Jungle Book swings into theaters Apr. 15, 2016.