New 'Jungle Book' directed by Chicago's Jon Favreau hits theatres Friday

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'The Jungle Book'' leaps onto the big screen Friday. (WLS)

'The Jungle Book'' leaps onto the big screen Friday.

It's a whole new take on the classic tale with humor, high-tech effects and a story that's still full of thrills.

The lavish, live-action production featuring the voices of Bill Murray, Christopher Walken and more is from Disney, the parent company of ABC.

"I was trying my best 'cause I really liked the role," said young actor Neel Sethi. "I didn't really, like, think of it like a whole new career, a whole different lifestyle, but I guess that's what it is, it's really cool."

John Favreau directed the movie. He said he loves the original 1967, animated version, inspired by the Rudyard Kipling book. The remake uses top celebrity voices.

"Each of these people have very recognizable, distinct, emotional and sometimes funny voices," Favreau said. "Bill Murray is a very unique personality, someone I've always wanted to meet and work with. Idris Elba has a great, powerful, booming voice."

Favreau launched his improv career here in chicago, where he also learned to write and direct.

"I didn't go to film school, I didn't go to an acting academy. I came here with a duffel bag, and I lived on a couch and then a futon and then a bed," Favreau said. "I was working at Second City washing dishes, watching people who went on - Mike Myers, Chris Farley. At the time, you don't realize these are gonna be the stars of tomorrow, that lightning keeps striking this city for talent.

"Now that it's done, I get to sit in the back row and watch the audience react," Favreau continued. "A lot different than when I was here doing improv, I had to come up with everything on the spot... you're frazzled by the end of it... here you do all the work ahead of time."

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