I received an all expense paid trip from Disney to attend the #JungleBookEvent. The opinions expressed here are my own. I received no monetary compensation.
Lupita Nyong’o, the voice of Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito, the voice of Akela – although this wasn’t the type of film that had the two actors on stage or screen together, you could immediately see they worked well together and respected each other.
Lupita is soft spoken, articulate and a beautiful presence in the room.
Giancarlo immediately comes across as someone that can give anyone wonderful life advice.
The bloggers were at an advantage since neither actor had seen the film yet and would be seeing it for the first time that evening at the premiere. They had seen small parts but according to Giancarlo ” . . . we’ve been offered screening after screening, but we’re obstinate. We say no, we want to see it together as a family.”
When asked what she drew on to prepare for her role – did she have a mother role from her life that she used to prepare, Lupita answered with the most beautiful voice – ” Well, I have a lot of very, very powerful women in my life. My mother being the first. And most important. But in my culture, my mother’s sisters are also my mother. And my father’s sisters are my mothers, too. So I’ve have many mothers. And, . . . my mom . . . She had a fierce love. She has a fierce love for her children. So, that, for me – that spirit, that tenacity of mothering was something that I thought of, and that inspired my version of Raksha.
After several minutes of both actors discussing the recording process, Giancarlo began to speak almost randomly. He is profound and deep, with a striking voice that holds your attention and what he said goes back to his almost first statement in the interview: “. . . we want to see it together as a family.” Family is important to him. He is such an endearing man. Here is most of what he said:
“So while Lupita and you guys have been talking back and forth about motherhood, I have this vision that I’m really watching each one of my daughters start to become women and mothers. And this is what’s going to save our planet. I know it. Because there’s such a grace and understanding in the female persona when women have really come into their own. Part of that is to have children and to be caring for those children. Not only in the care of them, but also in the nurturing and raising of them, they have to pass on their souls and their intelligence. And all those things can’t be taught. It’s something that is the essence of a woman, the essence of a mother, a mother knows! So to me, you know, I have learned to listen through raising four daughters. I’ve learned to become a progressive man because I have four women in my life . . . It is the strength of the mother that is going to change the way the world is.”
Both were asked what message they would like to see viewers get from this new version of The Jungle Book. Lupita wants children to know that no matter what – family is home. Children need to know that even if you at times veer away from it, you will always be able to come back when you need to. Giancarlo wants people to get a sense of freedom. A sense of abandonment in the ride through life and connection with family, even if you don’t have a family. Trust that someone will become your family and take care of you.
It seems that FAMILY is a huge and important part of both of these actor’s lives and The Jungle Book.
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