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ICG-The Jungle Book

Avatar meets Rudyard Kipling as Bill Pope, ASC, takes a romp through the high-tech jungle in the classic children’s tale

When cinematographer Bill Pope, ASC, first met with Jon Favreau to discuss the filmmaker’s latest project for Disney, a new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic, The Jungle Book, his reaction was (like the film that ultimately followed) well off the grid. “They explained the process, and I said I’m sorry but I’m not the right person for this job.  I’m a live action cinematographer and I don’t have the tools for working in a purely digital space.” In the strictest sense, Pope was right. Despite the cinematographer’s extensive credits shooting complex VFX projects like The Matrix franchise and Spider-Man 2 and 3, The Jungle Book was something entirely different. Nevertheless, by project’s end, Pope described the film as “the purest filmmaking experience I’ve ever had.” Favreau’s initial response wasn’t all that different from Pope’s.  “The last thing I wanted to do was be in the middle of the jungle filming with a child actor,” he recounts. “Short hours on location and conditions that don’t lend themselves to filming easily. When you bring a camera into the jungle, it looks beautiful to the naked eye, but on the screen, it just looks like salad.”


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