Indeed, the film was originally released on his first birthday. And now he has remade it using state-of-the-art photorealistic animation so detailed that it's as if he travelled to India to shoot it. Actually, the entire movie was filmed in a downtown Los Angeles soundstage. And Favreau used the technology to augment nature for dramatic effect. "If you look at panthers in the real world, they're actually quite small," he says. "What creating the world allows us to do is exaggerate proportions and scale. We're not forced into tying into a real tiger, as they were in Life of Pi where half the shots are real and half are fake."

Favreau at the premiere of Jungle Book

Instead, Favreau says his intention was to give the film "a dream like quality so you see the whole thing through a kid's eyes. If a panther is this big, make him as big as he was in the cartoon. Make him bigger, play with scale. And always keep it photo-real."

Aside from child actor Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli, the film is just as animated as anything from Pixar, and yet it's being called a live-action movie. Favreau believes this is because people think they're watching live-action, even though, "apart from Mowgli himself, almost nothing on-screen is real."

To find his Mowgli, Favreau saw thousands of young actors. "We wanted somebody who really embodied the spirit of the '67 animated film," he says. "And a kid with a sense of humour. A kid, most importantly, that you just love to watch. And Neel's personality just comes through. I knew, even though he didn't have a lot of experience, that he had a good chance of lighting up the screen."

Favreau never intended to put a new spin on the classic. "We spend our adult lives seeking out the food we ate, and the music we heard, and the movies we saw when we were younger," he explains. "When you access those memories, you get back to your deepest self. So we wanted to include enough music to satisfy people who grew up with the '67 film, but not make it a musical or betray the action tone."

On the other hand, he wanted to make the most of his cast. "When you have Bill Murray, you want him to do his thing," Favreau laughs.

Watch the trailer for Jungle Book: