Scarlett Johansson and Lupita Nyong’o may join the cast of Disney’s newest adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Nyong’o is in final negotiations (so basically, it’s all done but the paperwork) to play (or at the very least voice) the role of Rakcha the Demon, a fiercely protective wolf who adopts the human child Mowgli against the edict of Shere Khan, nursing him alongside her own cubs. Rakcha doesn’t have an enormous role in the book or the Disney animated movie, but this is a new adaptation, so anything could go. It goes without saying that with Nyong’o, fresh off her Oscar Award winning performance that was also her debut role in mainstream cinema, Disney’s got someone who could handle a larger part.
Johansson is in an earlier stage of negotiations, says, THR, so her involvement in the final film is more up in the air. However, it is known that she’s being discussed for the role of Kaa, a helpful if intimidating figure in the books. In the animated adaptation, Kaa was transformed into more of a second tier villain/comic relief.
Johansson and Nyong’o would join Idris Elba in the John Favreau-directed adaptation, who has already been cast as the man-eating tiger Shere Khan. The film, a Disney production, is being planned as a mix of live action and CGI footage. It should not be confused with the other Jungle Book adaptation making its way through Hollywood these days, from Warner Bros. and Andy Serkis.
(via The Hollywood Reporter.)