Director Jon Favreau continues to firm up the cast for his live-action/CG hybrid take on The Jungle Book. We learned last month that Idris Elba will provide the voice of Shere Khan in the Disney adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic, and now Heat Vision reports that Scarlett Johansson and Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o are in negotiations to join the pic as well. Hit the jump for more on the nature of their roles.
Johansson and Nyong’o should make for excellent additions to the Jungle Book cast, though it appears that the two will only appear in voice form. Heat Vision reports that Johansson is in early talks to voice Kaa, the python that lures its prey through hypnotization (spot on casting there, Favreau), while Nyong’o is in final negotiations to play Rakcha, the mother wolf who adopts Mowgli. It’s unclear if Favreau will be using performance capture technology to portray the animals or if his actors will simply be working in a voice booth, but we do know that Warner Bros.’ competing live-action Jungle Book will make heavy use of motion-capture technology with Andy Serkis directing.
This is the first project that Nyong’o has committed to since winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in February for her devastating performance in 12 Years a Slave, though we do know she’s met with J.J. Abrams about a possible role in Star Wars: Episode VII. As for Johansson, she’s currently filming the Marvel sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Should her deal make, this would mark the third collaboration between Johansson and Favreau, as she originated the role of Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and appears in Favreau’s latest effort, Chef. That film is a return to Favreau’s indie roots as it revolves around a man who starts up a food truck with his family, but The Jungle Book will see the Elf and Cowboys & Aliens filmmaker returning to the world of tentpole filmmaking. Production should begin soon, as The Jungle Book opens in theaters on October 29, 2015.