Two of Hollywood’s hottest actresses, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and Marvel heroine Scarlett Johansson, could be uniting for Disney’s upcoming live-action and CGI hybrid adaptation of “The Jungle Book,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Nyong’o is in final negotiations to voice Raksha, a mother wolf who adopts the human orphan Mowgli, while Johansson is in earlier stages of talks to play the mesmerizing python Kaa, a secondary villain, the Reporter says.
Jon Favreau, who worked with Johansson on “Iron Man 2" and the upcoming culinary comedy “Chef,” is directing “The Jungle Book.” It’s based on the Rudyard Kipling story collection and tells the tale of a boy raised in the jungle by wild animals. (Disney previously adapted the book as an animated movie in 1967.)
Justin Marks wrote the script, and Idris Elba is set to play the primary villain, the man-eating tiger Shere Khan. The movie is scheduled for release Oct. 29, 2015.
If Nyong’o does end up taking the role, it would be her first since winning the Oscar for best supporting actress for her performance as the tortured field worker Patsey in the historical drama “12 Years a Slave.” (She also had a supporting role in the Liam Neeson airplane thriller “Non-Stop,” which opened a few days before the ceremony.)
While she has been deliberate in choosing her next role, Nyong’o has been busy: She recently signed with Creative Artists Agency, became a brand ambassador for Lancome and was named People magazine’s “most beautiful” person.
Johansson is on a hot streak of her own, coming off the futuristic romance “Her,” the superhero blockbuster “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and the art-house drama “Under the Skin.” Her coming movies include “Chef,” “Lucy” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” (She has magazine bona fides too, being Esquire’s reigning “sexiest woman alive.”)
Disney isn’t the only studio working on an adaptation of “The Jungle Book,” which was published in 1894 and is now in the public domain. Warner Bros. is developing its own version with Andy Serkis at the helm.
The law of the jungle, after all, applies just as well to Hollywood.