For better or worse, Disney’s live action version of The Jungle Book is coming together. On the bright side, Lupita Nyong’o and Scarlett Johansson are both in negotiations to lend their voices to the film.
If all goes according to plan, Nyong’o will voice Rakcha, the she-wolf who raises the man cub, Mowgli, as her own, and Johansson will voice the snake, Kaa. Though the internet’s sentiment towards Disney’s latest live-action adaptation has been … mixed, the inclusion of Rakcha from Rudyard Kipling’s stories and the gender-swap of Kaa bodes well for the film, at least in my opinion. It suggests that this version of The Jungle Book won’t be as indentured to its animated counterpart as other live-action adaptations of Disney’s work (looking at you, Once Upon A Time).
It’s also nice to see that the animal voice cast is turning out to be so diverse. Granted, no Indian actors have been cast yet in this movie that takes place in, well, India but I don’t take much issue with the the animal’s voices. Far more hangs upon the casting of Mowgli. According to rumor, Disney is looking for a mixed-race actor to play the Indian protagonist. Is this true? It better not be.
We shall see.