The Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom star is in final negotiations for the Jon Favreau-directed reboot of the 1967 animated classic, based on Rudyard Kipling’s novel.
Justin Marks is writing the script, which centres on the story of Mowgli the ‘man cub’, a young boy raised by wild animals in the Indian jungle.
Rob Legato, the man behind Avatar’s special effects, will also be workinon The Jungle Book, according to industry insider Deadline.
Most of the animals will be computer-generated, but Disney is reportedly searching for a mixed race actor to play Mowgli. A tiger with a taste for humans, Shere Khan relentlessly stalks Mowgli with a view to kill him.
Favreau, who directed Iron Man, is also attached to Disney’s upcoming Magic Kingdom, which is set at the Californian theme park Disneyland.
Other live-action remakes from Disney have included Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie as the villain from Sleeping Beauty, and Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella.
Disney has competition as far as The Jungle Book is concerned, hence the need to move fast. Warner Bros are busy working on a rival version, but the studio is still looking for a director after Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu dropped out.
Ron Howard is being rumoured as a possible replacement to bring Callie Kloves’ script to life. Both studios are able to produce the film because Kipling’s book is in the public domain.