Casting Net: Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson in talks to star in 'The Jungle Book'; Plus, Zooey Deschanel, more

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Image Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP; John Shearer/Invision/AP

12 Years A Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and The Avengers‘s Scarlett Johansson are both in talks to lend their voices to Disney’s upcoming live-action/CG adaption of The Jungle Book. Nyong’o is currently in talks to play Rakcha, the mother wolf who adopts Mowgli, while Johansson is in early negotiations to lend her voice to the character of Kaa, a python who eats its victims by hypnotizing them. Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau is set to direct the film based on the classic novel by Rudyard Kipling which will also star Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘s Idris Elba as the voice of Shere Khan the tiger. [The Hollywood Reporter]

New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel and Like Crazy‘s Anton Yelchin are set to star opposite John Hawkes (Eastbound & Down) in the upcoming dark comedy, The Driftless Area. Directed and co-written by Zachary Sluser (Path Lights), the film focuses on a bartender (Yelchin) who moves back to his hometown after his parents die. There, he falls for a woman (Deschanel) and simultaneously finds himself pinned up against a crook (Hawkes). [Deadline]

Scott Speedman (Underworld) will star opposite Patricia Clarkson (The Maze Runner) in the upcoming drama, October Gale. Written and directed by Ruba Nadda (Inescapable), the romantic thriller tells the story of a mysterious man (Speedman) who washes up on the shore of Helen Matthew’s remote island cottage during a violent storm bleeding from a gunshot wound. Clarkson will play the recently widowed doctor who takes him in and attempts to treat him, only to find that the shooter who wounded him in the first place has come back to finish the job. [Deadline]

Like Crazy actress Felicity Jones is nearing a deal to star in Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona‘s upcoming film, A Monster Calls. Jones is currently in talks to play the character of Mum in the movie based on Patrick Ness’ children’s fantasy novel. The adaption tells the story of a boy who tries to deal with his mother’s illness and the bullying of classmates by escaping into a world of monsters and fairy tales. [Deadline]

Patrick Schwarzenegger (Grown Ups 2) is joining the cast of Christopher Landon‘s (Disturbia) upcoming comedy-horror film, Scouts vs. Zombies. Schwarzenegger will play a popular high school quarterback in the film about a troop of Boy Scouts who take on a pack of zombies. [Deadline]

Super 8‘s Ryan Lee will star opposite Jack Black (The Brink) in Sony’s upcoming book-to-film adaptation of Goosebumps. The film, loosely based on R.L. Stine’s children’s book series, follows the story of a boy named Zach (Prisoner‘s Dylan Minnette) who moves from New York City to a small town in Maryland where his illusive neighbor turns out to be author R.L. Stine (Black). When the demons within Stine’s mind are let loose by Slappy, a demonic ventriloquist dummy, it’s up to Zach and Stine’s niece Hannah (The Giver‘s Odeya Rush) to round up the evil monsters before it’s too late. [Variety]

Kevin Pollak (Usual Suspects), John de Lancie (Gamer) and Vinnie Jones (Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) will join Esmé Bianco (Game of Thrones), Dan Franzese (I Spit on Your Grave), Bill Brochtrup (NYPD Blue), and Jack Axelrod (J. Edgar) in AG Studio’s upcoming ensemble comedy, Mind Puppets. The film will serve as the directorial debut for Juan Curi and is set to go into production at the end of the month. [Variety]


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