Dwayne Johnson has confirmed the start date for Disney’s Jungle Cruise movie. The original Jungle Cruise ride is part of Adventureland at Disney’s theme parks and loosely borrows from the kind of globe-trotting Hollywood adventures that gave rise to Indiana Jones (itself the basis for an Adventureland ride in Disneyland). Jungle Cruise’s visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison basically called the film “Dwayne Johnson’s Indiana Jones” when we interviewed him, further cementing the connection between that iconic property and Johnson’s vehicle.
Naturally, both Johnson and Mirrson have name-dropped Pirates of the Caribbean as another source of inspiration for the Jungle Cruise movie. The whimsical ride turned blockbuster series seems to have finally run out of gas after five movies, but it was the hot new thing in Hollywood when Gore Verbinski’s The Curse of the Black Pearl hit the scene in 2003. According to Johnson, Verbinski’s swashbuckling theme park ride based movie left a lasting impression on him, starting from the very first trailer.
The Rock posted a video to Instagram that shows him about to sign what he says is “the biggest contract of my career” for Jungle Cruise. During the video, Johnson announces that Jungle Cruise begins shooting in Hawaii next week on Monday, May 21 and reveals that he’s dreamed of starring in a movie based on an “iconic” Disney ride ever since he saw The Curse of the Black Pearl trailer (and, presumably, the actual movie). In typical fashion, the actor then ends his social media update on a funny, self-effacing note.
Jungle Cruise the movie takes place in the early 20th century and follows riverboat captain Frank (Johnson) as he takes a scientist (Emily Blunt) and her brother (Jack Whitehall) on a journey to find a mystical tree in South America. Edgar Ramírez and Jesse Plemons costar as a pair of villains who, naturally, want the film’s magical MacGuffin for themselves and compete with Frank in the race to find the tree first. Rounding out the ensemble is Paul Giamatti as a harbormaster who, while not necessarily a bad guy, is decidedly “crusty”.
Pretty much everything Johnson turns to box office gold nowadays and save for Indiana Jones 5 (which isn’t arriving until 2020), there aren’t any other studio tentpoles competing for the same niche as Jungle Cruise. The film is being directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who is similar to Verbinski in that his background in schlocky B-movies (Non-Stop, The Shallows) makes him an intriguing pick to adapt a Disney theme park ride for the big screen. Jungle Cruise may not become the box office behemoth that Pirates of the Caribbean was, but it has enough working in its favor to give Johnson and Disney the hit they’re hoping for.
We will let you know when Jungle Cruise gets an official release date.