The ride-inspired movie will finally start production in May.
Disney’s Jungle Cruise will mosey down the river with Emily Blunt in tow. According to Variety, she just signed a deal to join Dwayne Johnson in the film, which is based on the Disney ride where guests are taken on a boat tour of rivers from around the world, with animatronic animals at every turn.
This will be Blunt’s third appearance in a Disney film. Her previous credits include the musical Into the Woods and the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns. Meanwhile, Johnson is in his fourth stint with the House of Mouse after appearing in The Game Plan, Race to Witch Mountain, and Moana.
The current premise for Jungle Cruise is taking inspiration from the classic The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. In that film, the unlikely pair travel treacherous waters in the hopes of survival out of Africa during World War I. They form a bond throughout their time on the boat that blossoms into love. Disney is hoping for similar chemistry between Johnson and Blunt, but probably without the leeches crawling all over their bodies.
Jungle Cruise has been in-development for a long time. Johnson has been attached to the project since 2015, but the script went through several drafts to get to where it is today. With Johnson and Blunt and director Jaume Collet-Serra (The Commuter) ready to go now for a May production start, this could turn into another huge franchise for Disney.
The studio is no stranger to adapting rides into massive franchises. Other films that have come from Disney theme park attractions include Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Tomorrowland.