The Disney theme park attraction Jungle Cruise will head to the big screen, most likely next year, with production slated to begin at some point this spring. Dwayne Johnson has long been attached to star, with Emily Blunt coming aboard last month, and now the first character details have surfaced for both of their roles. When Emily Blunt joined the cast, The Rock compared the movie to the 1951 classic The African Queen, and while these new plot details have yet to be confirmed, they do sound reminiscent of The African Queen, but with a supernatural twist.
If this new report is true, Dwayne Johnson is playing “Frank (Francisco),” described as “a witty riverboat captain cursed with immortality,” who takes Emily Blunt’s character, Lily Houghton, down the river. Lily is described as a “spunky scientist in search of the Tree of Life.” Her quest for this mythical tree is, “inspired in part by the death of her brother, which was caused by an infectious disease.” The original Jungle Cruise attraction was a simple riverboat tour with no underlying story, so it’s not too surprising that a supernatural twist was added to this movie adaptation.
As for “The Tree of Life,” there has been no confirmation if this has any connection to the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, but this tree is said to have mystical “curative powers.” While there aren’t exactly any supernatural or mystical elements in The African Queen, that classic film did follow a riverboat captain named Charlie (Humphrey Bogart) who is persuaded to go on a mission by a missionary named Rose (Katharine Hepburn), to attack a German warship, to help with the British war effort in World War I, and to avenge the death of her brother, who was killed by German soldiers. Both Charlie and Rose were completely opposite characters, and it seems that The Rock and Emily Blunt will have a similar dynamic.
Jaume Collet-Serra (The Commuter) is directing from a script by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Focus, Bad Santa). Dwayne Johnson’s producing partners Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia are producing through their Seven Bucks production company, along with John Davis and John Fox. Disney hasn’t set a release date at this time, but with production slated to begin this spring, it’s possible this could be ready for release in either the spring or summer of 2019, although no date has been confirmed yet.
Other notable 2019 releases for Disney are Captain Marvel (March 8, 2019), Dumbo (March 29, 2019), Avengers 4 (May 3, 2019), Aladdin (May 24, 2019), Toy Story 4 (June 21, 2019), The Lion King (July 19, 2019), Artemis Fowl (August 8, 2019), Nicole (November 8, 2019), Frozen 2 (November 27, 2019) and Star Wars 9 (December 20, 2019). While there are a few gaps that could be filled in next year’s blockbuster schedule for Disney, we’ll have to wait and see if one of those slots is filled with Jungle Cruise. That Hashtag Show broke the news of these character details for Jungle Cruise earlier today.