Growing up and still to this day, I have a holy trinity of Disney rides which feature, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jungle Cruise. My attachment to them is for all different reasons, but in the case of Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean, these were rides that I would enjoy experiencing with my father, who has since passed on. To now see this beloved ride come to life in a film adaptation brings joy to my heart and reminds me of all the good times I’ve spent on that ride.
In Disney’s live-action film, JUNGLE CRUISE, intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s (Dwayne Johnson) questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila – his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities – possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank, and their fate—and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.
Recently Nightmarish Conjurings attended the global press conference for JUNGLE CRUISE which featured Dwayne Johnson (“Frank Wolff”), Emily Blunt (“Lily Houghton”), Jack Whitehall (“MacGregor Houghton”) and Edgar Ramirez (“Aguirre”). During the press conference, the cast chatted about their favorite puns, the chemistry between Frank and Lily, and more.
From the moment the adventurous Lily meets the wisecracking Frank, it’s clear that there’s a connection between the two. Sure, it would be easy to say that it’s all acting, but there was something about the two on-screen that felt so real. The reason for this is the genuine chemistry between the two co-stars. Speaking on that instant connection, Emily stated, “We were pals for life immediately. I knew when we met, we had this rapport that ping-ponged back and forth so quickly. And I just thought, we’re gonna have a good time. I knew it.”
Dwayne Johnson had similar sentiments when it came to working with co-star, “It’s very true. It’s very true. You hope to get lucky with your cast and you like to try to have some chemistry. Emily and I have been talking a lot about chemistry these past couple of weeks doing press and a lot of time you fake it, ’cause you’re acting [but the chemistry with Blunt was there].”
When Johnson, who is also an executive producer on the film, received the script he immediately signed on to the film and though it took some convincing from him to get Blunt on board, it ended up working out perfectly.
“The script was in a really good place and I immediately saw the potential of the opportunity,” explained the actor. And that opportunity was to take a beloved and iconic Disney ride [and turn it into a movie]. There were a lot of elements that I felt comfortable with saying yes, I will come on board, I’ll partner with you guys, and we will develop this thing. And we got it to a really great place. To bring it back around to Emily, the next step after getting Director Jaume Collet-Serra on board was finding my co-star, the female Indiana Jones over here. She hates when I say that.” Laughter abounded through the screens.
Just like the ride, JUNGLE CRUISE features a lot of lighthearted, humorous moments. Those who are a fan of the ride will be happy to know that the film features the 8th Wonder of the World (the BACKSIDE OF WATER!!) as well as the never-ending use of corny puns. The puns have become a staple of the ride and there was no shortage of them in this film. As the press conference came to the end, the cast gave us a send-off that featured their favorite pun and/or dad joke.
Jack Whitehall, who plays MacGregor Houghton, the brother of Lily, stated, “My favorite one from the movie is when [Dwayne] says, ‘I was seeing a cross-eyed girl, but it didn’t work. We couldn’t see eye to eye and I’m pretty sure she was seeing someone on the side.” As for Edgar Ramirez, he proudly exclaimed, “I was waiting for housekeeping to come and help me with something and they took forever, so basically what I called it was house-skipping.” And to bring it all home was Johnson who ended with, “Did you hear about the chameleon who couldn’t change colors? He suffered from reptile dysfunction.”
And there you have it! JUNGLE CRUISE is the summertime blockbuster you’ve been waiting for – action, adventure, elements of horror, bad puns, it has it all! For more on JUNGLE CRUISE check out our review here. JUNGLE CRUISE is now in theaters and is available on Disney+ with premier access.