Just like Pirates of the Caribbean before it, Disney’s Jungle Cruise is inspired by a theme park attraction, and it’s hoping to transfer those same thrills and spills to the big screen.
Emily Blunt plays a scientist who ventures into the jungle to find a tree with healing powers, accompanied by her reluctant brother (Jack Whitehall), while Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a riverboat captain named Frank, who the siblings convince to help them on their mission.
The film – originally intended for release in 2020 – has since been pushed back by an entire calendar year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the wait is nearly over.
Here’s everything you need to know about Disney’s Jungle Cruise.
When is Jungle Cruise released in cinemas?
Jungle Cruise will be released in UK and US cinemas on 30th July 2021. The film was originally due for release almost exactly a year earlier, but was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The film will also be available from your sofa via Disney Plus Premier Access on the same day, as announced by Johnson on Instagram.
In an earlier Instagram post about Disney’s decision to push back the film until 2021, Johnson said: “I feel great and bullish about this date as it gives us time for Disney to be fully operational in all their businesses – theme parks, hotels, cruise ships, but more importantly, it gives the world time to bounce back to living confidently, productively and joyously once again.”
The fact that he specifically mentions Disney’s theme parks and cruise ships suggests that these attractions (closed due the the pandemic) will be key to the film’s marketing strategy. This is explains why the film’s delay wasn’t shorter, as was the case with other Disney films like Mulan (which eventually ditched plans for a theatrical release and instead debuted via Disney+).
Is there a Jungle Cruise trailer?
Yep! A teaser trailer was released on 11th October.
Disney revealed a second look at the family adventure in March 2020…
We previously had the teaser below, which doesn’t feature much in terms of plot, but does see Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt joking about while teasing an adventure “love story”, with references to the classic film The African Queen (does “The Rock” fancy himself as the new Humphrey Bogart…?).
There’s also a little wrap video, again featuring the pair of them…
Who is in the Jungle Cruise cast?
Emily Blunt stars as Lily Houghton, a scientist searching for a tree that promises miraculous restorative properties. Comedian Jack Whitehall, who starred in Bad Education and played JP in Fresh Meat, portrays Lily’s openly gay brother, McGregor Houghton.
Meanwhile Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Frank, a riverboat captain who guides the pair of siblings through the dangerous jungle — all the while competing with a rival German expedition. Édgar Ramírez (American Crime Story) also joins the cast as an unnamed villain, with Jesse Plemons and Paul Giamatti also in the cast.
What was the controversy about Jack Whitehall’s casting?
Following the announcement of Jack Whitehall’s casting, there was a social media backlash, with arguments that a heterosexual actor shouldn’t have been cast as one of Disney’s first openly gay characters.
“If Scarlett Johansson wasn’t allowed to play a trans man [in Rub & Tug] then Jack Whitehall shouldn’t be allowed to play a gay man. Especially so when you consider there are absolute hundreds of out gay men in Hollywood who are better actors than him,” journalist Sophie Wilkinson posted on Twitter.
If Scarlett Johansson wasn’t allowed to play a trans man then Jack Whitehall shouldn’t be allowed to play a gay man. Especially so when you consider there are absolute hundreds of out gay men in Hollywood who are better actors than him
— Sophie Wilkinson (@sophwilkinson) August 13, 2018
However, others argued that there are plenty of gay actors who play straight roles, and that the whole point of acting is that it’s transformative.
Shock as actor is asked to play someone different from themselves. Isn’t that kind of the point? Wouldn’t always casting gay actors in gay roles be condemned for typecasting? https://t.co/tfni2m3B1P— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) August 13, 2018
Whitehall has yet to respond to the comments.
Where was Jungle Cruise filmed?
Shooting took place between May and September 2018 in Kauai, Hawaii, and Atlanta, Georgia with Johnson posting frequently on his social media accounts during production.
Take a look at the epic set here:
Jungle Cruise is released in UK and US cinemas on 30th July 2021 – find something to watch tonight with our TV Guide