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Disney’s Jungle Cruise release date: Cast, trailer and latest news for Dwayne Johnson action film

Emily Blunt, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jack Whitehall star in Disney's upcoming adventure romance.

Jungle Cruise

After a year-long delay, Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt are finally setting out on a boating adventure in Disney’s Jungle Cruise, inspired by the legendary theme park ride of the same name.

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As the world continues to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, the studio has elected to release the film simultaneously in cinemas and on streaming service Disney Plus via Premier Access.

For an additional fee, this feature allows users to watch brand new big screen blockbusters from the comfort of their home, with previous offerings including Mulan, Cruella and Black Widow.

Jungle Cruise follows the journey of steamboat captain Frank (Johnson) and eccentric scientist Lily (Blunt) as they navigate the perilous Amazon rainforest on a mission to find the mythical Tree of Life.

The film has bagged a “fresh” rating on aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, while RadioTimes.com‘s Sci-Fi and Fantasy editor Huw Fullerton described it as “slick, fun and genuinely entertaining” in our four-star Jungle Cruise review.

Here’s everything you need to know about Disney’s Jungle Cruise, including release date, cast, trailer and more.

Jungle Cruise release date

Jungle Cruise is out now both in UK cinemas and to watch at home via Disney Plus Premier Access, making it accessible even if you don’t feel comfortable returning to the multiplex just yet.

Similarly to Black Widow and Cruella, Premier Access requires a one-off payment of £19.99 on top of your subscription to Disney Plus. The film will then be yours to watch as much as you like as long as you remain subscribed to the streaming service.

However, bear in mind that Jungle Cruise will be available for free on Disney Plus eventually – with the film being added to the platform’s regular catalogue on Friday 12th November, around three and a half months after the original release.

The film was originally due for release last summer, but this was pushed back by almost exactly a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, before finally launching on Friday 30th July 2021.

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+).

Jungle Cruise trailer

Over a year on from the first trailer, we finally got a second full-length look in May 2021:

Disney revealed the first official trailer of the family adventure in March 2020…

A teaser trailer was first released on 11th October 2019.

We also had the teaser linked, 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…

Jungle Cruise cast

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt are clearly the big draws of Jungle Cruise, but a rather impressive cast will be joining them for a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon in a rather ramshackle steamboat:

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Frank Wolff

Disney

Who is Frank? Skipper Frank is a shrewd but noble captain of a private jungle cruise attraction. He reluctantly agrees to guide Lily and McGregor to the Tree of Life, eventually bonding with the two wannabe explorers as they encounter rival expeditions and supernatural forces.

Where have I seen The Rock before? You’ve likely seen The Rock in plenty of films – since leaving WWE he has become one of the most successful actors in the world, notably starring in the Jumanji franchise and several Fast and Furious films, including spin-off Hobbs & Shaw. The hard-working actor has also produced and starred in comedy-drama Ballers, voiced Maui in Moana and can be seen in the upcoming Black Adam.

Emily Blunt plays Lily Houghton

Disney

Who is Lily? Idealistic, brave and eccentric scientist Lily is in search of the Tree of Life flower, intending to study its unparalleled healing qualities that could change medicine forever. She enlists Frank’s help for safe passage through the Amazon, where the unlikely duo encounter far more than just jungle critters…

Where have I seen Emily Blunt before? After her breakthrough role in sharp comedy-drama The Devil Wears Prada, Bunt has gone from strength to strength with roles in period piece The Young Victoria, sci-fi actioner The Edge of Tomorrow and musical Into The Woods. Most recently she has appeared as the title character in Mary Poppins Returns, and was directed by husband John Krasinski in A Quiet Place Part II.

Jack Whitehall plays McGregor Houghton

Disney

Who is McGregor? McGregor is Lily’s openly gay brother and a reluctant assistant on her quest. Whitehall has said he based the character on his own father – Michael Whitehall – who he starred with on Backchat and Travels with my Father.

“My character is MacGregor, he is a sort of well-heeled, upper-class English gentleman who doesn’t really want to be there, looks down his nose a bit at the rustic accommodation, very well dressed, dry sense of humour,” he told the PA news agency. “He’s basically like my dad, that’s slightly who it was modelled on.”

Where have I seen Jack Whitehall before? Jack Whitehall began his career as a stand-up comedian, before branching out into acting with roles in Fresh Meat and his very own sitcom Bad Education. More recently Whitehall has hosted the Brit Awards as well as his Netflix show Travels with My Father, and continued acting in shows such as Good Omens.

Jesse Plemons plays Prince Joachim

Disney

Who is Prince Joachim? Joachim is an amoral and ambitious aristocrat, who uses his wealth to finance a rival military expedition to the Tree of Life. He is seen in the trailer piloting a submarine that fires a torpedo at Frank’s steamboat.

Where have I seen Jesse Plemons before? No stranger to playing a villain, Plemons is best known for playing creepy criminal Todd in Breaking Bad and film sequel El Camino. The actor first gained recognition for the role of Landry Clarke in Friday Night Lights, and has since starred in season two of the critically acclaimed anthology series Fargo as well as the USS Callister episode of Black Mirror.

Édgar Ramírez plays Aguirre

Edgar Ramirez

Who is Aguirre? Aguirre is a deadly mercenary hired by Prince Joachim to guide the rival expedition for the tree.

Where have I seen Édgar Ramírez before? Venezualan actor Édgar Ramírez’s breakthrough came from his award-winning turn in biopic series Carlos, leading to roles in films such as Zero Dark Thirty, Wrath of the Titans and Gold. He was again nominated for several awards for playing the title character in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and also recently appeared in miniseries The Undoing.

Paul Giamatti plays Nilo

Who is Nilo? Nilo is the easily irritated harbourmaster at the dock where Frank’s steamboat resides.

Where have I seen Paul Giamatti before? Paul Giamatti has been acting for over 20 years, first garnering attention for his role in Private Parts and winning acclaim for leading roles in American Splendor and Sideways. Often appearing as a dependable best friend or an unscrupulous businessman, Giamatti has also had supporting roles in Cinderella Man, San Andreas and Straight Outta Compton.

The American actor also won several awards for playing the titular character in HBO’s John Adams, and can currently be seen in financial drama Billions.

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.

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.

For his part, Whitehall has said that he didn’t know the character was gay when he first auditioned, but he said he was “proud” of the coming out scene.

“I think it was a really well-written scene, and one that we certainly thought about and talked about,” he told Variety, later adding, “I certainly felt at the time that I was proud of the work that we’d done.”

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 and on Disney Plus Premier Access on Friday 30th July. You can sign up to Disney+ for £7.99 a month or £79.90 a year now.

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