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If there is one thing that has proved successful at the box office in 2018 (besides Black Panther, of course) it is the potent combination of Dwayne Johnson and a jungle-based adventure. The actor will be returning to a jungle setting for Disney's Jungle Cruise movie, based on the long-running theme park attraction. In addition to Dwayne Johnson, the film already boasts the talent of Mary Poppins Returns actress Emily Blunt. Now the film has has added another name to the crew of skippers, alligator wrestlers and swimming instructors, as British comedian Jack Whitehall has joined the cast.
Jack Whitehall will have a key role in the film as the brother of Emily Blunt's Lily Houghton, according to Variety. We don't know too much about plot of the film yet, but the film is expected to be set in the 1920s, with Dwayne Johnson's character being the captain of a riverboat. An earlier, unconfirmed report also speculated that the death of her brother is the impetus for the mission Emily Blunt's character undertakes. Should that prove true, Jack Whitehall's role will be small, but important.
For those unfamiliar with Jack Whitehall's work, the Brit is a stand-up comedian and television actor who has recently begun the transition into live action feature work. He has starred in The Bad Education Movie, based on his three-season TV show, as well as showed up in 2016's Mother's Day. He will also be seen in another Disney property later this year, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
The Jungle Cruise ride is one of Disney's most famous and tenured, and much like The Pirates of the Caribbean, the Mouse House is looking to turn Jungle Cruise into a lucrative franchise. The ride itself takes guests down the world's most famous rivers to encounter all manner of dangerous and majestic wildlife, guided by a skipper who tells the most cringeworthy, corny, pun-filled dad jokes one could ever hope to hear. Adding Jack Whitehall shows that Disney will probably be leaning into the comedy for this film, likely striking an action-adventure/comedy balance similar to what drove Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to such success.
The Shallows helmer Jaume Collet-Serra is directing the Jungle Cruise movie, and Michael Green, who was nominated at this year's Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Logan, penned the most recent draft of the script. Both Collet-Serra and Green are known for their serious, more adult work, so it will be interesting to see how they tackle this light-hearted Disney adventure. The film has been compared to both Indiana Jones and the first Pirates of the Caribbean film. Based on the success of those two franchises, if Jungle Cruise even comes close to matching those adventure classics, Disney may have a huge win on its hands.
A release date has not yet been set for Jungle Cruise. For all the latest in Disney's ride to film adaptations and why The Enchanted Tiki Room should get the feature film treatment next, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.