With everything that Walt Disney Studios had planned for 2020, it's unclear just how much people were waiting for Disney's Jungle Cruise movie compared to everything else. If, however, you happened to be a huge fan of both Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, you spend a large portion of your time wishing you were at Disneyland (unless you're spending that time actually at Disneyland), and you happen to have a birthday at the end of July, you were probably really looking forward to Jungle Cruise.
I was very excited for this movie is what I'm saying.
Unfortunately, after having the movie pushed back from its original October 2019 release date, the mass theater closure has resulted in the film being pushed back a second time, until July of 2021. This means we have more than another year before we get to see Dwayne Johnson visit "the back side of water." And Johnson is far from the only reason that Jungle Cruise looks like it be a huge movie, once we actually see it. Here's a look at all the big names that will be part of Disney's Jungle Cruise.
Of course, we sort of have to start with The Rock himself. Dwayne Johnson is one of the biggest movie stars on the planet and Disney is one of the biggest movie studios ever. And yet, we haven't seen these two combine forces since 2007's forgotten remake of Escape From Witch Mountain. Johnson is the male lead of Jungle Cruise, playing a hero named Frank who runs a slightly sketchy river tour operation until he's hired by a woman to take her down the Amazon for an entirely different purpose.
That woman will be played by Emily Blunt. She'll play Lily Houghton, a woman on a quest to find a mythical tree in the Amazon that can cure any ailment. We see in the trailers that she steals an arrowhead, which is apparently key to finding the tree, showing that she's quite capable on an adventure. She hires Frank's boat to take her down river on the search. Emily Blunt worked with Disney most recently on Mary Poppins Returns and will next be seen, we assume in A Quiet Place Part II.
Our trio of heroes will be completed by Jack Whitehall. He'll play the role of McGregor Houghton, the brother of Lily, who accompanies her on the voyage. Early reports have indicated that Whitehall's character will be gay, which would mark a milestone for a live-action Disney movie. Whitehall is a stand up comedian who has appeared in Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms as well as the Netflix travelogue series Travels with my Father.
Back in 2018 it was reported that Paul Giamatti was joining the Jungle Cruise in an undisclosed role. His name is still attached to the project in Disney's press releases, so we know he's in the movie, but that's about all we know. We haven't seen Giamatti appear in the trailers, so don't know how he fits into the story. It could be that Giamatti's part is a small cameo, or it could be that the Academy Award nominee plays a role in the film that is being kept under wraps because the studio doesn't want to reveal it yet.
Jesse Plemons may be one of those actors whose face you recognize even if you don't know his name, though viewers of Friday Night Lights or Breaking Bad certainly will. He looks to have a pretty prominent role in Jungle Cruise. Based on the trailers, he's one of the bad guys, if not the lead villain. He's the one from whom Emily Blunt steals the arrowhead, and he's also seen attacking Dwayne Johnson's boat from a submarine.
Edgar Ramierz has played everybody from Gianni Versace to the role of Bohdi in the remake of Point Break. He also worked opposite Emily Blunt previously in The Girl on the Train. Next year, he'll be seen playing one of the villains in Jungle Cruise. All we know about the character is that he has a conquistador background. In the trailers, we've seen some supernatural creatures that appear to be dressed like Spanish Conquistadors, so it would seem Ramirez's part will help bring in the more mystical aspects of the story. It would also seem that the mystery of this tree dates back centuries.
There's a lot we still don't know about Jungle Cruise, and with the movie now set to open in 2021, it will likely be awhile before we learn any of it. For some of us, this is going to be a long wait.