Update: Paul Giamatti has joined the cast of Dwayne Johnson's Jungle Cruise. Giamatti previously appeared as a seismologist in the action thriller San Andreas (above), which starred Johnson. This time, Giamatti will play a "crusty harbormaster," according to THR.
(Read our previous post below, published on April 19, 2018, for much more about the movie.)
As it steams toward the start of production next month, Disney's Jungle Cruise is picking up passengers. To be more accurate … villains!
Jesse Plemons is the latest addition to the cast, according to Variety. He will portray one of the film's villains. News on the adventure movie has been flying fast and furious lately, so let's sum up what we know so far.
Is this really based on the Disney Parks attraction?
Yes. The attraction can be found at most Disney Parks, simulating a calm riverboat cruise that allows guests to enjoy seeing a variety of Audio-Animatronic jungle animals on the trip. The African Queen, the classic 1951 adventure starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, served as an inspiration for the attraction, which was on the opening day attraction at Disneyland in 1955. Narration accompanying the trip gradually became more humorous as the years passed.
Who is starring in the movie?
Dwayne Johnson (Rampage, top) and Emily Blunt. Johnson was first mentioned to star in August 2015, which was finally confirmed in April 2017. Blunt came on board in January 2018. More recently, we learned that Johnson will portray a boat captain who takes a woman (Blunt) and her brother (Jack Whitehall) "on a mission to find a tree believed to possess healing powers." Meanwhile, a competing German expedition seeks the same treasure.
Who are the villains?
Just yesterday, we heard that Edgar Ramirez, who costarred with Blunt in The Girl on the Train, will play a man "with a conquistador background" who will be one of the villains.
As noted above, Jesse Plemons, who played a deceptively deadly villain on TV's Breaking Bad, will also be featured in a villainous role.
Who is directing?
Jaume Collet-Serra. He's helmed a series of thrillers starring Liam Neeson (Unknown, Non-Stop, Run All Night and The Commuter), as well as the wildly entertaining Orphan and The Shallows. He also directed two episodes of the fantasy-adventure TV series The River, which may or may not have anything to do with Jungle Cruise.
What else do we know about Jungle Cruise?
The film has been long in development. When Johnson boarded the project, it was announced that John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (Focus) would be writing a screenplay, based upon a new idea to draw upon the ride's original inspirations (including The African Queen, which was set during the beginning of World War I). A few months after that, Johnson said the film would be set a bit later, in the 1920s, adding: "Our goal is to push the envelope in a smart, edgy, epically fun way."
Since then, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay wrote a draft of the script, which was most recently rewritten by Michael Green (Logan). Disney hopes that Jungle Cruise will be a franchise-starter.
When will it steam into theaters?
Jungle Cruise does not yet have an official release date. We're not expecting it until the second half of 2019 or sometime in 2020.