Jungle Cruise: Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt on Chemistry and Challenges

Photo by Disney/Frank Masi.

Jungle Cruise is an iconic Disneyland ride, and it is finally being turned into a live-action adventure film starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. The film will take audiences into the Amazon River, and it will be filled with puns, supernatural foes, and loads of adventure and humor. The magical thing that brings the movie together is the chemistry between the two main actors, and during the virtual press conference, Blunt and Johnson talked about how they instantly got along for the film.

“We were pals for life immediately,” Blunt said of Johnson. “I knew when we met, we had this rapport that, like, ping pong back and forth so quickly. And I just thought we’re gonna have a good time. I knew it.”

“It’s very true,” Johnson added. “It’s very true. I feel like I should talk to everybody, but you hope to get lucky with your cast, and you try to have some chemistry. Emily and I have been talking a lot about chemistry these past couple of weeks doing press, and at times, you fake it, you know, ’cause you’re acting, but…”

“He’s been faking it for years,” Blunt interjected and laughed.

“I have been faking,” Johnson continued. “I will continue to fake it too. [LAUGH] Big faker. Especially with us. I got… never mind.”

“Never mind,” Blunt concluded.

This is an example of the fun banter the two actors have with each other, and it’s no surprise that we’ll see that ooze on the small or big screen.

Johnson was hooked on the project early on thanks to the script and the potential it had.

“Well, the script was in a really good place, and I immediately just saw the potential of the opportunity,” Johnson said. “And that opportunity was to take a beloved and iconic Disney ride, since 1955 when the park opened. This was Walt Disney’s baby, and there were a lot of elements that I felt comfortable with saying, ‘Yes, I will come on board, I’ll partner with you guys, and we will develop this thing.’ And we got it to a really great place. And, again, to bring it back around to Emily, the next step after Jaume, finding our director, was finding my co-star. The female Indiana Jones over here.”

The film has all types of crazy and epic stunts, and the actors shared which moments were the most challenging for them.

“The vine swing,” Blunt said, replying to a question about challenging stunts. “For me, it was the most challenging because [Johnson] would not let me get one straight take in. He pushed it so far every time to try and make me laugh on that vine swing. We shot that all day. We didn’t get one straight one.”

“But every time, I was like, ‘Just tell me what you’re gonna say this time, just so I can be prepared. And…'” she continued.

“I wouldn’t tell her,” Johnson added.

“Every time he’d throw in some awful improv that would make me laugh, and so…” Blunt said. “I don’t know how many times we must have shot that.”

Credit: Disney

One of the villains in Jungle Cruise is Aguirre, modeled after the Spanish conquistador known as “El Loco.” Playing the madman is Edgar Ramirez, and the actor talks about his supernatural look, which can be seen briefly in the film’s trailers.

“I was very happy that those snakes weren’t anywhere near me during the shoot,” Ramirez said. “I mean, ’cause I’m super-afraid of snakes, and we encountered some of them when we’re shooting in Atlanta. We shot in real locations and we dressed them to look like the Amazon. It’s incredible. I come from an Amazonian country, and I saw the movie for the first time two days ago at the premiere.”

About Jungle Cruise

Inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” is an adventure-filled, rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila—his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities—possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate—and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.

The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from the screenplay by Michale Green and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa and story by John Norville & Josh Goldstein and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa. It also stars Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons and Paul Giamatti.

Jungle Cruise hits theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on July 30, 2021.

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