Is there any Hollywood superstar who’s busier than Dwayne Johnson right now? “The Rock” is filming the buddy action/comedy Central Intelligence (which costars Kevin Hart) and lending his voice to the Disney Animation title Moana, for release in 2016; he’ll be reprising his role as Agent Hobbs when Fast & Furious 8 begins production in the first half of 2016; and somewhere in between all that, Johnson is going to work on season two of his HBO sports drama/comedy TV series, Ballers.
On top of all that, Johnson is currently attached to a number of projects that could enter production as soon as 2016, once he’s done making and/or promoting the aforementioned films and television show. Today, we can add yet another film to The Rock’s to-do list for the immediate future.
THR has the news that Johnson is attached to headline Jungle Cruise, a live-action film adaptation of the Disney theme park attraction of the same name. The project will get a fresh script draft from John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (Focus); the pair are not currently set to helm Jungle Cruise, though they’ve generally directed their own scripts (increasingly so in recent years). Johnson expressed his excitement about continuing his working relationship with Disney, in the following statement:
“[Disney production president] Sean Bailey and Disney have been awesome partners and now the fun part begins … We’re starting to put in the work with Requa and Ficarra and our creative team. Fired up about this one. Here we go.”
Jungle Cruise the ride, which debuted as an attraction in the Adventureland portion of Disneyland in 1955, takes park visitors on a old-fashioned (read: early 20th Century) riverboat cruise around several major rivers of the Asia, South America, and Africa continents, resulting in numerous close encounters with a variety of animals and local native tribes. Back in 2011, Walt Disney Pictures announced plans to make a Jungle Cruise movie headlined by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen; however, that version of the film was eventually abandoned, as evidenced by today’s announcement.
Ficarra and Requa tend to work in various comedy sub-genres (see: I Love You Phillip Morris, Crazy, Stupid, Love), though with Focus the pair started to branch out into additional genres – in that case, the crime/caper and heist territory. A Jungle Cruise movie written (and potentially directed) by the duo would presumably continue to move them in that direction, with a tonal blend of energetic adventure and crowd-pleasing humor – much like Disney’s sole hit theme park attraction movie franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Johnson’s lucrative 2012 family feature film, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
There will certainly be a crowd interested (and willing) to turn out for a Rock-led Jungle Cruise movie of that nature but again, it might be a ways off still. It was recently reported that Johnson is gearing up to start filming the Baywatch movie (pairing him opposite Zac Efron) as soon as February 2016, followed by Fast & Furious 8; then, in Summer 2016, Johnson is lined up to reunite with his Journey 2 and San Andreas director Brad Peyton on the Rampage video game movie. So Jungle Cruise won’t start filming until sometime after that.
For now, though, it sounds like Jungle Cruise may be the next Disney ride-based film to come to fruition, beating out the much slow-developing projects Disney has in the pipeline (like Guillermo del Toro’s Haunted Mansion). With a charismatic leading man in Johnson onboard and intriguing choice of screenwriters involved, this could prove to be a worthwhile expansion of an established Disney brand, on top of another fun cinematic romp with The Rock.
We’ll bring you more information on Jungle Cruise as it becomes available.