When Disney announced that Toy Story 3 wouldn't be the last time we'd see Woody and Buzz together, the idea that their human counterparts Tom Hanks and Tim Allen would be appearing together in a Jungle Cruise movie probably wasn't what the company heads had in mind. Then again, the Mouse House works in mysterious ways.
Fast forward to the present and multiple-Oscar winner Hanks and his comedic costar Allen have signed on the dotted line to headline a cinematic version of the classic Disney theme park safari expedition ride.
Here's an official statement on the matter:
The Walt Disney Studios is excited to be in development with Mandeville Films and writer Roger S.H. Schulman on a feature film based on the Jungle Cruise, one of the most iconic attractions in Disney theme park history. The film will pair up Tim Allen and Tom Hanks in their first live-action project, after their previous collaborations in the Toy Story trilogy.
Schulman penned the screenplay for the original Shrek and has a history with Disney. He worked on the scripts for several of the company's direct-to-DVD sequels, including the followups to The Jungle Book, Mulan, Bambi and The Fox & the Hound. Hey, everybody's got to make a living somehow, right?
Jungle Cruise is just the latest Disney theme park attraction to be given a celluloid makeover. It joins the ranks of the abandoned Museum of the Weird and even the upcoming Jon Favreau-directed Magic Kingdom as prospective first entries in new ride-turned-movie franchises that hope to replicate the success of Pirates of the Caribbean. There's also a Haunted Mansion pic in development, but it's technically a reboot of the 2003 Eddie Murphy movie.
Timur Bekmambetov was reportedly circling the Jungle Cruise movie back in the day, but he'll be busy with directorial duties on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and producing this year's Apollo 18 and The Darkest Hour for a big chunk of the year. With Jon Favreau helming Magic Kingdom and Guillermo del Toro working behind the scenes on the Haunted Mansion flick, Disney will likely seek another high-profile name to direct Hanks and Allen in Jungle Cruise as well.
That does raise the question - what exactly does the company have in mind with its Jungle Cruise movie? Between the casting of Hanks and Allen (neither of whom is known for being an action star - and no, The Da Vinci Code/Angels & Demons don't count), and hiring Schulman to script the film, it seems like Disney is probably planning out more of a light-hearted, comedic adventure and less the sort of visceral thrill ride (no pun intended) that a filmmaker like Bekmambetov would have delivered, had he signed on.
In some ways it'd be more appropriate for Jungle Cruise to be more flat-out comical than the Pirates films, seeing as that the Adventureland attraction was always the sillier of the pair - even back when the African creature animatronics on the ride were considered cutting-edge in design. A serious jungle adventure movie could be cool, but then again, those too can devolve into unintentional comedies (see Congo - trust me, it's actually quite entertaining).
We'll keep you posted on the development of Jungle Cruise as more information is released.
Soure: Walt Disney Pictures (via Coming Soon)