The Shallows director Jaume Collet-Serra has officially stepped into the big leagues. He was said to be the top choice for Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad 2, which is going to be a very high-profile project, but that isn't what he is going to be doing. Instead, he has decided to tackle Disney's Jungle Cruise movie, which is going to star Dwayne Johnson in the lead role. As far as movie stars go, The Rock is about as big as they come and Disney is easily the most prolific studio in Hollywood. So The Jungle Cruise, even though it isn't a comic book movie, is about as big as it gets.
The news comes courtesy of Deadline, who are reporting that Jaume Collet-Serra ultimately decided to start a new franchise with The Jungle Cruise, as opposed to jumping into a franchise that is already established with Suicide Squad 2. Disney is hoping to start a new Indiana Jones style saga with The Jungle Cruise, which is going to be based on the Disney ride of the same name. This is going to be similar to what they did with Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean. And the plan is to shoot it in early 2018.
Shortly after Jungle Cruise was announced, Dwayne Johnson stated that he wanted Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins to direct. This was before Wonder Woman became an international phenomenon and one of the biggest movies of the year. Jenkins is moving onto Wonder Woman 2 next, having already planned out the story with DC's big boss Geoff Johns. While she hasn't been officially announced as the director just yet, the movie was confirmed for a 2019 release date during Comic-Con this past month.
Dwayne Johnson has a ton of movies on his schedule and this firms The Jungle Cruise up as one of the next movies that he will actually film. He is currently working on the action heavy Skyscraper and with Jaume Collet-Serra now hired for the Disney movie, it seems like this could get going pretty quickly. The movie has been described as dark and edgy by The Rock. Disney initially announced the project in 2015 so they are likely eager to finally get cameras rolling. The most recent draft of the script for The Jungle Cruise was written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, but some rewrites are likely to take place now that a director is locked in.
As for Suicide Squad 2, Warner Bros. is having a very tough time filling that director slot. David Ayer is not going to return and they have been searching for a director ever since the project was announced. Initially, Mel Gibson was approached but that didn't come to pass. Jaume Collet-Serra has been rumored to be the frontrunner for a while now and it seemed likely that he was going to sign on the dotted line. But given the critical lashing that Suicide Squad took and the problems that need to be worked around heading into the sequel appear to be unappealing for directors at this point, so Warner Bros. search continues.
Jaume Collet-Serra has been in line to direct a major tentpole movie for quite some time. In a sort of under-the-radar fashion, he has become a reliable bet at the box office. The Shallows grossed $119 million worldwide working from a budget of just $17 million. He also had a lot of success with Non-Stop, which made $222 million working from a $50 million budget. The Jungle Cruise is going to put him in a bigger arena with one of the world's biggest stars, but he has proven that he knows how to make a big movie. Now he just gets to make a huge one.