With Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall already set to star in Disney's Jungle Cruise, the production has now added one of its main villains. Edgar Ramirez has signed on to play a bad guy with a "conquistador background." While it remains to be seen how that heritage will play into the story, the plot is said to take place in the early 20th Century in the Amazon jungle.
The story follows Dwayne Johnson, a boat captain who is hired to take a sister (Emily Blunt) and brother (Jack Whitehall) on an expedition with supernatural elements thrown in. The story also features a competing German expedition, with both parties battling wild animals along the way. Filming is slated to begin sometime in May, with shooting expected to last throughout the summer months.
Disney hasn't set a release date for Jungle Cruise at this time, but with filming starting this summer, it seems likely that the movie could be eyeing a summer 2019 debut. Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows) is directing from a script by Michael Green, who is coming off a big year in 2017 where he received an Oscar nomination for Logan, and he also wrote Blade Runner 2049 and Murder on the Orient Express. Beau Flynn, John Davis and John Fox are producing alongside Dwayne Johnson and his Seven Bucks Productions partners Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia. Scott Sheldon is co-producing.
This adventure will be loosely based on the Disney ride located in several Disney resorts including Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland. The ride has guests board replica steamer ships from the 1930s as they are taken on a tour of several major rivers in Asia, Africa and South America. The attraction debuted in July 1955 with the opening of the Disneyland resort, with the ride said to be inspired by the 1951 classic film The African Queen. When discussing this project on social media, Dwayne Johnson himself has compared this movie to The African Queen, which starred Humphrey Bogart as a riverboat captain who takes a missionary (Katharine Hepburn) on a journey to attack an enemy warship in World War I.
This project serves as a reunion for Edgar Ramirez and Emily Blunt, who previously worked together on the 2016 thriller adaptation The Girl On the Train. Ramriez also starred on the big screen recently in Gold and Bright, and he recently played the title character in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, the latest installment of FX's crime anthology American Crime Story. He also starred in the indie drama Furlough earlier this year, alongside Tessa Thompson, Anna Paquin and Whoopi Goldberg, and he will next be seen in the upcoming feature The Quietude alongside Berenice Bejo. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on this casting earlier today, and with production starting next month, we should have more casting updates in the very near future.