Roughly a year and a half after Dwayne Johnson signed on to star in Disney’s Jungle Cruise, the studio has finally given the green light to the project. Production is now slated to begin in the spring of 2018, with the studio beginning its search for a director to take over the project. Dwayne Johnson will also produce through his Seven Bucks Productions company, alongside Dany Garcia. The actor-producer took to his Instagram page earlier today to confirm the news, with the following statement.
“This is a big one we’ve been working on. Very excited to roll up the sleeves and work on building out this huge property with our Disney partners. This #JungleCruise script was hand delivered to me personally (on the set of Ballers) by my good bud and Walt Disney’s President of Production, Sean Bailey. Read the script twice that weekend and LOVED IT! Thank God, the script didn’t suck because Sean drove over an to deliver it. What really got me excited when I was reading it, was the bigger story here is so much more than just the words on the page. It’s the massive opportunity to create and deliver this level of quality and FUN to families around the globe. The movie, the ride, the fantastical world, the experience. Myself and Dany Garcia are pumped up. This is the first step of many. Up next, we find our visionary director and we’ll have approximately 12 months of research, development, creativity and course the magic sauce… IMAGINATION. Shooting slated to start April 2018. As always, I’ll do my best to not screw this whole damn thing up. It’s the cruise of a lifetime.. and I’m your skipper. #JungleCruise #AllAboard #WhosGotMyBeer?”
Disney had previously been developing another version of a Jungle Cruise movie way back in 2006, when Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar were attached to write the script. Then in 2011 the studio brought on Toy Story stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, with Roger S.H. Shulman writing the script. That incarnation never took hold, but the project was revived when The Rock became attached to star in 2015. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who were recently brought on as part of the Kng Kong and Godzilla writers room, most recently worked on the Jungle Cruise script.
Jungle Cruise is one of Disneyland’s original attractions, which takes visitors through African rivers such as the Nile and Congo, where they encounter rhino and hippos, along with a section from South America’s Amazon River, where visitors can see piranhas. The earlier version which had Tom Hanks and Tim Allen attached to star was said to have a modern-day setting, but this new version will take the story back to the ride’s period roots. The story is said to be in the same vein as the 1952 classic The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, which was said to be one of the original inspirations for the ride itself. Dwayne Johnson even revealed in September 2015 that the movie would be an “edgy period piece.”
Dwayne Johnson will produce alongside his Seven Bucks partner Dany Garcia, alongside John Davis and John Fox of Davis Entertainment. Dwayne Johnson’s longtime collaborator, Beau Flynn, is also in negotiations to produce, after working with the actor on Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, San Andreas, Hercules, San Andreas and the upcoming Baywatch, Rampage and Skyscraper. Dwayne Johnson starts shooting Rampage for New Line this spring, while his adventure movie Skyscraper for Universal will start filming in China in late summer throughout the fall. Jungle Cruise will be the next project Dwayne Johnson shoots after a short break at the end of 2017, where he will also be promoting Jumanji, which opens in December 22. Take a look at Dwayne Johnson’s Instagram post below.