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The ‘Jungle Cruise’ Cast Share Some Behind-the-Scenes Stories

The ‘Jungle Cruise’ Cast Share Some Behind-the-Scenes Stories

This week, BGN got a chance to attend the global press conference for the new Disney movie, Jungle Cruise. The film is the latest movie based on a Disney park ride. In attendance were cast members from the film: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez, and Jack Whitehall.

The film follows Skipper Frank Wolff, played by Johnson, as he navigates the Amazonian rivers with brother and sister Lily and MacGregor Houghton, played by Blunt and Whitehall. The team is in search of a magical location housing the Tree of LIfe. 

The cast was eager to share some behind-the-scenes stories. Here is what we learned about the upcoming film, Jungle Cruise

Behind the scenes chemistry…

Emily Blunt: We were pals for life immediately. I knew when we met we had this rapport, like ping pong, back and forth so quickly. And I just thought, we’re gonna have a good time. I knew it.

Dwayne Johnson: It’s very true. You hope to get lucky. I feel like I should talk to everybody. But you hope to get lucky. It’s your cast, and you try to have some chemistry.

Why the Jungle Cruise…

DJ: The script was in a really good place, and I immediately just saw the potential of the opportunity. That opportunity was to take a beloved and iconic Disney ride ― since 1955 when the park opened, this was Walt Disney’s baby. There were a lot of elements that I felt comfortable with saying, “Yes, I will come on board, and partner with you guys and we will develop this thing.” We got into a really great place. And, to bring it back around to Emily, the next step after finding Jaume Collet-Serra, our director, was finding my co-star, that female Indiana Jones over here.

I would say nostalgia. I rode the ride when I was a kid. Many moons later, I went to Disney World for the first time and rode the ride then too as well. It had an episodic element to it when it was first presented to me. But also, really the opportunity that we had that we could create something that was hopefully unique and special. So, it was nostalgia and it was the opportunity.

Witty one-liners…

Jack Whitehall: I felt like this was just a case of throwing enough stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. I’m so excited to actually be a speaking part of Disney, but there was a fair amount of improv. The script was amazing, but then we also were given the space to kind of improvise and add stuff to it. To create this environment where we were able to do that, it felt like such a safe space. There were probably a few jokes that ended up on the cutting room floor for the right reasons. Some really great moments that you see in the film are like genuine moments that we sort of came up with in the moment, and Jaume was so good at encouraging that as well. 

The Jungle Cruise and snakes…

Edgar Ramírez: I was very happy that those snakes weren’t anywhere near me during the shoot. I’m super afraid of snakes, and we’ve gone through some of them when we’re shooting in Atlanta. We shot in real locations, and we dressed them to look like the Amazon. I come from an Amazonian country. I saw the movie for the first time at the premiere, and I’m so happy. I adore the movie.

To be in a movie that is based on the most iconic attraction from the most iconic entertainment universe in history, such as Disney, it’s so special. To be with these amazing people, it’s incredible. It is very difficult for the tone to be witty and romantic and funny and snide but cute at the same time. We as actors know that tone is very difficult to achieve, and they killed it.

Most challenging stunt…

EB: The rope swing! The vine swing for me was the most challenging because Dwayne would not let me get one straight take. He pushed it so far, everytime, to try and make me laugh on that vine swing. We shot that all day. We didn’t get one straight one. I was like, just tell me what you’re going to say this time just so I can be prepared, and he wouldn’t tell me every time. He’d throw in some awful improv that would make me laugh. I don’t know how many times we must have shot that.

DJ: It’s that heroic vine swing that you think you know where the hero grabs the lady, you know with that same tension and takes off and goes to save the day. Of course it just goes to hell because I don’t save the day. He thinks he’s a hero, when he is actually trying to save the real hero.

Diverse cast…

ER: I’m very happy. It’s very special to be in a movie like this and to play a character that is so full. What I love about the movie in general is that it has so many beautiful and great characters that allow you to be on a journey. It really puts you on a journey into the past, and that is beautiful. You have all these fantastical elements, and that’s what I go to the movies for. I want to be on a journey. I want to be disconnected from reality, to dream of fantastical places and fantastical characters and creatures. The fact that we have Latin America represented ― this is such a diverse cast. We have people from all over the world. I’m very happy. I think that it’s a beautiful reflection of the world that we live in.

Bringing the adventure genre back…

EB: It has been immensely rewarding. Tonally we just needed to strike a chord that was really well crafted. What we curated was with so much love and was made in the spirit of the films that we all grew up watching. I mainline those movies into my veins. I just loved Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone, and African Queen. They are just joy bombs and nostalgic. It just took a lot of tempering and beautiful conducting from Jaume, who was just extraordinarily free spirited with us in this massive spectacle of a movie.

Jungle Cruise will be available in theaters and on Disney+ with premium access on July 30.

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