I remember when Pirates of the Caribbean was first announced, I questioned just how Walt Disney Pictures could successfully transform a ride into a film franchise. Turns out, the answer to that question was "very successfully," considering Pirates of the Caribbean has not only raked in major cash for the studio, but has also introduced the world to iconic characters like Captain Jack Sparrow. Now, Disney is looking to recreate that magic with another ride spinoff: a film based on the Jungle Cruise ride is coming, and it looks like, according to The Wrap, that it'll star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. That's right, everyone:The Jungle Cruise is on its way.
So, will Johnson's character become Disney's next "Jack Sparrow?" Casting Johnson may say a lot about the vision of this new film — because he wasn't the film's original leading man.
In many ways, Johnson is an obvious choice for the upcoming Jungle Cruise film. He has a relationship with Walt Disney Pictures, and will even voice a lead character in upcoming princess film Moana . That said, his new role also calls into question just what kind of a film Disney is going to make: while Johnson has done plenty of kid-friendly material (like comedy Tooth Fairy and kid-friendly adventure flick Race to Witch Mountain), he's still best known as an action star, with films like the Fast & Furious franchise, Hercules, and San Andreas. It doesn't seem too likely to me that producers wouldn't toss major action scenes Johnson's way, even if The Jungle Cruise is set to be a family-friendly feature like Race to Witch Mountain: the former wrestler is cast as an action star even when he's not in a strictly "action" flick.
Though casting Johnson is certainly a kid-friendly move, Johnson's casting is also evidence of an entirely new direction for the film, which has had a version in development since 2004. The 2011 version that was shopped around Hollywood didn't have a place for Johnson at all — and was likely a very different film than the one we will likely see in theaters. As /FILM detailed in 2011, Tim Allen and Tom Hanks were originally considered for the lead roles in a potential Jungle Cruise film, which was then described as a modern-day buddy comedy. According to The Hollywood Reporter , the film will now be inspired by period pieces, and may not be set in modern day. It could be why Disney was eager to hire Johnson: his previous work certainly fits the concept of the new Jungle Cruise.
So will Johnson's Jungle Cruise be an intense action-adventure with adult themes, a la Pirates of the Caribbean, or a goofier, more kid-friendly flick like Johnson's own Race to Witch Mountain? No matter what the studio chooses, I'm sure Johnson will certainly bring the brawn.
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