For two years, Disney has had a deal in place with Dwayne Johnson to make a movie based on its iconic theme park ride, Jungle Cruise. Just when it was starting to seem like it would never happen, he’s now officially signed on—and production will begin in 2018.
The film does not yet have a director.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news. Apparently, after years of development, the latest version of the script by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay was deemed worthy. Plus, somehow, Johnson found a break in his insanely busy schedule to make it. He’s about to shoot the video game adaptation Rampage, followed by the action film Skyscraper, and will then do press for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle at the end of the year before getting to work on Jungle Cruise.
That’s three out of four movies that will likely feature Johnson fighting giant animals.
At Disney Theme Parks, Jungle Cruise is a slow water ride where people ride around and look at dated animatronic animals. Because it’s not exactly that thrilling, the ship captains tell super-cringeworthy jokes throughout the experience, making it not only smart, but funny. And the idea of Johnson playing a hero in that vein kind of fills me with joy.
Another note is the curious timing of this deal. It comes mere days after Sony debuted some very fun footage of Johnson in Jumanji, which obviously has a similar aesthetic to what one would expect from Jungle Cruise. You have to wonder if executives thought, “Hey, don’t we have something like this in the works?” and dusted it off shortly thereafter. If Jungle Cruise does end up filming in early 2018, it seems like a spring or summer 2019 release would be in the cards. Johnson can next be seen in The Fate of the Furious and Baywatch, neither of which will see him fighting any animals... that we know of.