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Sometimes it takes a while for movies to get made. Sometimes there's an idea that never quite gets off the ground. The idea that Disney might make a movie based on the World Famous Jungle Cruise first came about more than 10 years ago. Back then, it was said that a Jungle Cruise movie was being developed that would star Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. Obviously, the Jungle Cruise movie that's getting this weekend, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, was something very different.
Considering that in addition to starring in Jungle Cruise, Dwayne Johnson is also a producer on the film, I was curious what, if anything, he knew about those previous versions. So when I had the chance to sit down with him and co-star Emily Blunt recently, I asked him what happened to those earlier ideas. You can see his response, along with Emily Blunt's hilarious explanation as to how she came on board, in the video above.
Whatever the original idea for a Jungle Cruise movie was, it's gone now, as Dwayne Johnson said that nothing of that idea made it to him. When he came on board, they started from scratch and created an entirely new story. Johnson explained...
I just think in the world of Hollywood, as you know, things get developed and there’s an energy and fervor behind it and then something happens and somebody drops out and it just goes away. But also, everything happens in the way it should happen and by the time it got to me it was a complete rewrite from page one.
Of course, as Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt joke, the "real" reason the movie had to change is that Tom Hanks refused to work with Dwayne Johnson. Although, now I really want to see those two make a movie together.
One can only assume that a version of Jungle Cruise with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen would have been a lot less action focused than the version we're getting on Friday. Certainly, comedy is a big part of the actual Jungle Cruise attraction, so it would make sense that a film version would lean into that.
That's not to say that the version of Jungle Cruise that we got skimped on the comedy at all. You can tell by watching the video above that Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt love to joke around and that instant chemistry is what makes the new movie so fun and so funny.
I'm pretty sure Dwayne Johnson is right. At the very least, in the case of Jungle Cruise things happened the way they should. Maybe a Tom Hanks and Tim Allen Jungle Cruise could have been fun, but it would not have been this Jungle Cruise and we'd all be poorer if we didn't have Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt being ridiculous together. Jungle Cruise opens Friday in theaters and on Disney+ (you can subscribe here) with Premier Access