Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt ready to cast off for Jungle Cruise 2

Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, the stars of Disney's Jungle Cruise, answer some burning questions, in between taking potshots at each other.

SINGAPORE - Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson are two actors who are not exactly short of movie franchises in which to star.

With their newest project, the Disney adventure Jungle Cruise, receiving strong early reviews, the pair has found themselves in yet another franchise-worthy project.

American actor Johnson, 49, however, says that he thinks about one movie at a time and does not worry whether a character is one he will be happy to play.

"When this project came along, I saw it had a great script and phenomenal director. As it relates to a franchise, I don't think that far ahead," says the retired professional wrestler.

"You don't want to count your blessings ahead of time, but people around the world are starting to see the movie and there are talks at Disney for us to come back," he says.

"Just with a different co-star," he adds, looking at Blunt as both laugh.

He and Blunt, 38, were speaking to The Straits Times in an online interview. Jungle Cruise opens on Thursday (July 29) in cinemas and Friday with Premier Access on the Disney+ streaming platform.

The film is set during World War I and is inspired by the Walt Disney theme park ride of the same name.

Blunt and Johnson play explorer Lily Houghton and boat captain Frank Wolff respectively. Together with Houghton's brother McGregor (Jack Whitehall), they brave the dangers of the South American jungle in search of the Tree Of Life, a mythical plant said to possess healing powers.

From the minute the stern Dr Houghton hires the shady, evasive Wolff and his rust bucket of a ship, a comedic battle of wits ensues.

During the interview, Johnson and Blunt take digs at each other, replicating the easy chemistry they share in the film.

British actress Blunt is no Disney rookie. She has worked in several projects linked to the mega-studio, including the musical fantasy Mary Poppins Returns (2018), in which she played the magical nanny of the title.

But she has also been in non-Disney franchises such as the action thriller A Quiet Place (2018) and its sequel, A Quiet Place Part II (2020). She is tipped to return as soldier Rita in the sequel to alien-invasion action movie Edge Of Tomorrow (2014).

Johnson, too, has enjoyed a franchise-heavy career, having been linked with the Fast And Furious series since the fifth film (Fast Five, 2011). He is also attached to San Andreas 2, the yet undated follow-up to the 2015 earthquake disaster epic.


Dwayne Johnson (left) and Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise. PHOTO: THE WALT DISNEY CO

He is set to play the title character in the DC Comics superhero movie Black Adam (2022), a spin-off from the 2019 film Shazam! and a work with sequel potential.

Much of Jungle Cruise was filmed in Hawaii. Blunt recalls her amazement at arriving on the set and seeing its scale.

"They built this extraordinary Amazonian village into a rock face that overlooks a reservoir and it was stunning - vast, detailed and beautiful. I think that was when it hit that we were making something extraordinary and epic," she says.

Johnson adds that the set covered "thousands of acres". In the film are scenes set in native villages, caverns and a river trading outpost at which a small naval battle is waged.



A still from Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall (right). PHOTO: THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY

"It was surreal - this is a massive project based on an iconic Disney ride. This is an incredible moment, " he says.

He cannot resist one last dig at Blunt, whose character never gives his a break on screen. "It's a milestone in my career, though I wish I had a different co-star."

Jungle Cruise opens in cinemas on July 29 and July 30 with Premier Access on the Disney+ streaming platform for a one-time fee of $38.98. The film will be available free to Disney+ subscribers from Nov 12.

Correction note: Jungle Cruise will be available free to Disney+ subscribers from Nov 12 and not Sept 29.