Dwayne Johnson Reveals The Magical Nostalgia That Drew Him To Jungle Cruise

During the Jungle Cruise press conference Dwayne Johnson revealed what spoke to him about the Jungle Cruise and the cast shared what they love about the ride and how it is incorporated into the film.
Jungle Cruise Dwayne Johnson

Disney’s newest summer blockbuster is nearly here. Jungle Cruise, an adventure film based on the beloved classic Disney attraction will simultaneously be released in theaters and on Disney Plus with Premier Access Friday July 30.

The Illuminerdi was lucky enough to attend a virtual press conference for Disney’s Jungle Cruise which featured the film’s stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, and Édgar Ramiríez.

Dwayne Johnson On His Connection With The Jungle Cruise Ride

Jungle Cruise Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson is Frank Wolff in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo by Frank Masi. © 2021 Disney Enterprises

Dwayne Johnson along with his co-stars talked about what Jungle Cruise incorporates from the beloved Disney attraction. Johnson, who not only stars in, but also produced Jungle Cruise, also explained what about the Jungle Cruise spoke to him:

“Well, nostalgia. I had ridden 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. So, it had a nostalgic 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.”

But nostalgia wasn’t the only element that drew Johnson in. Dwayne Johnson has been involved with Jungle Cruise for years and during the press conference he revealed why he said yes, the very first time the film was pitched to him.


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

Dwayne Johnson disclosed, while laughing, that Emily Blunt hates the moniker believing it sets her up for failure. Blunt was quick to cut in that it puts too much pressure on her, but Johnson was quick to reassure that Blunt has lived up to the comparison. When asked if the film is what they imagined based on riding Jungle Cruise as kids Emily Blunt admitted that she had only ridden the Jungle Cruise for the first time a few days ago at the premier. Her perspective does not include the nostalgia that Dwayne Johnson’s does, but she did reveal what she enjoys about the ride and recognizing elements of it in the Jungle Cruise film.

“I only rode the Jungle Cruise ride two days ago at the premier for the first time. I loved it, I thought it was very whimsical and sweet. And I could see the elements from the ride that have made it into the film.”

Jungle Cruise The Rock Emily Blunt

The movie definitely incorporates elements of the ride with Disney’s attraction being at the heart of Jungle Cruise. Jack Whitehall revealed what he enjoys most about the Jungle Cruise ride and how it is incorporated into the film. And of course, the puns that the attraction is famous for.

“I would say that’s the element of the Jungle Cruise ride that I like the most is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and I think that that is definitely something that we took over into the movie. And it has such ambition and scale and is beautiful and the sets are incredible and the set pieces and the action and it’s got all of that. But at the heart of it as well it’s not a movie that takes itself too seriously. It has wit. It has humor. It’s got some of the best puns I’ve ever heard. It’s got Dwayne Johnson doing a standup comedy routine. I mean what’s not to love about that.”


Dwayne Johnson, as the skipper, gets to deliver numerous puns during the film, a few straight out of the Jungle Cruise ride itself. Johnson talked about how the film exceeded his expectations and while the Jungle Cruise ride is fairly calm as a Disney attraction the film is anything but.

“I think the movie is so much more than what I expected. The charm of the ride is the simplicity of it and the education of it too as well and then the silliness of it. And the calmness of it too, you go in the park and there’s so much to do in the Disney parks, then you get on this ride and it’s almost like you can exhale and really just enjoy the simplicity of the ride. But our movie is anything but simple with all the elements that we have so I think we delivered.”

While the ride may be a calm, pun filled, voyage the film is full of action, adventure, love, comedy, and of course an endless supply of puns. Jungle Cruise manages to incorporate the attraction into the heart and story of the film while also expanding the adventure well beyond what fans will expect. It is no surprise that Dwayne Johnson jumped at the chance to develop and star in this film.


Join fan favorites Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt for the adventure of a lifetime on Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila – his ramshackle-but-charming boat.

Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities – possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate – and mankind’s – hangs in the balance.

Jungle-Cruise-poster Dwayne Johnson

Jungle Cruise is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Jungle Cruise stars Dwayn Johnson, who is also a producer on the film, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Édgar Ramiríez, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti. Jungle Cruise hits theaters Friday July 30 and will simultaneously be available on Disney Plus with Premier Access the same day. Are you excited to see the Jungle Cruise? Are you a fan of the ride? What did you think of what Dwayne Johnson had to say? Which puns do you hope to see incorporated into the film? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media.



Picture of Caitlin Tyrrell

Caitlin Tyrrell

Features Manager & Producer with The Illuminerdi. Caitlin has a deep love for storytelling of every kind. She is a huge fan of television, animation, and film, but Star Wars, the MCU, and Critical Role hold a special place in her heart.