Jamming with the ‘Jungle Cruise’ Cast

Today’s the day, adventurers! Disney’s Jungle Cruise is setting sail in theaters and on Disney+ right now, and screens all over are lighting up with the charismatic flair of Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, and Jack Whitehall. To celebrate the release of this rollicking ride, The Nerds of Color was invited to attend a virtual press conference for the movie with the cast. What did they all have to say about the making of the movie and working with each other? Find out below!

Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton and Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The first question of course came for Blunt. She famously ghosted Johnson when she was asked to take the role of Dr. Lily Houghton via a 25-minute video. She joked that, “if someone comes on too strong, it’s just better to just turn it down… I needed to back it up a little bit and I needed to read the script.” It was definitely in the spirit of gentle ribbing these two share on the screen. She went on to say, “I did love your video… Jaume had it on his computer… I do want to watch it again.”

Both Johnson and Blunt were asked how the chemistry was when they first met.

“We were pals for life immediately,” said Blunt. “It was like I knew when we met, we had this repoir that ping-ponged back and forth so quickly. And I just thought we were going to have a good time.”

“You hope to get lucky with your cast,” started Johnson. “Emily and I have been talking a lot about chemistry to the press. And a lot of times, you fake it…”

“He’s been faking it for years,” fired back Blunt.

“I will continue to fake it too,” joked Johnson. “Especially with us!”

(L-R): Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff, Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton and Jack Whitehall as MacGregor Houghton in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Johnson was then asked what made him say yes right away to the project.

“The script was in a really good place. And I immediately saw the potential of the opportunity. 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 I felt comfortable with, saying ‘yes I will come aboard and partner with you guys to develop this thing.’ And we got into a really great place. And again, to bring it back to Emily, the next step after finding Jaume, was finding my co-star. The female Indiana Jones over here.”

The next question was for Whitehall. He was asked about his one-liners in the film and whether or not they were payback for having his single line of dialogue cut from Frozen.

“Post the Frozen experience, it was just about throwing enough stuff at the wall and something was sticking. Because I was just desperate not to be cut from the movie,” started Whitehall. “The fact is even a single line in this is an improvement over the Frozen debacle, and I’m so exctied to actually be part of a Disney film… there was a fair amount of improv. The script was amazing but then we were also given the space to improvise, add stuff to it. These two created and environment where we were able to do that. It felt like such a safe space. There were probably a few jokes that ended up on the cutting room floor for the right reasons. Great moments you see in the film are like genuine moments that sort of came up in the moment and Jaume was so good at encouraging that as well.”

Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff and Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Following that, Ramirez was asked about his iconic look in the movie, and how he felt when he first saw himself with the VFX added to his character.

“I was very happy with the snakes weren’t anywhere near me during the shoot,” he joked. “Because I’m super afraid of snakes and we captured some of them while we were shooting in Atlanta. We shot in real locations and we dressed them to look like the Amazon… I saw the movie for the first time two days ago, and guys I was so happy! I loved it! I adored the movie. You guys were incredible.”

“You were an operatic bad guy,” complimented Blunt.

Scene from Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“I’m very very happy! I’m very happy my mother was super scared when watching [my character],” continued Ramirez. “To be in a movie that is based on the most iconic attraction from the most iconic entertainment universe in history, such as Disney, it’s so special. And to be with these amazing people… I love everything you did. What you all did was very difficult. That tone, to be witty, and romantic, and funny, but snide and cute at the same time… we know that tone is very difficult to achieve and you guys killed it!… meanwhile I was in my opera… I was jealous because I wished I was a little bit more on the boat, because it looked like so much fun!”

And knowing the entire crew behind the Jungle Cruise, we can’t help but be a bit jealous about having fun with that cast as well.

Disney’s Jungle Cruise is now in theaters and Disney+ today!