Jungle Cruise’s scriptwriters Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have opened up about the Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt led action-adventure, revealing they used The African Queen as inspiration, as well as the Disney ride.
“We found out that ‘Jungle Cruise’ the ride was itself an adaptation of ‘The African Queen’,” explains Requa. “A movie that me and Glenn love and cherish and grew up with.”
“So we just said, ‘Let’s go back and make a movie in the same time period as ‘The African Queen,’ with a similar story, that has a larger villain, but has the similar character dynamic between a man and a woman.’”
Requa admits that it was “tricky adapting a ride,” although the success of the “Pirates Of The Caribbean” franchise proves that “some really good movies have been made from them.”
“You have to work with you’ve got,” adds Ficarra. “And we have ‘The African Queen’ which isn’t a bad place to start.”
“Jaume [Collet-Serra] is such a great director, too. There are some dark elements to the script. I think it is going to be a blast. They’re really putting everything behind it. Big production value and all that. So we’re really excited.”
Requa is quick to point out that the prestigious cast of the film also helps, which as well as Johnson and Blunt includes Paul Giamatti, Jesse Plemons, Edgar Ramirez and Jack Whitehall.
There has already been plenty of discussion surrounding Whitehall’s performance, as he is rumored to be playing Disney’s first openly gay character, who was described by The Sun as “hugely effete, very camp and very funny.”
That provoked a backlash online, as some insisted that a straight white man shouldn’t have been cast in a role, which also appears to be perpetuating offensive stereotypes.
But Ficarra and Requa didn’t have much to say on the character, who has changed quite a lot since their involvement on “Jungle Cruise.”
“To be honest that was other writers,” insists Requa.
“He wasn’t gay when we wrote it. So if that’s happened we don’t know anything about it. We had other things we had to do, so they hired younger and more energetic writers than us whose schedules weren’t quite as busy.”
We’ll finally get to see what "Jungle Cruise" does with Whitehall’s character when it is finally released on July 24, 2020.