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The Impressive Cast for Disney’s Jungle Cruise Movie Is Making it Hard to Remain Uninterested

jesse plemons jungle cruise movie disney

There’s been talk of a Disney Jungle Cruise movie for years now, and for years, we’ve been wondering … why? And, if we may, a follow-up: for who? Sure, the first Pirates of the Caribbean was a fun jaunt, but in general, movies based on theme park rides elicit more eye-rolls than excitement.

Back in 2015, Dwayne Johnson was announced as leading the cast, but 2015 Johnson had a much different presence than he does now. For some context, when that announcement was made, San Andreas was in theaters, Ballers had been on the air for less than two months, and Rock-led comedies like Baywatch (boo) and Jumanji (LOUD CHEERS) were a long way off. The movie’s director is Jaume Collet-Serra, known for horror and Liam Neeson action movies. A Jungle Cruise movie seemed like the kind of idea that could potentially work if it leaned into the fun and didn’t take itself too seriously. All signs, though, pointed to that not being the case.

Now, though, we know the Rock can lead the crap out of a fun, self-referential comedy. (Again, if you haven’t seen Jumanji, I suggest remedying that asap.) Then the film added Emily Blunt to its cast, who we know has also completely conquered both action and comedy genres. According to Variety, the cast is getting another addition in the form of Jesse Plemons, and I have to admit it: I think I’m fully in.

I have yet to see Jesse Plemons in anything that he wasn’t 100% great in: Friday Night LightsFargo, Other People, Breaking Bad, and so many others. He can do drama, comedy, tense thriller, whatever. But his dry, bumbling style of humor seems like a perfect fit for the movie, assuming they’re going to lean into the #1 best thing about the ride: the skippers and their terrible jokes.

Anyone that’s ridden the Jungle Cruise ride knows those jokes–those wonderfully terrible puns the guides have been telling for literally half a century. You can see the strange mix of sadness and pride in their eyes (Jungle Cruise skipper is, after all, a coveted gig inside the Disney park gates) as they recite the same script, pointing out the hippos wiggling their ears and celebrating “the backside of water,” over and over, day after day.

Plemons’ casting (as a villain, along with Edgar Ramirez) is the first real indication that the movie might be leaning into the comedy. With him, Johnson, and Blunt all onboard, that’s an impressive enough cast that I might just be done resisting, and start anticipating this movie’s release.

Jungle Cruise is scheduled to start production next month, so I’m sure we have more than a few more cast additions and announcements to come.

(image: Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.

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