Jungle Cruise: what real elements inspired the film with Dwayne Johnson?

In 2021, filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra offers an endearing family adventure with “Jungle Cruise”. Adapted from a Disneyland attraction, the feature film is also inspired by real elements. Discover the true story behind the blockbuster worn by Dwayne Johnson.

Jungle Cruise : the adventure according to Disney

In 2021, Jaume Collet-Serra decides to join the ranks of Disney with Jungle Cruise. Worn by Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, the feature film is adapted from a famous Disneyland ride. Originally titled Jungle River, this attraction takes visitors on a boat on different rivers around the world. An impressive journey populated by animatronics of wild animals larger than life. Following the success of Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003Disney has long had plans to wear Jungle River on the big screen. There is a first attempt in 2004 which does not succeed, and a second in 2011 with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in the main roles. Again, the project did not materialize.

Jungle Cruise
Jungle Cruise ©Disney

We must therefore wait until the 2020s to see the project come to life in the cinema. With an estimated budget of $200 million, Jungle Cruise is the most expensive film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. A substantial budget that Disney paid dearly for Jungle Cruise did not collect than $220 million in box office receipts. An insufficient margin for the project to be considered a financial success.

Some historical inspirations

If everyone knows that Jungle Cruise is adapted from a Disneyland attraction, which is less well known, is that the feature film has some historical inspirations. The story of the film takes place in 1916, in the middle of the First World War. International tensions were high at the time, and women had very few scientific and professional prospects. In this logic, Lily Houghton, the character played by Emily Bluntis rejected from the association Royal Society of Explorers.

Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) - Jungle Cruise
Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) – Jungle Cruise ©Disney

This is the first element that is inspired by real events. If this specific association is invented by Jungle Cruise, however, such organizations existed at the time. There was, for example, the Royal Society of Londonan institution bringing together scholars that has refused women until 1945.

Characters who actually existed

But this is not the only historical inspiration. Indeed, two characters of the feature film are modeled on real people. Prince Joachim, son of the Kaiser, really existed. Indeed, the German prince played by Jesse Plemons was the 6th child and youngest son of Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht of Germany. In the feature film, which takes place in 1916, the character is then 25 years old. If he finds the death of the hands of the character of Emily Blunt, the reality of his death is different. Indeed, this German crown prince kills himself in 1920, at the age of 29, after a long depression.

Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) - Jungle Cruise
Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) – Jungle Cruise ©Disney

The other character who is inspired by real events is Lope de Aguirre, the conquistador played by Edgar Ramirez. In the 16th century, this conquistador was reputed to be a totally mad adventurer. He is best known for one of his last explorations which led him, accompanied by his daughter, to the Amazon River in search of the mythical golden kingdom of El Dorado. A story that inspired Jungle Cruise and which explains why the character of Edgar Ramirez is in search of the Tears of the Moon to find a cure for his daughter.

In the real world, when shipped, Lope de Aguirre claimed to be Prince of Peruand murdered all the natives he met on his way. He died in 1561 in Barquisimeto (now Venezuela) after leading a rebellion against the Spanish monarchy. For the little anecdote, Edgar Ramirez was born in Venezuela.

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