Late last week, SkipperZippy wrote in to ask about that
"Jungle Cruise" movie that Walt Disney Pictures just announced. To be specific:
I'm so excited about the Jungle Cruise movie. Can you please tell me which roles Tom Hanks
and Tim Allen will be playing in this movie? What scenes from the theme park
attraction will be recreated as part of this movie?
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
First of all, you may want to contain that excitement a bit.
After all, we're quite a way aways from the actual physical start of production
on Disney's "The Jungle Cruise" movie.
To be specific, if ABC actually decides to pick up "The Last
Days of Man" (i.e. that sitcom pilot that Tim Allen is supposed to shoot for Fox) ...
Well, that then means that Allen wouldn't really be available to begin working
on this new Mandeville Films production until sometime in the late winter /
early spring of 2012.
And in the meantime, you can expect that Roger S.H. Schulman
(Who's probably best known for the work that he did on the screenplays of
"Shrek," "The Jungle Book 2," "Mulan II," "Bambi II" and "The Fox and the Hound 2." Though - more recently - Schulman served as executive producer for two
Disney Channel series, "Phil of the Future" and "Jonas") will be digging
through all of the previous drafts of Disney's "The Jungle Cruise" movie scripts
as he attempts to craft a live-action feature which will then showcase both Hanks
& Allen's comic talents.
And make no mistake here. Roger has quite the pile of
scripts to dig through. Let's remember that Walt Disney Pictures has been
struggling to get a "Jungle Cruise" movie made ever since the Spring of 2004. Which
is when "Sweet Valley High" creator Josh Goldstein and John Norville (best
known as the screenwriter of Kevin Costner's 1996 golf comedy,"Tin Cup") were first
hired to write a feature film script that was based on this popular Adventureland
Now jump ahead to September of 2006. Which is when the
Studio brought in "Smallville" creators Al Gough and Miles Millar. With the
hope that these two might succeed where Goldstein & Norville had failed and
then find a way to turn the "Jungle Cruise" ride into a family-friendly
Clearly Al & Miles' take on this material (which was
supposed to be - if you can believe it - a lighthearted riff on Joseph Conrad's
existential trip upriver, "Heart of Darkness") didn't sit well with Mouse House
managers. Which is why this project (which then-Disney Studio head Dick Cook had
seen as a natural follow-up to the "Pirates of Caribbean" film franchise, given
that " ... the skipper will ... be more of an Indiana Jones kind of guy, with a
little Jack Sparrow in him") was then tabled for a few years.
But then came "Toy Story 3" with its worldwide gross of
nearly $1.1 billion. Not to mention those 10.6 million DVDs of this Lee Unkrich
film that have been sold since November of 2010. Which got folks at the Studio
thinking that - if "TS3" really was going to be the very last feature film in
the "Toy Story" series - wasn't there then some sort of live-action project
that they could then pair Tim Allen & Tom Hanks in? Because audiences
clearly enjoyed it when these two performers worked together.
So that's when they began burrowing through everything that
the Studio then had in development. And once
they came across that last draft of "The Jungle Cruise" ... Well, given that Tom Hanks
had appeared in 1990's "Joe Versus the Volcano" & 2000's "Cast Away" and Tim
Allen had starred in 1997's "Jungle 2 Jungle," it did seem plausible that
audiences might respond strongly to a film which then placed these two popular
performers in a jungle setting where they could then have some sort of comic adventure.
But then came the big question: Who should play the Skipper
role in this motion picture? Given that Hanks had turned in such a memorable
comic performance in 1992's "A League of Their Own," playing against type as
the washed-up, former-baseball-great--now-alcoholic Jimmy Dugan ... Well, some
folks at Disney thought that it might be great fun if Tom played a similar sort
of character in "The Jungle Cruise."
The only problem with that was ... Well, Allen had already
done the while fish-out-of-water,
thing in 1997's "Jungle 2 Jungle." Which
is why it just didn't make sense for Tim to play the exact same sort of
character again in Disney's "Jungle Cruise" movie.
So - as of right now - Tim is supposedly playing the Skipper
in this film while Tom reportedly has the Dad's role. The guy who decides to
treat his family to something special by taking them on a trip upriver.
Now as for which sequences from this Disneyland Opening Day
attraction will be replicated as part of "Jungle Cruise," the movie ... The
drafts that I've previously read of this project were all set in Africa.
Deliberately so that the filmmakers could then make use of the elephant bathing
pool, the safari outpost (i.e. that scene in this Adventureland ride where Gorillas
have invaded some explorer's camp), the hippo pool as well as the rapids. A
version of this "Jungle Cruise" film that had been set back in the late 1940s /
early 1950s also included the trapped safari (i.e. that great white hunter and
his porters being treed by a rhino). But all of the drafts that were set in the
present day opted to delete that comic scene from this theme park attraction.
And - yes - just in case you're wondering: The "back side of
water" does actually factor into the storyline of Disney's "Jungle Cruise"
film. In several drafts of this screenplay, the Skipper, the Dad and his family
all had to journey under Schweitzer Falls. So that they can then search for this
cure which was supposedly hidden deep inside of a cave behind that waterfall.
Whether Roger S.H. Schulman will actually keep this
journey-under-the-waterfall plot point in his version of "The Jungle Cruise"
screenplay remains to be seen. I do know that Schulman has supposedly been
asked to create several instances in this proposed motion picture where Tim
& Tom's characters will then get the chance to bicker. The thinking here is
... Well, given that those scenes in the "Toy Story" films where Buzz & Woody
get to verbally spar with one another are among the more memorable moments from
those movies ... Well, Disney is hoping that audiences will respond just as
strongly to some live-action versions of these same sorts of scenes.
And that - when you get right down to it - is why Disney's "Jungle
Cruise" movie finally got greenlit. Not because the Studio had an especially strong
script in hand. But - rather - because it was actively looking for some sort of
vehicle that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen could then co-star in. So that - when this
film is finally ready to be released to theaters - Disney can then promote this
project as being the one that reunites these "Toy Story" stars, placing Tim
& Tom in their first live-action feature together. More importantly, by having
Hanks & Allen do lots of high profile television appearances - like being
interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America" and/or sitting down on the couch
for NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno"& CBS's "Late Show with David
Letterman" - together. Which - the Studio hopes - will help build audience
interest and then make this project the sort of motion picture that people just
have to see while it's out in theaters.
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen at the "Toy Story 3" world premiere. Photo by Tom Williamson / WireImage. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.All rights reserved
Because - to be blunt - Disney could really use some
sure-fire hits for 2012 and beyond. Given that 2011 hasn't exactly gotten off
to a stellar start for the Studio.
To explain: While "Gnomeo & Juliet" looks like it may
eventually limp past $100 million domestic, which would then give Disney its
first official blockbuster of the new year, everything else that the Studio has
released to date has under-performed. Take - for example --"I am Number Four." Though
this Disney-released DreamWorks release just wrapped up its fourth weekend in
theaters, this sci-fi adventure - which reportedly cost $60 million to produce
-- has only sold $50.4 million worth of tickets so far. Or better yet, "Mars
Needs Mars." Which - according to initial box office reports -- only pulled
in $6.8 million over its opening weekend.
This is why Disney is looking for sure things for 2012 and beyond. Movies that
will not only recover all of their production and P&A costs but also turn a
But the downside is ... Given the multitude of theme
park-related projects that Walt Disney Studios already has in development (i.e.
Dwayne Johnson's oft-delayed "Tomorrowland" movie, that "Magic Kingdom" film
which Jon Favreau will soon begin directing for Disney, that "Haunted Mansion"
reboot which Guillermo del Toro is developing, that "Enchanted Tiki Room" -inspired
script that Ahmet Zappa is writing for the Studio, not to mention that Terry
Rossio was recently signed to write the screenplay for "Pirates of the Caribbean
5"), one wonder what sort of appetite the movie-going public will still have for
productions like this by the time that "The Jungle Cruise" finally floats into
theaters in 2013 / 2014.
But that's where Tim Allen and Tom Hanks come in. They're
Disney's insurance policy when it comes to making sure that people will actually
turn out to see "The Jungle Cruise." But given Allen & Hanks' back-end
deals (Which hopefully won't be nearly as pricey as the one that the Mouse had
with Johnny Depp on Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." For his inspired performance
as the Mad Hatter, Depp reportedly took home $40 million), this could turn out
to be a pretty pricey insurance policy.
Which is why the Studio is supposedly looking to get some
additional insurance for their Tim-and-Tom insurance policy. The way I hear it,
Disney has allegedly already put in a request with Pixar that they produce a "Toy
Story Toon" (You know? One of those new "Toy Story" -themed shorts like "Hawaiian
Vacation," which is going to be screened in front of "Cars 2" this June?). So
that - just ahead of this "Jungle Cruise" movie - people will then be reminded
of why they so enjoy it when Tim Allen
& Tom Hanks work together.
Copyright Disney / Pixar. All rights reserved
But what do you folks think? Would you go see "Disney's Jungle
Cruise" movie if a new "Toy Story Toon" were to be screened just ahead of this live-action
More to the point, do you agree with Disney's casting
choice? Who would you prefer to see as this film's Skipper? Tim or Tom?
I went to see Toy Story 3 for many reasons, seeing Tim and Tom working together again was not one of them..
Very excited to see Magic Kingdom though, will be interesting to see what Favreau does with that.
If they really can't decide who should play the captain, why not go the obvious route? Hire Kurt Russell to reprise his beloved role as Captain Ron, since this sounds like a remake in a new locale. Then they can have Hanks and Allen playing dueling brothers, trying to prove who is the greater patriarch. Maybe one family can have a foster daughter, or exchange student, that a son from the other family can fall for.
In the end, the brothers realize that they are both good parents, and their respective families realize they they love the brothers more than Captain Ron who sails away with another family, in a new boat, ready for the next wacky adventure.
Captain Ron 2: The Jungle Cruise
Starring Tom Hanks and Tim Allen
Featuring Kurt Russell
There ya go Diz, free of charge!
Personally, I'm anxiously awaiting production of "The Mad Tea Party Adventure", where Tom Hanks and Tim Allen play a couple of dumb shmucks who get caught up in a marathon spinning tea cups ride, resulting in their brains turning to mush and thereafter are soon hired on as Disney film executives! Laughs galore!
I really hope this movie turns out as more of a POTC type adventure than some silly Haunted Mansion comedy. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the latter for what it was, but POTC has set a high expectation for what Disney can do with these properties. And with such an awesome actor like Hanks attached, they really need to skip the fart jokes and make an exciting grown-up film.
I'm excited to see more from these two! Hoping for a great movie!
This just hurts.
I can't read this without something hurting.
You write the script and then you make the movie. Not the other way around.
Oh, who put these people in charge?
How about NEITHER? Put both of these guys out to pasture, please.
I'd much rather see Sean Connery and Colin Hanks in an adaptation of Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
...Or some kind of Atlantis inspired movie. I'll look forward to the "Magic Kingdom" movie, and the retooled "Haunted Mansion" but I doubt this movie stays afloat. Haven't we seen enough buddy adventure comedies. I suspect this movie will capsize much like the boats used in the Disneyland attraction.
Tim Allen , in my opinion, is perfect to play skipper in Jungle Cruise movie. My kids would never think of a trip to Disney World without a least one (or more) rides on The Jungle Cruise! Potentially Disney could create a very big hit with this duo!
Ya know... this would be a perfect movie for David Zucker/Jim Abrahams. Too bad Leslie Nielsen passed away.
They really need to abandon the family in the film and just go for a Hope/Crosby Road to Morrocco style buddy picture.
Seriously? You're telling me that the execs at Disney looked at the relative success of the "action/adventure" Pirates of the Carribbean movie and the "wacky family comedy" Haunted Mansion movie, and decided to go the the "wacky family comedy" route for Jungle Cruise? Have they learned nothing?
i think Tim Allen should be in these movie.I think Tim Allen is a way better actor than Tom Hank's tim allen is good so i believe that the movie The Jungle Cruise should have tim allen.