Many of the puns Frank uses are taken directly from the Disney Parks attraction on which the movie is based. These "so bad they're good" jokes are one of the reasons why Jungle Cruise skippers are so important to the ride experience.
Emily Blunt originally turned down the role of Lily twice due to exhaustion working on Mary Poppins Returns (2018) and A Quiet Place Part II (2020) back-to-back. Director Jaume Collet-Serra flew to New York to meet Blunt to explain why she was wanted for the role. He also brought along a video message from Dwayne Johnson (in his producing capacity) pitching about the role and wanting to work with her which Johnson recorded the night before. That video eventually got her to sign up for the role. The other producers and even Sean Bailey, Disney's head of live production, had previously tried to appeal to her for the role but received no response from her.
Frank describes himself as a "skipper." This is the title given to Disney cast members who act as tour guides on the Jungle Cruise ride. Famous former skippers include Kevin Costner and John Lasseter.
The main musical theme during the opening is an instrumental version of American heavy metal band Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters". It can be also be heard variously throughout the movie.
There are several elements from the park attraction featured in the trailer. The most notable is the "back side of water" gag that most of the cast members use during the attraction.
The studio had long tried to make a movie based on the ride since the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) but couldn't find the right producers for the project. Even after producers John Davis and John Fox began developing it in 2015, they had tried shopping around the project looking for producing partners for some time until Dwayne Johnson, who is a fan of the ride, became interested, subsequently putting the production into high gear.
The arrowhead was discovered by "Dr. Albert Falls." This is a reference to a joke often used by skippers on the theme park ride: "These are the famous Schweizer Falls, named for their discoverer: Dr. Albert Falls."
The guard Lily overpowers near the start of the film is Emily Blunt's brother, Sebastian Blunt.
The clothing Frank Wolff wears on his boat is very similar to what Charlie Allnut wears in The African Queen (1951). This is intentional, the Bogart film was a heavy influence on the the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland. It was also one of Walt Disney's favorite movies. The African Queen (1951) independently made and originally released by United Artists.
One recurrent joke of Frank to Lily is nicknaming her "Pants" by her persistence to wear pants. It addresses not only the social norm at that time that women shouldn't wear pants, but Katharine Hepburn, one of the first women in Hollywood who challenged the conventions of her time by wearing pants.
Emily Blunt's character is named Lily Houghton. Katharine Hepburn's full name is Katharine Houghton Hepburn. She is a heavy influence on the movie because she starred in The African Queen (1951). There are many similarities between the two.
Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall grew up in the same part of London, only streets apart. This, however, marks the first time that they ever met.
Lope de Aguirre (a real person who was in fact lost in the Amazon) has been portrayed in cinema before, notably in the film Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) by director Werner Herzog. The shooting was legendarily grueling, with Herzog even pulling a gun on star, Klaus Kinski, and one of the locals offering to murder him. So, when filmmakers went for a German villain, they gave Prince Joachim the slow, almost pleasant pitch of Herzog's accent.
The academic society at which the movie's first and final scenes take place is at least a partial "Easter egg" reference to the now shuttered Downtown Disney Pleasure Island's "Adventurers Club." The nameplate on the front of the building includes "Adventurers Club" in the name and the clutter of artifacts echoes the decor of the Adventurers Club clubhouse.
Like The Haunted Mansion (2003) and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), this film is inspired by a Disneyland ride. Originally called "Jungle River," the attraction takes guests on a boat ride through a river that somehow connects the jungles of Africa, Asia and South America, past animatronic depictions of wild animals. The ride is enhanced by the cast members (or "skippers") who pilot the boats and deliver corny jokes, like the ones Frank tells in the film.
Although they only play secondary roles as two of Aguirre's henchmen, both Dani Rovira and Quim Gutiérrez are very well known actors in Spain, both starring in several of the highest grossing movies there, and both recipients of Spain's Goya Award for the Best New Actor (in 2015 and 2007 respectively).
Frank tells Lily that he made a boat naming it Quila as the moon goddess. The real name is Quilla, the moon goddess in Quechua and Inca culture.
Nilo's bird is named "Rosita." This may be a reference to another Disneyland attraction, the Enchanted Tiki Room, in which one of the lines is "Whatever happened to Rosita?"
When Lily is trying to recover the arrowhead from the restoration room, one of the researchers is scraping barnacles from a ship cannon, a nod to the Black Pearl, the ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) and sequels.
"Trader" Sam is depicted as a man in the original Disney Parks attraction, though he also wears a top hat.
Jack Whitehall was attracted to the part of Emily Blunt's brother mainly because the character reminded him of his father who he has played alongside in the Netflix travelogue series, Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father (2017).
Disney re-opened an updated version of the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland (Anaheim, California) two weeks before the movie opened, removing depictions of Africans that had been considered racist. The ride in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida will also receive the same updates.
The original Jungle Cruise ride opened in Disneyland, Anaheim in 1955. The Disney World version opened in Orlando in 1971.
Whilst he is Italian in real life, this marks the first time Paul Giamatti has actually played an Italian.
Jaume Collet-Serra and Dwayne Johnson enjoyed working together so much on this film that they reteamed straight after for Black Adam (2022).
Prior to Prince Joachim's attack on Frank's riverboat, he plays on a phonograph, a piece of music from Richard Wagner's Opera, Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III.
Being a comedian, Jack Whitehall was really encouraged by the fact that Jaume Collet-Serra was only too happy to allow improvisation on set.
During an interview, Dwayne Johnson proposed an idea to have Patty Jenkins direct this film. The idea came to him after seeing a private pre-screening of Wonder Woman (2017) at the Warner Bros. Studio lot as Johnson was impressed with her work on the film. Jenkins ultimately was not offered the position.
The opening title credits are not shown until 14 minutes and 50 seconds into the film.
This is the last Disney+ Premier Access release to date, following Disney's new releasing plan that allow theaters release Disney's films exclusively for first 45 days, starting with Free Guy.
This is a movie based on a amusement park attraction (Disney's Jungle Cruise) which was inspired by a movie (The African Queen) based on a book (by C.S. Forester).
This is Dwayne Johnson's fourth "jungle" movie, after "Welcome to the Jungle" aka The Rundown (2003), Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017).
The film is set in South America, whereas the Disneyland ride is set in rivers from all over the world.
Plans for a film version of the Jungle Cruise Disneyland ride first surfaced in 2004 following the theatrical success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003).
With Jack Whitehall's character being gay, this marks the second time there is LGBTF representation in a Disney live action movie, following the example of Josh Gad's character in Beauty and the Beast (2017). Typically, it's a very vague representation and even Whitehall wasn't sure of his character's sexual preferences until halfway through the shoot.
When the Jaguar jumps on the bar it takes a moment to push a glass off with its paw as it is a big cat.
When MacGregor says, "What fresh hell is this?" on entering the boat, he is quoting a saying attributed to Dorothy Parker. But she probably coined it after 1916, the year the movie is set in.
A fake hippo placed by Frank appears in the river during the first cruise, despite being native to Africa and not South America, where the film takes place. This is a likely nod to the Disney ride on which the film is based, which represents Africa and Asia in addition to South America.
A famous scene from the Disneyland attraction was previously recreated in Tarzan (1999), when a gorilla is briefly seen looking down the barrel of a rifle.
Early iterations of the film's screenplay had Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in the lead roles.
Filmed on location on Kauai, Hawaii with the assistance of Hawaii production tax credits Mahalo to the state of Hawaii and the Hawaii Film Office.
During an interview in Australia for the Carrie and Tommy radio show. The stars Dwayne and Emily discuss some slightly off colour topics. This discussion led to them being told off by Disney.
There is also a jungle cruise attraction at Disney World in Orlando, Florida which was used in a book by Steve Berry author of the Cotton Malone series.
Digital and Visual Effects work undertaken in South Australia with the support of the South Australian Film Corporation.
All of the characters consistently mispronounce "Lágrimas de Cristal" by emphasizing the second syllable (LaGRIMas). Emphasis should be on the first syllable where the accent mark appears (LAgrimas).
At 1:17:02 MacGregor "Do I smell?" She replies "Horrendously." This brings to mind a conversation attributed to Dr. Ben Johnson centuries ago in England. A woman allegedly said to Johnson "Sir, you smell." Johnson knew the difference between a transitive and an intransitive verb as he corrected her "No Madam. You smell that I stink."
The filmmakers acknowledge the assistance of the New Zealand Government's Screen Production Grant.