Dwayne Johnson is in every single place as a result of he needs to be. A prodigy born from the WWE, the performer has develop into one of many few professional wrestlers to solely make the leap to Hollywood’s huge time, however stick round for almost 20 years. That may be as a result of, within the mid-2010s, Johnson determined to leverage the forex of his stardom to begin his personal manufacturing firm, Seven Bucks Productions, to make his largest goals come true. A type of goals was to make his personal Pirates of the Caribbean (as a result of, like Polygon, The Rock actually loves Pirates of the Caribbean). So he went off and made Jungle Cruise.
“DJ all the time had a dream of doing an enormous Disney film,” Hiram Garcia, president of Seven Bucks Productions, tells Polygon. “He was so enamored with Pirates. The primary time he noticed the primary trailer for Pirates, and seeing that journey come to life, and what the journey meant to followers, to see that world, he was all the time like, ‘Man, I hope at some point I can get to some extent the place Disney would would need to do one thing like that with me.’”
Within the early days, Johnson was all the time attempting to crack the code of what a larger-than-life, wrestling-anointed performer was speculated to do on the massive display screen. His main break got here from 2001’s The Mummy Returns, together with his cameo because the Scorpion King, a job souped up with then-state-of-the-art-technology. (“The Scorpion King got here in a very robust time of CG,” Garcia says with amusing. “For those who ever return and watch that he was actually not concerned.”) However Johnson spun a second of cringe right into a franchise — his work on the sequence spinoff The Scorpion King would set the adventurous tone for his profession. He dabbled in children films, related with auteurs, latched himself on to the Quick franchise, however finally Johnson figured himself out. A part of that was establishing Seven Bucks Productions, with the intention to do what he actually wished to do: make large films that mass audiences need to see. Some would possibly increase an eyebrow over Johnson’s commerce-meets-art method, however as Garcia places it, that’s simply the P.T. Barnum-esque dream.
“We completely love four-quadrant storytelling,” Garcia says. “I feel for us — Dany [Garcia, Seven Bucks co-founder], Dwayne, myself — we’ve all the time been followers of four-quad films like Jurassic Park, ET, Again to the Future, the sort of storytelling you could take the entire household to, eight to 80, everybody has time. That’s the utmost model of an enormous communal theatrical expertise.”
The plan has translated to every thing from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to Rampage to Stephen Service provider’s extra intimate wrestling-themed comedy Combating with My Household. However Jungle Cruise, it seems, is the fruits of a variety of Johnson’s pursuits.
“Mockingly, Jungle Cruise was DJ’s favourite journey,” Garcia says. “And fortunately, Disney was in a spot the place they have been eager about attempting to get one thing go along with Jungle Cruise. However DJ had this want that we by no means even knew that he had this aspiration of like, ‘Someday I need to, I need to have the ability to try this.’ So all of it got here collectively. All of it got here collectively in a good way simply a number of years later from the primary time we talked about it.”
Whereas Jungle Cruise makes good on Johnson’s dream to guide a film within the mould of Pirates, Indiana Jones, and The Mummy, it’s additionally given him one other key collaborator: The Shallows and Non-Cease director Jaume Collet-Serra. The 2 cast such a connection on the set of the Disney journey film that Johnson recruited the director to helm his long-gestating comedian e book film, Black Adam.
“I feel every thing that occurred for a purpose,” Garcia says with absolute glee in his voice. “I keep in mind whereas we have been filming Jungle Cruise, having a lunch with Jaume and being like, ‘Dude, you’d be so excellent for Black Adam, let me pitch you this film that we have now this concept what we need to do. And fortunately, he was like, ‘Oh, completely’ — it match every thing that he wished to do. And Jaume, as you possibly can think about, having such a historical past in style, and understanding edge and the sort of scares we wished, he was excellent for Black Adam. However on the similar time, I used to be additionally watching him do that huge world-building film with Jungle Cruise. So in Jaume, we may merge the all the weather we wished for this.”
For extra on Black Adam and Johnson’s future tasks, verify again subsequent week for the remainder of our interview with Garcia. Jungle Cruise is out now in theaters and Disney Plus Premier Entry.