Dwayne Johnson to Star in 'Jungle Cruise' Movie for Disney (Exclusive)

Dwayne Johnson
<p>Five years after Johnson started wrestling, a 2000 hosting stint on <em>Saturday Night Live</em> led to <em>The Mummy Returns</em>, which was followed by more than a dozen films including 2005&rsquo;s<em> Be Cool</em>, 2007&rsquo;s <em>The Game Plan</em> and 2008&rsquo;s <em>Get Smart.</em> Still, the star knew something was missing. &quot;I was told that I had to conform to a standard in Hollywood that would beget me more work, better roles,&quot; he explains. &quot;Which meant I had to stop going to the gym, which meant I couldn&rsquo;t be as big, which meant you had to distance yourself from wrestling. You essentially had to deconstruct yourself.&quot;</p>   |   Austin Hargrave
John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, the duo behind the Will Smith heist movie 'Focus,' have been tapped to write the script.

Dwayne Johnson is teaming up with Disney to translate a theme park ride to the big screen.

Johnson is attached to star in Jungle Cruise, based on the classic ride, while John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, the duo behind the Will Smith heist movie Focus, have been tapped to write the script.

The duo, who have directed movies such as Focus and Crazy, Stupid, Love, are not attached to helm at this stage.

John Davis and John Fox of Davis Entertainment, the banner behind Man From U.N.C.L.E., are producing.

Johnson’s involvement once again puts the Jungle boat back into the water after a multiyear dry-dock phase.

Disney has been trying to mount a movie based on the popular ride since at least 2004, during the years when the success of The Pirates of the Caribbean set sail many ride-based projects.

The studio last tried to develop the project as a starring vehicle for Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in early 2011 with writer Roger S.H. Schulman.

Jungle Cruise is one of the Disneyland’s original rides and has a retro adventure vibe, transporting parkgoers into a melange of African settings such as the Nile River and Congo River, encountering rhinos and hippos and headhunters along the way. There’s an Amazon River section featuring piranhas.

While the Hanks-Allen iteration was to have been set in modern times, the new take brings the project back to its’ period roots with even the intent to harken Cruise to movies such as The African Queen, the 1951 classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn adventure movie that was one of the original inspirations for the ride.

Johnson is pumped to take a ride down the river: “[Disney production president] Sean Bailey and Disney have been awesome partners and now the fun part begins ... We’re starting to put in the work with Requa and Ficarra and our creative team. Fired up about this one. Here we go.”

The project is in early development, and it’s unclear where it would fit into Johnson’s busy schedule. The actor is currently shooting the action comedy Central Intelligence for New Line and will shoot Baywatch with Zac Efron early next year. He is also due to reteam with his San Andreas director Brad Peyton for New Line’s adaptation of the video game Rampage.

Also on the docket, although without any specific dates, are a new Fast & Furious movie and a Shazam! movie.

The actor already has an anchor in Disney by being a lead voice in Moana, the animated project that emerged as one of the buzzy movies out of company's D23 Expo last weekend.

Kristin Burr is overseeing Cruise for Disney.

Johnson is repped by WME, The Garcia Companies and Gang Tyre. Requa and Ficarra, whose writing credits also include Cats & Dogs and Bad Santa, are repped by CAA and McKuin Frankel.