Disney’s Jungle Cruise: Emily vs Dwayne – who’s the real star?

© The Walt Disney Studios 2021

As Disney’s Jungle Cruise hits cinemas, the fantastical adventure’s two stars, Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson have doubled down on their characters’ on-screen rivalry with tongue-in-cheek burns and some sublime Hollywood hazing.

So, who is the real hero/star of Jungle Cruise?

Jungle Cruise release date: 30 July 2021

ODEON meets the cast of Disney's Jungle Cruise

We sat down with Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson, and Jack Whitehall and found out why Jungle Cruise is the summer's family adventure you mustn't miss.

Disney’s Jungle Cruise – the adventure of a lifetime in a nutshell

As with the immensely successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise before it, Disney’s Jungle Cruise is a fast-paced and funny fantasy adventure inspired by a beloved Disneyland attraction.

It stars the effortlessly charismatic duo of Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns) as riverboat skipper Frank Wolff and Dr. Lily Houghton – a pair of forceful personalities thrown together on an expedition into the heart of the Amazon to find the fabled Tree of Life. However, not only are the tree’s guardians very keen to keep its supernatural secrets but there’s a rival expedition that’ll stop at nothing to beat our heroes to the finish line.

Want to know more about the film’s plot, cast and origins?

Our comprehensive roundup has everything you want to know about Disney’s Jungle Cruise.

In the meantime, enjoy this mini featurette and look out for an early glimmer of Emily and Dwayne’s tongue-in-cheek rivalry as she claims to be able to bench press more than her man-mountain co-star.


Disney’s Jungle Cruise – Emily vs Dwayne: how it started

It’s easy to see how the good-natured hazing between Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson began. Their characters, Dr. Lily Houghton and Skipper Frank Wolff, are like chalk and cheese.

He’s a cynical, seen-it-all riverboat captain on the Amazon – making a living taking gullible tourists on fake adventures down the river. She’s an idealistic scientist set on taking an expedition to locate the mythical Tree of Life – something Frank has tried and failed to find for years.

Worse still, Frank and Lily are absolutely convinced that they are right in any given situation.

No doubt about it, it’s a volatile mix of personalities that’s going to create some inspired on-screen fireworks as Lily and Frank spar and bicker their way into life-threatening peril after peril.


But – and we love this – their good-natured mutual hazing has also taken on a life of its own off-screen.

And it started with a pair of mini announcement featurettes that bookended Jungle Cruise’s production.

From Johnson interrupting what Blunt thought was her solo clip (and stepping on her lines), and her correcting his classic movie knowledge (Kathleen Hepburn?), to Emily’s shoot-wrap comment about Dwayne’s sweaty skipper cap, the pair brilliantly lean into the roles of mutually upstaging Hollywood divas.


Disney’s Jungle Cruise – Emily vs Dwayne: how it’s going

Little did we know, however, that the two stars of Disney’s Jungle Cruise weren’t done with their tongue-in-cheek one-upmanship. With a month to go before Jungle Cruise’s 30 July release date, Disney dropped a pair of suspiciously one-sided trailers, each of which was introduced by the supposed ‘real’ star of the film.

Dwayne Johnson as Skipper Frank Wolff in Disney’s Jungle Cruise.

© The Walt Disney Studios 2021

Dwayne Johnson and the Skipper Frank trailer

First up was Dwayne Johnson who hilariously sets the scene for the Skipper Frank trailer by positioning himself firmly in the starring role before ‘forgetting’ his co-star’s name (twice), growling his disapproval at an underling who corrects him off-screen, and finally calling her Ethel Brunt.

(And that was just the start of poor Ethel’s trailer mistreatment.) 


The trailer itself brilliantly bigs up Skipper Frank’s heroism at every turn, often at the expense of ‘Ethel Brunt’.

Our favourite bit?

The laugh-out-loud mega-font used for ‘Dwayne Johnson’ followed by the almost-too-small-to-see version used for ‘Emily Blunt’ name.

At least they spelt it correctly…

Emily Blunt as Dr. Lily Houghton in Disney’s Jungle Cruise.

© The Walt Disney Studios 2021

Emily Blunt and the Dr. Lily Houghton trailer

Emily Blunt was not to be outdone by her co-star, however.

Shortly after the Skipper Frank trailer dropped, the actress introduced a brand new trailer – the Dr. Lily Houghton trailer – taking the time to apologise for Johnson’s “desperate, delusional, sad trailer that bears no relation to the film we actually made.”

Blunt then goes on to describe Dr. Lily as brave, fearless, wild and brilliant minded (which she absolutely is), before delivering the ultimate burn by forgetting Johnson’s name, calling him a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him, “lovely little up-and-comer, Dave Gobson”. Needless to say, the ensuing trailer makes Blunt’s Dr Lily look incredibly heroic, and ‘Dave Gobson’ look like a bit of an idiot. 

It may be a pretend spat but it’s great to see two of the most likeable movie stars in the world playing against type and trying to outshine one another in the run-up to what promises to be an incredibly entertaining family-friendly summer blockbuster.


Team Emily vs Team Dwayne – who wins?

And so, in Jungle Cruise’s battle of Hollywood egos off-screen and sheer heroism on-screen, who wins?

Will it be Blunt and her resourceful, brave and whip-smart Dr. Lily Houghton, or Johnson and his formidable, highly skilled and unflappable Skipper Frank? 

Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson and director Jaume Collet-Serra watch playback of a scene during the filming of Disney’s Jungle Cruise.

© The Walt Disney Studios 2021

Naturally, there’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s by grabbing your compass and setting a course for ODEON from 30 July for the adventure of a lifetime.

But, even before you book Disney’s Jungle Cruise tickets and set sail, we can’t help feeling the real winners are going to be film lovers looking for a phenomenally fun big-screen adventure that the whole family will love.



Disney's Jungle Cruise sails into ODEON cinemas from 30 July

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