How Emily Blunt was won over by the Jungle Cruise script

Jungle Cruise
(Image credit: Disney)

Before Blunt read the script for Jungle Cruise, she wasn’t convinced by the idea of playing the movie's female lead.

“It sounded like maybe it would be the girlfriend part or something,” she chuckles while speaking to Total Film for the new issue of the magazine, which features Jungle Cruise on the cover. “I just imagined... I’m like the damsel tied to a tree.” 

Then she read Lily’s introductory scene, as she sneaks around a private library in Piccadilly Circus, looking for some vital clues to lead her to the Amazon and the so-called “legend of the tears of the moon”, where she hopes to find the Tree of Life, said to have the potential to cure all ailments. 

It quickly became apparent that Dr. Lily Houghton is anything but a damsel in distress. “She’s really free-spirited and tenacious and funny and heedless,” says Blunt. “She’s the worst person possible for the rather cynical, jaded Frank.” Calling her “recklessly brave”, she adds, “She’s the kind of character who thinks she knows everything.” 

Wearing rust-colored slacks, brown boots, and a mint-green blouse while on the set of Jungle Cruise – which Total Film visited – Blunt’s blonde hair is piled under headwear that immediately screams ‘Indiana Jones’.

“Why do you think I picked this hat?!” she smirks. 

From vine-swinging to ziplining and running over rooftops, there’s been plenty of action for Blunt, though this morning she’s been shooting a more leisurely hop onto Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's character's boat from the jetty with the help of her brother McGregor – played by British actor/ comedian Jack Whitehall. Dressed in a cream three-piece suit and tie, the Fresh Meat star looks deliciously out-of-place. “He’s absolutely hilarious,” Blunt remarks (it was she who chemistry-read in New York with all of her potential ‘siblings’ before clicking with Whitehall). “We all find ourselves rather too funny on this film. We’ll see if everyone else does!”

For the full set visit – and more from the cast and crew behind Jungle Cruise – be sure to pick up the new issue of Total Film, available on newsstands this Friday (June 25) and already in subscribers' hands. Never miss another issue and subscribe to Total Film magazine – not only do you get exclusives before anyone else, but you also get a special subscribers-only cover.

Total Film's Jungle Cruise covers

(Image credit: Disney/Total Film)

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(Image credit: Total Film/Disney/Warner Bros)
Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood.