behind the attraction

Dwayne Johnson soon stars in Disney’s live-action theatrical riff on Jungle Cruise, based on one of the company’s classic theme park rides. But Johnson’s interest in Disney parks evidently extends beyond that single ride: a new report says he will executive produce a Disney+ show called Behind the Attraction which traces the history and evolution of Disney theme park rides over the years. Read more about the upcoming project below.

According to Disney’s official D23 website, the new show will have ten one-hour episodes and “will give viewers an exclusive glimpse ‘behind the curtain’ of some of Disney’s most popular attractions by speaking directly with Disney’s Imagineers and other creative minds involved in bringing each to life. The episodes will feature a deep-dive into the storied history of how these popular Disney attractions came to be, and how they’ve been refined as new ideas surface and technology evolved. It will also feature special interactions with the fans who lovingly obsess over every magical detail.”

This sounds like exactly the kind of content we’re going to be seeing a lot of from Disney+, and for good reason: docuseries like this are far cheaper to produce than multi-million-dollar mega-shows like The Mandalorian, and since this series revolves solely around the Disney brand, it helps to buoy the company’s legend by shaping the stories about itself. Never before has Disney had the opportunity to chronicle its own history and feed it to consumers in such a direct, widespread manner.

As for Johnson, he already has a long history with Disney: he appeared on an episode of Hannah Montana way back in 2007 and then starred in The Game Plan, Race to Witch Mountain, and later played a major role in the animated hit Moana. That history itself would be enough, but Johnson’s involvement with Behind the Attraction makes even more sense when you remember that he’s playing a skipper tasked with taking a woman (Emily Blunt) and her brother to a mythical tree in Jungle Cruise. (That movie was originally slated to hit theaters in just a few days, but has since been bumped back to July 2020.) Here’s his statement about the new show:

“Since 1955, when Disneyland first opened its doors, the rides and attractions have been impacting generations in such a fun and magical way around the world. This first-of-its-kind series will bring you behind the scenes to experience and celebrate how these beloved attractions creatively came to be. Hope to make Walt and the ‘mouse house’ proud with this one.”

Johnson has expressed a deep appreciation for the Imagineers responsible for the original ride and for Walt Disney’s vision, so seeing him executive produce a show that explores these rides in detail isn’t surprising. We await his inevitable on-screen cameo in the Jungle Cruise episode.

Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions is teaming up with The Nacelle Company (Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us) for this show, and Johnson will executive produce alongside Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz, and Kevin Hill from Seven Bucks and Brian Volk-Weiss, Robin Henry, and Cisco Henson from The Nacelle Company. Volk-Weiss is also set to direct the series, but there’s no release date set yet. The Disney+ streaming service debuts on November 12, 2019.

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