Jack Whitehall has revealed he based his character in the new Disney adventure film Jungle Cruise on his father.
The British comedian and actor (33) stars in the movie – which is based on the popular theme park ride – alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt.
Whitehall plays MacGregor, the younger brother of Blunt’s adventurer who is on a jungle mission to find the mythical Tree of Life.
He revealed inspiration for the “upper class English gentleman” MacGregor came from his father Michael, a TV producer who he starred alongside in Netflix comedy Travels With My Father.
Speaking at the Jungle Cruise world premiere at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Whitehall told the PA news agency: “My character is MacGregor, he is a sort of well-heeled, upper class English gentleman who doesn’t really want to be there, looks down his nose a bit at the rustic accommodation, very well-dressed, dry sense of humour.
“He’s basically like my dad, that’s slightly who it was modelled on.”
Whitehall said he is yet to tell his father but believes he will recognise the portrayal when he sees Jungle Cruise.
He added: “I think he will appreciate the dress, he’ll appreciate the sartorial splendour of MacGregor if nothing else.”
Jungle Cruise stars Johnson as riverboat captain Frank Wolff while Blunt plays the charismatic Dr Lily Houghton, who is on a quest to find a tree with healing powers.
The film also stars Edgar Ramirez and Jesse Plemons as antagonists.
Whitehall admitted being intimidated by former professional wrestler Johnson, 49, but revealed the Hollywood actor is down-to-Earth on set.
He told PA: “You know what, he’s actually a big softie. And he’s got a great sense of humour, doesn’t take himself too seriously. I was a little bit intimidated, because I’m a big wrestling fan and was obsessed with him when I was a kid, but he’s a really, really nice bloke and is very down to Earth.”
Whitehall was also full of praise for his on screen big sister Blunt, 38.
— Jungle Cruise (@JungleCruise) July 21, 2021
“Emily is fantastic,” he said. “She’s an actress I’ve admired for so long and we get on like a house on fire, have (a) very similar sense of humour. Yeah, it was very easy, she’s like the sister I never had. Although I need to stop saying that in interviews because my actual sister gets really upset.”
Stand-up comedian Whitehall also describes himself as a fan of the Jungle Cruise theme park ride and suggested it may have put him on the path to comedy.
He said: “I had been on the ride as a kid, I remember the jokes and obviously I ended up becoming a stand-up comedian so maybe it had some influence on my career. I didn’t realise it at the time but who knows, that may have been a formulative experience for me.”