Jungle Cruise actor Edgar Ramirez’s plea after grandmother’s death

Edgar Ramirez finds himself in the unusual position of having to promote a movie he filmed three years ago, Disney’s Jungle Cruise, a week after his grandmother’s death.

But the Venezuelan actor, best known for his roles in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Zero Dark Thirty and Carlos, is upbeat in trying to use the opportunity to remind everyone of the seriousness of the covid pandemic – revealing how it’s marked his own family.

“We have lost so many loved ones, particularly in my family,” Ramirez tells news.com.au over Zoom from Disneyland in Los Angeles, seated next to the Jungle Cruise ride the movie is inspired by. “I lost my grandmother a week ago to covid, and I have members of my family who are in the hospital right now, fighting for their lives.

“I hope that we can use this conversation to remind everyone that the pandemic is not over, that we need to trust science, that we need to get vaccinated, be responsible with the kind of information that we share, and that we should not participate in the dissemination of misinformation.

“It’s very important that we all do our part and that we protect ourselves and that we protect each other. We’re going to come out of this.

“We’ve done it before, and we’ve done it through trust in science, and we’ve done it through vaccines. Not only did we beat polio and other diseases in the past, entire continents have come out of misery because of the vaccine.

“The history of vaccines is palpable – and I hope that we keep doing our part so we can come out of this as soon as possible.”

Ramirez argues that a movie like Jungle Cruise, which also stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall, can be a much-needed escape for a world that’s been put through the wringer for more than a year and counting.

Set in the early 20th century, the movie is the story of a British botanist (Blunt) who drags her posh brother (Whitehall) to the Amazon in search of a mythical plant with leaves said to cure any disease and break any curse.

Ramirez’s character is a Spanish conquistador named Aguirre, cursed four centuries earlier during his own quest for the plant, and, ostensibly, one of the villains of the film.

Jungle Cruise is a fantastical story, packed with ambitious action set pieces and family friendly conflict. Its larger-than-life tone is what Ramirez thinks can be the distraction audiences are looking for.

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“This movie is so needed, an experience like this is so needed,” he says. “A window of escape, just a healthy few minutes of detachment from reality is most needed. And I’m very glad that we’re able to show this movie to the world.

“I hope people can find solace and can find comfort and joy watching this beautiful, big adventure.

“The main reason – at least on a personal level – why I go to the movies is because I want to be detached from my own reality, I want to be invited into the unknown, into a world that is far away from mine.

“I want to be able to dream of a world that is larger than mine. I think Jungle Cruise does an amazing job in taking us on a journey.”

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It’s not just the adventure aspect of Jungle Cruise, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, that attracted Ramirez. It was also the opportunity to play a Spanish-speaking character in a production with the scale and reach of a Disney release.

“It reflects the multicultural world that we’re living in, and I think it’s a beautiful and necessary reflection of the diverse reality in which we’re living.

“I welcome it with huge enthusiasm, that more and more, especially on a movie of this scale, mainstream media and cultural products are becoming a reflection of the world we live in.

“It gives not only a sense of reality but also colour, texture and layers.”

Jungle Cruise is in cinemas from Thursday and on streaming through Disney+’s Premier Access ($34.99) from Friday

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