I was in a Hawaii a few weeks ago as you know, attending the press event for the movie Jumanji! So many exciting things happened and I will be sharing it all with you, but having a chance to interview the Director Jake Kasdan and Producer Matt Tolmach was definitely a treat!
We were able to have an insiders’ view of the movie and the process behind its creation, cast choice and so much more, which I will be sharing with you!
Here are some of my favorite moments:
Q: I really enjoy how the female character in the game came out of her cocoon and the female character that was self-absorbed became something she never thought of herself. Where did the idea, the ability to give females Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle their own type of empowerment come from?
JK: That was really important to us. We talked about how we were representing the female characters and what their journeys would be.
In particular we were very focused on how to tell the story. Both female characters experienced this arc and growth on the basis of these diametrically opposed journeys. Karen Gillian did such a spectacular job playing the girl coming out of her shell and discovering that inner badass.
I was very aware that I wanted my daughter to watch this movie. I want to be able to feel really good about what she’s seeing.
Q: Casting Jack Black as Bethany was brilliant. Who’s idea was that?
JK: I would say that he’s so clearly the perfect person for this role that it almost wasn’t even an idea anyone had to have.
I’ve worked with him a lot. We did Orange County together which was an early work for both of us. I’m well-versed in his genius and I think he’s just incredible–one of my absolute favorite people to work with. He’s the best, and I had a strong sense that he would be brilliant as Bethany.
Q: We talked about Chris McKenna and how Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a departure for him. An action movie also seems like a big change for you. How did that come about?
JK: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and that was one of the most exciting parts of this. I’ve mostly made sort of edgy, R-rated comedies, which I love. But I love all kinds of movies and this is a kind of movie that I’ve always adored and wanted to try.
One of the biggest parts was that it could be this big comedy but we could do real action sequences with real stakes. There’s a lot that goes into that and it was a huge learning experience.
Matt and I set out from the beginning to put a team together who could help me figure out how to do the moments while I could talk about the story. We just had a great team.
Q: Is it a secret that Colin Hanks is Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle? I didn’t see anything about him in anything I read.
JK: We’re kind of trying to let it be a surprise to people to whatever extend we can. We realize that it’s awfully hard to control these things, but we do feel like it’s a nice surprise for people.
Q: What brought you to this project and what inspired your direction in the storyline?
Matt Tolmach: I had always loved Jumanji. I loved the original movie and I loved the book. I had been reading the book to my son. His preschool asked parents to come in, choose a book and read it to the class. I read Jumanji.
I had been working at Columbia pictures and the original movie was a Sony movie – a Tristar movie.
I sort of watched the reactions of the kids when I was reading it. It was wonder and an incredible sort of fantasy and reaction that we all have to the notion of games: What if games could come to life?
It was incredibly captivating!
So I decided I would venture into trying to figure out another version of the movie. Sort of toiled with it for a while and worked with an inventive writer. It didn’t really take shape until I reached out to my old pal Jake, who I worked with and known for a while. We began to figure out what the best version of this movie could be and would be.
Jake Kasdan: I came to it because Matt sent me this script that Chri McKenna, who’s a really smart, hilarious guy who’s worked on a bunch of really funny, well known, hilarious shows, had this idea which is that you could invert the game, going the world, the way to update it would be to take it a long way from the original movie that we all love, so we’re not just doing it again.
We feel like the mistake that people make sometimes is to take something that everybody loves then do a lesser new version. We didn’t want to do that. We loved the original movie, it had it’s own sort of magnitude and resonance for people.
What Robin did in that movie is so important to so many people and we wanted to honor that but do something completely different so we wouldn’t be retreading the same ground.
Chris came up with a really funny way to do that. To me, that was really what I really responded to. I just thought it was a great idea to enter the game in the bodies of these avatar characters. It’s a big comedy idea but it also felt like we had this really great opportunity: what would you learn about yourself if you could spend a day in somebody else’s skin? That was the big great idea to me. It could be both funny and interesting.
Are you ready to explore the Jungle? I welcome you to join me in this adventure and grabbing your tickets HERE! I’ve grabbed mine, I know my son will love it!
Jumanji:Welcome To The Jungle opens in theaters everywhere Dec, 20th
Can’t wait to hear what you think! As usual, give us a Trendy Shout!
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures