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IT'S OFFICIAL: An ol' friend is ready to play in the world of #JUMANJI… JACK (mf'n) BLACK. Been a big fan of his work over the years. A brilliant actor who I'm confident will turn in a performance of a lifetime for JUMANJI. (when we reveal his character you'll understand;). In our reimagining of the story of JUMANJI, Jack brings that rare balance of cool with funny and edge with childlike joy. The "Jumanji Breakfast Club" is coming together.. myself, Jack (mf'n) Black and Kevin Hart. Two big roles left. One bad ass girl. One semi-sorta bad ass dude. Who will they be… this is gonna be fun. #JUMANJI #WelcomesJackBlack #JustPressStart #TheGameThatPlaysYou
It’s one of those movies that, if you remember, you remember it fondly. It is “Jumanji,” the 1995 Robin Williams film that was an early pioneer in CGI and a massive family hit. Twenty years later, Dwayne Johnson is headlining a new take on the board game that plays you — and details are beginning to leak about the project, which is now gaining Jack Black as a co-star.
How will it be different? What will be the same? Below, we comb through the clues that The Rock has been dropping on his immensely-popular social media handles.
No longer a one-man show
The original “Jumanji” had one massive star in Williams — and then some kids and other characters who were along for the ride. In the remake, currently slated for a July 2017 release, The Rock is assembling what he refers to as “The Jumanji Breakfast Club,” which currently consists of 3 actors big enough to earn substantial roles in any film: Himself, Black and Kevin Hart.
There’s more to come: According to Johnson, himself and director Jake Kasden (“The Zero Effect”) still need to cast “one bad-ass girl. One semi-sorta bad-ass dude.” It’s not clear whether this refers to the little girl and boy roles from the original film — or two more adults.
RIP Robin Williams
Insisting that “The love and respect I have for this man is boundless,” The Rock has revealed that this new film will pay tribute to the actor, who died in 2014. “You have my word, we will honor his name and the character of “Alan Parrish,’ will stand alone and be forever immortalized in the world of ‘Jumanji’ in an earnest and cool way.'”
Reading between the lines, we’re guessing that none of the actors in the remake will actually be playing Williams’ iconic character. Instead, there will likely be some sort of reference or some significant set piece named in honor of the character.
“I have an idea of what to do,” writes The Rock. “And I think his family will be proud.”
Is it a video game?
In the original film, a board game comes to life and transports Alan Parrish and the Shepard kids into a world of adventure. But Johnson keeps hashtagging his posts with #JustPressPlay, which would seem to indicate the playing of a videogame rather than one with a board and dice.
If so, The Rock’s “Jumanji” could be more like a cross between “PIxels” and “The Last Starfighter” than the original “Jumanji” formula of “Stand By Me” meets Spielberg. It’s an intriguing idea — but don’t be surprised if the purists start howling.
Say goodbye to New England
In the original film, two New Hampshire towns played a key role: The fictional Brantford where the film was set — and the real-life town of Keene, where the majority of the movie was filmed (and if you go there, you’ll still see signs marking key production locales). Additional footage was shot in Vancouver, but in essence, the bucolic streets and town square of “Brantford” was as much of a character as any of the humans in the film.
Dwayne Johnson’s “Jumanji,” however, starts shooting in August in Hawaii. Which could double for plenty of locations — we’re thinking jungles — but it sure as heck doesn’t look like Keene, New Hampshire.
The effects will be better
The original “Jumanji” was produced at a time when computer-generated images were just beginning to appear in movies, and constantly hitting roadblocks. For years, the concept of “hair” was a sticking point, with animators finding it very difficult to create anything with thousands of hairs on it.
It cannot be overstated, then, what a breakthrough the monkeys in “Jumanji” were. Appropriately enough they were scene-stealers — a money shot in the film.
In 2016, obviously, animators can create the illusion of jungle animals running through the streets with one hand tied behind their back. So, look for this new “Jumanji” to have an effects team who can dedicate far more time to non-hair matters — and turn this cinematic spectacle into a whole new game.