With Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle now playing in theaters, I was recently asked to cover the press junket in Hawaii for Collider. One of the highlights of this assignment was getting to interview Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black.
All three actors along with Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy) play in-game avatars for four high school kids who are serving detention for a variety of reasons. While serving their detention in the school’s utility room, they stumble upon a video game version of the “Jumanji” board game from the original movie. As they start to play the game, they are transported inside the world of Jumanji and are tasked with saving it. They discover that their in-game avatars highlight an area of their lives that they need to address in order to be more confident as people. They also discover that the possibility of death is ever present as they find that they only have three lives to spend before it . The movie follows their attempts to find their way back home by defeating the villain (played by a snarling and menacing Bobby Cannavale) and returning an ancient artifact back to its rightful place. Along the way, they learn to work together as a team by confronting their own insecurities and learning to trust the individual strengths each brings to the team.
In approaching my interview with Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black, I didn’t want to ask the standard questions about what drew them to the film or how much work they put into creating their characters or even what they discovered about themselves during the filmmaking process. I chose to bring a little of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown flavor to this interview by channeling a little bit of The Outlaw character I play in the Schmoedown. Knowing Johnson is a future Hall of Fame wrestler (whose antics I enjoyed for years), Black had played a professional wrestler in Nacho Libre and Hart is an incredibly sharp and funny comedian, I thought it would be a fun game to challenge Kevin and Jack to a “Promo Off” to support the movie with Dwayne serving as the judge.
Check out the video above to see how it went! Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is now in theaters.