For some people, 1995’s Jumanji is a childhood classic. For those who never saw Joe Johnston’s action adventure tale, it follows a young boy who gets sucked into a board game he finds at a construction site. Forty years later, the game resurfaces, he comes out a full-grown adult (played by Robin Williams), and he has to finish the game while jungle creatures wreak havoc on a small town. The concept of a game coming to life and having life-or-death stakes is fun, and for me, the original film isn’t so sacrosanct that moving that concept forward would be blasphemy.
Enter Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The upcoming film finds that the board game has taken a new form, this time as a video game. When four teenagers find themselves in detention, they discover the Jumanji video game. After booting it up and choosing characters to play, the get sucked into the game and discover they’ve been transformed into their avatar bodies. Armed with new abilities and no idea how to escape, the quartet must figure out how to finish the game and get back to the real world.
Last October, a group of fellow journalists and I traveled to Hawaii to visit the set of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Although some sets show you a bunch of stuff and take you around various departments, this was all about being on location and taking in the natural wonder of our location. As for the scene itself, you’ve already seen it in the trailer—it’s the group discovering that they each have special abilities except for Kevin Hart’s character, who learns that cake is his weakness.
So rather than tell you all about a scene you’ve already seen, I’m going to tell you about the cool things we learned from our interviews with stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas, producer Matt Tolmach, and director Jake Kasdan (an interview we conducted last week since he was unavailable when we were on set).