Jumanji: The Next Level brings back the beloved cast for another round of adventure with even more heart. The film is anchored once more by Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson, the latter of whom worked on the producing side as well. The stars sat down with Screen Rant and shared their expectations for the sequel as well as the future of the franchise.
Amazing job on this film, guys. This is the reason I go to movies; I walked out with the biggest smile on my face. Thank you guys so much. Talk to me about how the story and scope grow in the sequel to Jumanji.
Kevin Hart: I think the best thing to start with is the expectations to exceed what we did the first time were extremely high. And nobody wanted to step into it without the feeling that we were doing just that, so we had an amazing team – from writers, directors, all the producers on hand that were involved – and Dwayne, I know you were part of the creative side of it in the beginning as well.
Dwayne Johnson: Yeah, we just wanted to make sure that we grew the whole franchise out and introduced some new characters. Grew out the Jumanji universe, where maybe we can explore multiple Jumanji universes. And also make sure that we have the fundamental core element that made us all as actors and participants in it feel great about what we did, and also had this global appeal. And that the anchor was heart; to make sure that we had the heart in the movie.
And this movie has a ton of heart; it gave me such a great feeling. Both Danny DeVito and Danny Glover have such distinct personalities. How did you approach playing them without being caricatures of them?
Kevin Hart: That’s a good question. You know, you want to ground it as much as you can. Because the idea behind what we’re doing is so big, and the comedy within that is so big. But if done wrong, it’s really wrong. Either you hit it out the park, or you don’t. There’s no in between.
I think we all had the same understanding of grounding it as much as we could, so that we could capture the levels that went with the role and ultimately stay true to the core of what the movie’s about. Without giving too much away.
Dwayne, I’m a huge Black Adam fan. 52, the comic, was my jam and I became a huge fan of his. Do you think that we’ll see him fight against Shazam in that film, or is that later on down the line?
Dwayne Johnson: In the film that we’re going to make? I’m underneath the script. And without giving too much away, it’s not in the plans right now. I think the approach that we’re taking is one that I feel really good about, and all the filmmakers do too, as well. It’s an origin story, and I think that’s where we start it and we root it, and then we build out from there. Now, not to say that Shazam isn’t on my radar. Of course, Shazam is, but so is all of DC.
I can’t wait. JSA was my jam growing up.
Dwayne Johnson: And we will introduce you to them, and the world to JSA.
I can’t wait for that. You guys obviously did a great job with playing the Dannys, and this seems like this would be a great opportunity for a trilogy. Are there any other actors that you’d want to be avatars for that aren’t in the franchise currently?
Kevin Hart: There’s a long list. Here’s the thing, you know…
Dwayne Johnson: That’s the beauty of Jumanji, right? It’s like you can bring in anyone who would stand out.
Kevin Hart: Whoever. We’re avatars, so the world of fun around choosing the avatar is endless. I don’t want to start to peel that onion back. We talked about it, definitely. But it’s like, you start these conversations. They trickle and they become, “Oh my God!”
…So, I think us as a group figuring out who or what is interesting and exciting, but I’m telling you: my list? There’s a great list of people that I know I could have fun portraying.
Dwayne Johnson: Yeah, look. Not only is there a great list of people, but also – because Hollywood is big, yet Hollywood is very small and into its circles. There were a lot of our friends, men and women, who had their hands up like, “Can I come play? Because I would love for you to embody me,” and this person said, “I would love to become Kevin.” So, that’s coming down the line.
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