I got the opportunity to attend the UK premiere of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle where I interviewed Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillen, Nick Jonas and filmmaker Jake Kasdan.
The film – which is a sequel to the hit Robin Williams’ 1995 classic – takes a twist on the original movie with the character being transported inside the game and becoming the avatars they have chosen to play with.
Here are my interviews with the cast and director of the hilarious new comedy.
Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black
The first film was such a beloved classic, how did it feel being part of the sequel?
DJ: It’s an honour. I don’t say that little, we all feel that way. The first one is a beloved title and we really wanted to make a movie that the world will hopefully enjoy and that we had a great time making it and you know, not to sound over earnest about it, but we truly mean this, is something that would make Robin proud. Robin influenced us tremendously and his family as well.
KV: Can’t say it better than that. Well spoke.
Was the relationship the same off-screen?
KV: You know, what you guys see is literally what it was. I mean, you’re looking at authenticity at its finest. We’re friends on camera and even bigger and better friends off camera. And when you have that chemistry, it just gives you every component to make the biggest and best movie you can possibly can and we all did that. It was a testament to all of the personalities involved.
How will the audience take seeing it on a big screen for the first time?
KV: You know, my take is I’m in it. So you know it’s going to be good, and Jack Black is in it. Movie dips a little when DJ hits the screen. Takes a little dip but me and Jack come back and it comes back up. Don’t think it’s going to go down too long
DJ: When I come on screen it’s a piss break. Anyone want anymore popcorn?
Jack, you play a 16-year-old girl, how did you get into character?
JB: It was like that. I got hypnotised. I told a hypnotist I have to be a16-year-old girl and he gave me a thing and just snap once and I was in.
What drew you to the film?
Because I am the biggest fan of the original ever. I’m gonna go ahead and say the number one fan so when I heard that they were making a sequel to it, I was first of all like ‘what are they going to do with my Jumanji?’ and then I read the script and learned it was going to be very special and then I just really wanted to be part of it.
You say you’re a big fan of the original, so am I, but does this film live up to the Robin Williams classic?
I think so. It’s hard to compare them. The original is so brilliant but this is a movie in its own right. I mean we pay homage to the original but this is a different concept so we’ve, you know, evolved it a little. So I can’t really out them head to head because I love them both so much.
Energetic character both in this movie and in Guardians of the Galaxy, what is your training schedule like?
When I was shooting this I was just training every second that I had. I was doing a lot of fight choreography and dance lessons basically so it was actually really intense but I’ve calmed down a little bit. Nebula might be a little less in shape these days.
How is Avengers going?
It’s amazing. It’s going to be the most epic, cinematic event of all time.
What drew you to the film?
A lot of things did. I was obviously a huge fan of the original. Robin Williams’ performance is brilliant. The film as a whole is one of my favourites so to be able to be part of something like this that has a legacy like that is something special. But when I read the script, I fell in love with all these characters and the use of the body swap in this way was really original and I knew they would nail. And this cast is just dynamite
The film is hilarious on screen but was it the same off camera?
It was just as funny off-screen, maybe sometimes funnier. We all had a great time together. You know, on top of getting all the work done and being professional we did have a lot of fun and did our best to make the environment for everybody on set really special.
Sophie Turner and your brother Joe have just got engaged how was the engagement party and how are they doing?
It was a lot of fun. I am really happy for them. Because they are happy and very much in love and it’s a beautiful thing for everyone.
The film takes a different twist to the original, with the characters being taken into the jungle, what made you go down that route?
You know I thought that was a great idea. A way to shake up this thing that we love. The original movie is about the game coming out into our world and it felt like this was a great twist on it which is to go into the game but in this new context
You have a fantastic cast, what was it like working with them?
It was fantastic. It’s just a wonderful group we put together. They are all brilliant in the movie and they are all just a pleasure to work with and so you cannot ask for more than that.
And I imagine, once the cameras had stopped rolling it was just as funny?
It was a lot of fun. We were laughing all the time.