Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart quickly established their real-world and onscreen chemistry alike this year, by co-hosting the 2016 MTV Movie Awards together and playing opposite one another in the hit action/comedy, Central Intelligence. The pair have already reunited for yet another collaboration, in the form of Jumanji: a project that is not a reboot of the franchise of the same name (as long reported), but rather a movie that takes place in the same sandbox established by the Jumanji movie adaptation that was released in 1995 – starring the late Robin Williams and a young Kirsten Dunst, among others. How, exactly, the two connect is not altogether clear at this point in time.
Johnson and Hart only raised further questions about the new Jumanji by releasing a photo of the main cast together, featuring the pair with their co-leads Jack Black (Goosebumps) and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), respectively. The Rock has promised that elements such as the character’s cartoonish names (Johnson, for example, is playing “Dr. Smolder Bravestone”) and Gillan’s outfit – perhaps best compared to 1990s-era Lara Croft from Tomb Raider – will make sense, once fans have all the details. Until then though, the movie’s stars are aiming to keep the masses entertained by posting playful videos from the Jumanji set in the jungles of Hawaii.
Nick Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers fame) is also a member of the Jumanji cast, but has yet to appear in any photos or videos taken from the film’s set – including the ones featured below, as posted by Johnson and Hart to their respective Instagram accounts. Deadline additionally reports that the movie’s supporting cast includes such names as Rhys Darby (Voltron: Legendary Defender) and Morgan Turner (Mildred Pierce) amongst its ranks.
Behind the camera, Jake Kasdan is serving as director on Jumanji, drawing from a screenplay written by Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-writer Jeff Pinkner and Con Air screenwriter Scott Rosenberg: a pair that also co-developed the TV show Zoo (which, like Jumanji, revolves around animals running wild and wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting general population). Pinkner and Rosenberg’s screenplay, in turn, is based on the earlier script draft that was put together by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (American Dad!).
Kasdan, for his part, is perhaps best known for making middle of the road, though generally lucrative, comedies that are geared more towards adults, including Orange County (which Black also costarred in), Bad Teacher and Sex Tape. On those grounds, there’s fair reason to be skeptical about the idea that Jumanji (2017) will be able to stand alongside the 1995 Jumanji movie – itself, a perfectly respectable family-friendly adventure, thanks to the efforts of its ensemble cast (led by Williams) and director, Joe Johnston (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; The Rocketeer; Captain America: The First Avenger).
Johnson and Hart may yet prove to be the new Jumanji movie’s saving grace in that respect though, seeing as the pair’s chemistry alone was enough to propel Central Intelligence into being a solid crowd-pleaser in its own right. We’ll find out for certain when the film makes its way into theaters next summer.
Jumanji opens in U.S. theaters on July 28th, 2017.