Exc: Jake Kasdan talks Jumanji 3 status & why the franchise is so appealing

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

The massive success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was always going to be a tough act to follow, so how long did it take to crack the story on the sequel?

Yeah, that’s a good question. We had not cracked it [the story] at all, we hadn’t even talked about it. I was very focused on not putting the cart before the horse as we were making the first movie and truthfully the second movie either. It’s been critical to me on both of them that they hold up as their own thing and that each movie is its own short story or whatever. So, I was not really thinking about it until we got to the other end of the first one and saw that we had this opportunity and it seemed that people would hopefully be excited about it as we started talking about what that would look like. We all kind of said it would be a blast to do another one, but we’re only doing it if we have an idea we can really fall in love with. Once we really put our heads to it this became clear pretty quickly and we were able to get it together and get everybody onboard and all that, so that was really the first step in even deciding we were going to do a sequel.

What was the process for Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart to become Danny DeVito and Danny Glover?

The short answer is they’re both brilliant and completely game and that’s part of what’s been such a great part of making these movies with them is that they’re both so totally down to do things. They have the best kind of spirit to dive right in, no vanity about it at all, eager to work it out and make it better and all that. DJ [Dwayne Johnson] and Danny [DeVito] got to spend a little time together. When DJ and I had the earliest conversation about ‘who should this character be’ and as soon as we thought about Danny [DeVito] we both thought that would just be amazing and he [Johnson], I think, started working on it in his head right then. And, similarly, when I went and talked to Kevin [Hart], before I started writing, I went out and saw him one day and I was like, ‘Look, this is what I think the movie is’ and he got instantly incredibly excited and we basically looked at each other and said ‘Danny Glover’ and right there in his living room just started doing the thing. They spoke a couple of times and when we started shooting with the avatar cast, this time we had already shot the real-world part of the movie a couple of weeks before that, so the other tool was that this time I had all the footage of DeVito and Glover in these characters and we could refer to it a little bit and I got them systems so they could get the sounds into their heads.

So, now that The Next Level is a massive hit, do you already have plans and ideas for a third film?

Y’know, we’re just starting to talk about it. We made the first two in rapid succession and it’s been nice to step away for a minute and feel good about taking a break from it for a second and letting them be out there. We’re just having the earliest conversations about if there’s gonna be another one, what would that be. So, it’s earliest possible days.

But, you’re on board for a third one, right?

If we can come up with something we love. I love working with those people and I love this thing. But, it’s sort of on me to be tough on it and make sure it’s an idea that we feel great about.

It’s tough to find a property that resonates with a mass audience that isn’t a comic book film. Why do you think Jumanji has connected to audiences so well?

You never know. I think that it was a great idea for how to bring the franchise back and the idea was not mine, but a writer named Chris McKenna, who came up with it originally and I think the concept was exactly the right concept for it. And, then we were able to get the most perfect cast. Starting with The Rock, who is really the most perfect possible person for that, to be the center of this idea, a movie about this idea. What if you could be somebody else for one day on this adventure? With anyone other than him it’s not the same thing. I think he’s almost unique in the history of movies in a way, in that there’s just no one else who has his combination of qualities, his warmth and his humor and also looks like that and also is that tough and is legit the biggest action star of this era. It’s like the unique combination of things that Dwayne brings. And then, I was able to get Kevin Hart and Jack Black who are currently two of the funniest people on the planet and with them figured out exactly the right thing for them to be doing. And, finally with Karen Gillen, who people didn’t know as well, but also is just completely brilliant and uniquely perfect for that. I think those four, and then we filled it out with other great people around them, but the core four people and this idea were just the right combination I think and it’s really incredible good luck.

I’m going to assume that every day on set is just a blast. I imagine a lot of laughter.

They [The extras on the blu-ray] give a pretty good sense of that. That was when we were putting this blu-ray and the video and stuff together. The thing that I kind of wanted to make sure we were communicating are in two parts. One, that we really do have an insanely good time doing this and I think that the guys have done a good job of when they’re promoting the movies you get a sense of that from them, y’know? You can feel it in all of their social and all of that, but in fact making them is just as much fun and in some ways more fun, because we’re in these incredible places and have a great time together. And, the other thing I really wanted to get across was the amount of filmmaking that goes into them. The people that I’m working with behind the camera, there’s so many people doing so much cool work and I wanted to sort of lay that out a little bit and I think that DVD does a good job of showing that stuff.

You’ve worked on a lot of comedies, such as Walk Hard, The TV Set, Orange County, Bad Teacher, Sex Tape. Do you feel a higher calling to the big-budget films like Jumanji or do you see yourself going back to the smaller comedies later on?

I don’t know. I’ve always just sort of followed-I’ve never been someone that’s just designed these things that much. You find the thing that excites you and try and get it made, basically. These movies have been an incredible, eye-opening great experience and education in learning how to do something that’s physically more complicating. And, I’ve loved it. I’ve really loved working on this larger scale and I’d love to do more work that fits into that category, but I also love people talking to each other movies.

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray/DVD and digital. Order your copy HERE!

Source: JoBlo.com

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