Jack Black, Kevin Hart Joins The Rock for Sony’s JumanjiPhoto via Getty Images, Christopher Polk Movies News Jack Black
Sony’s plans for its upcoming Jumanji reboot keep on getting wilder.
When we first reported back in January that Sony had landed a director for its modern spin on the Robin Williams-starring 1995 hit, our biggest concern was a studio leaving a dark mark on the legacy of one of film’s most beloved—and insane—adventures.
Now we’re just trying to get some half-way clear idea about where they plan to go with it. Back in April, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson officially attached himself to the project, in addition to taking on the role of executive producer. Now, comedians Kevin Hart and Jack Black have been announced as members of the cast, enforcing the idea that this might be less of a reboot and more of a remake.
Rumors about Kevin Hart’s involvement had been swirling for a while, but The Wrap’s initial reports that Jack Black was in talks to join the cast were quickly confirmed by Johnson in the same way he announces everything nowadays—over Instagram.
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IT’S OFFICIAL: An ol’ friend is ready to play in the world of #JUMANJI… JACK (mf’n) BLACK. Been a big fan of his work over the years. A brilliant actor who I’m confident will turn in a performance of a lifetime for JUMANJI. (when we reveal his character you’ll understand;). In our reimagining of the story of JUMANJI, Jack brings that rare balance of cool with funny and edge with childlike joy. The “Jumanji Breakfast Club” is coming together.. myself, Jack (mf’n) Black and Kevin Hart. Two big roles left. One bad ass girl. One semi-sorta bad ass dude. Who will they be… this is gonna be fun. #JUMANJI #WelcomesJackBlack #JustPressStart #TheGameThatPlaysYou
Outside of being one giant reunion fest for Johnson, who worked with Black on 2002’s comedy Orange County and Hart most recently on Central Intelligence, the casting makes it clear that Sony’s go at the tale of a game-gone-bad might diverge a little from its source material. It also raises questions about the overall comedic tone of the film, as all three actors can do—and not do—family-friendly.
Johnson has come out and said his character will honor that of Williams’ Alan Parrish and that the film will feature not three but five big leads, but having already cast three male actors—when several of the original’s leads went to women—makes us wonder who this story is going to focus on. Who knows, maybe having a looser attachment to the original will actually work in the film’s favor. All three actors are bankable, and no one really wanted a modern blow-by-blow of the original film anyways.