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Jack Black Confirms That Robin Williams’ ‘Jumanji’ Character Has a Role (of Sorts) in Remake

Sony
Sony

With so many massive studio tentpoles springing up all over, you’d be forgiven for letting the gestating Jumanji remake slip your mind. The rework of the ’90s kid-friendly fantasy film, playing under the somewhat unwieldy title Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (yeah, tack the tagline right onto the title, why not!) will come to theaters December 20, but prying eyes have already ensnared some key details about the film. There was the whole brouhaha surrounding Karen Gillan’s hilariously impractical jungle outfit and her mealy-mouthed explanation as to why her character had to get all hotted up for a nature expedition, a controversy I have dubbed Midriffgate, and now today brings news of another curious detail of story.

The Hollywood Reporter got a few words in with Jack Black at the CineEurope expo in Spain, where the star of what will surely be referred to as J:WttJ went into detail on how the new film pays homage to late star of the original, Robin Williams. In the 1995 film, Williams portrayed Alan Parrish, a man trapped for decades within the demonically possessed board game that gives the film its title. This new film sees Black, Gillan and their costars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart all enter into the same jungle-world that Parrish ventured into years before, and accordingly, vestiges of his time there have remained intact. “He built up a full-blown jungle house, similar to a Swiss Family Robinson situation,” said Black to THR. “It’s like he’s there helping us without actually being there.”

One other detail Black let spill gave a bit more cause for concern. Black noted that the key difference between the 1995 original and their remake/sequel/what-have-you was that the new film brings the audience into the world of Jumanji in a way that the original could not and did not. “[In the original] you never got to see the inside world,” Black said. “But this one takes place primarily inside the jungle of Jumanji. That’s the coolest part of the film — we’re able to transport the audience to that secret and wondrous land, with the danger and the beauty.” It’s possible that the grounded, recognizably human element of the story was what audiences like, but we’ll just have to see come December.

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