Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will hit movie theatres shortly as a sequel to the original 1995 film starring the late Robin Williams. Though this time around the board game has become a videogame and the action takes place inside it rather than the real world.
Dawyne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black take the lead in the new film, which pays homage to the original and Williams’ character Alan Parrish, so Yahoo Movies UK has decided to pay tribute too by putting together a list of facts about Jumanji you may never have known about.
Jumanji is based on the 1981 book of the same name…
The children’s picture book was written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg.
2. “Jumanji” means “many effects” in Zulu
That’s according to Van Allsburg who used it to refer to the crazy consequences of playing the Africa-inspired game.
3. Robin Williams wasn’t the first choice for the role of Alan
Tom Hanks was, actually. In fact, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Sean Penn, Kevin Costner, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Douglas, Rupert Everett, Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin and plenty of other actors were considered before Williams was hired.
4. Kim Cattrall, Jamie Lee Curtis and Julia Roberts were considered for Sarah
Likewise, Jodie Foster, Madonna, Demi Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Tilly, Lea Thompson, Helen Hunt, Julianne Moore, Heather Locklear, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jennifer Grey and Rebecca De Mornay were considered to play Sarah Whittle before Bonnie Hunt got the role.
5. Neither Sarah or Alan were characters in the original book
They were added to the script by writer Jonathan Hensleigh and Robin Williams doesn’t appear until half an hour into the movie.
6. Scarlett Johansson auditioned for the role of Judy
But of course Kirsten Dunst was selected in the end.
7. There wasn’t a big age gap between Judy and Peter in real life
Kirsten was 13 at the time and just six months older than Bradley Pierce, who played her brother, despite the fact that there was meant to be a much larger age gap.
8. There was a bigger age gap between Robin and Bonnie
Despite the fact their characters are meant to be the same age, Robin was ten years older than Bonnie.
9. Robin Williams did impressions on the set
A favourite of Kirsten Dunst was him doing Jodie Foster, from the movie Nell, ordering at a drive-thru.
10. Williams was reminded of his own family doing the movie
The actor says the tense relationship between Alan and his father was more like his own father and grandfather’s relationship.
11. No live animals were used in the film
There was a rumour that real elephants were used, and one got injured, but in fact it was all pretty much CGI.
12. Apart from a few puppets
A real puppeteer, Tom Woodruff Jr, wore a costume to play the crocodile that Williams wrestles with.
13. The final scenes were shot first
That’s because the Shepherd’s house needed to be in mint condition to film the Christmas scene. After that they just gradually demolished the house to reflect the jungle creatures wreaking more havoc.
14. Robin Williams wouldn’t let his kids watch the film
His youngest were around five and three at the time and despite it being billed as a family movie, he felt it was too scary, as did film critic Roger Ebert.
15. It was a box office hit
The film cost $65 million to make and was a commercial success, earning $262,797,249 at the international box office.
16. Though critics were less impressed
It was not loved by critics at the time of release as it had just a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, though it has since become a family favourite.
17. A Jumanji board used in the movie once sold in 2014 for $60,800
It was one of three boards custom-made for the movie.
18. Zathura is a sequel to the book Jumanji
It was made into a movie in 2005, but no reference was ever made to the original Jumanji film or book.
19. There is actually a Jumanji video game
It was released in Europe for the PlayStation 2 in 2006 but shares no similarities to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
20. There was an animated series too
It ran between 1996 and 1999 but it retconned Sarah’s character. Peter’s character was voiced by Ashley Johnson, who also voiced Emily/Jamie in King of the Hill.