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Movie Fact #32 - September 18th, 2020


While considered a cult classic now, the original Jumanji film from 1995 had some struggles getting made. Not only did it take a story treatment from the the author of the book it was loosely based on, Chris Van Allsburg (Who received story credit for adding stuff not seen in his original book), but TriStar Pictures only agreed to finance the film on the condition that Robin Williams plays the starring role...which Williams turned down the role for the first time Not liking the first script he was given, Joe Johnston and screenwriters Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor, and Jim Strain had to do extensive rewrites to get Williams to accept.

And Johnston had reservations over casting Williams to begin for fear that he wouldn't adhere to the script. This, of course, was because of the actor's reputation for improvisation. Luckily, Williams filmed the scenes as outlined in the script, understanding that it was "a tightly structured story". However, he often filmed duplicate scenes afterwards where he was allowed to improvise with Bonnie Hunt. It all worked out with the film now the first of now hit box office franchise (The latter ones with Dwayne Johnson have made a combined total of over $1.7 billion at the box office). Stay tuned!

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