|JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVELRICHARD JEWELLCLINT EASTWOODTHE NEXT LEVELNEXT LEVELJUMANJIRUMBLETRON|
Jake Kasdan, once known exclusively as a comedy director, is now playing in the big leagues. With just the right amount of nostalgia and newness, Kasdan turned Jumanji into one of the biggest modern franchises around. While the large scale and effects were initially new to him, he’s now growing comfortable working at that level.
Kasdan made his directorial debut with a sharp ’90s noir with a killer Bill Pullman performance, Zero Effect. It features a Pullman performance deserving of more love in this world. Kasdan followed his directorial debut with Orange County, The TV Set, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. During our phone interview with Kasdan, we recently talked about how Walk Hard has changed the biopics forever, how he’s grown as a filmmaker making the Jumanji movies, and the unfortunate state of the world at the moment.
Thanks for making the time.
Sure. Under the strangest of circumstances.
It is a weird time to be doing interviews.
[Laughs] Yes. I mean, yeah, it’s a weird time to just be going about your stuff, you know? It’s insane.
What’s like a Thursday or Friday for you like now? Any work still getting done?
I think everything is just sort of shutting down. It’s so crazy in so many different ways. On the one hand, I think especially for in the cities where people are conscious this is a great threat, they’re taking it seriously. It freaks everybody out. At the same time, very few people are directly close to it, so it’s somewhat abstract but freaky. Everyone is trying to follow the best advice, but it’s completely bizarre. It’s insane.
Such a strange time. Hey, be safe.
It’s nice to be talking to you, though. Funnily enough, I just revisited Orange County a week or two ago. Obviously, it was the first time you worked with Jack Black. What makes that relationship work?
In a lot of ways, that movie was important to me. It was the beginning of one of my all-time favorite collaborations, and it’s continued. We’ve gotten to work together closely and have had the best time doing these. In many ways, Orange County was really significant for me. Starting to work with Jack was one of the huge ways. Another huge way was working with Colin Hanks, and we’ve remained close. All those guys and I have remained very close to the last 20 years.
Have you noticed people who grew up with that movie are still very fond of it?
Oh, that’s good. I’m glad to hear that. It’s a movie that I love. Jack, Colin, and Schuyler, it was amazing. We had an amazing group of people surrounding them. It was an incredible experience. I mean, a bunch of brilliant comedy minds and directors. We got Ben Stiller to do a little thing in that movie, and...
When Kathy Bates smashed that sledgehammer into James Caan's ankles 30 years ago in Misery, the world may have collectively cringed, but it made Bates an unforgettable force in Hollywood history.
The then 42-year-old actress wasn't a household name when she took on that role of homicidal nurse Annie Wilkes. She'd had theatrical successes, and appeared in a few smaller films and television shows like St. Elsewhere and L.A. Law. And yet, that year, she took home an Oscar, proving the game wasn't up for women over 35. Not by a long shot.
This year, Bates is enjoying her fourth Oscar nomination, this time for Richard Jewell, the Clint Eastwood-directed true tale of a heroic security guard falsely accused of planting a bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, although he actually found the device and saved many lives.Warner Bros.
Despite the Academy recognition, it's only very recently, in conversation with Eastwood, that she allowed herself to consider her success.
“I said to Clint, 'I've been doing this for 50 years, but I finally feel like I hit the big time.'” She says. “And I don't mean with all the marching bands and the confetti, I mean, working with another incredible director, and doing a story that matters.”
And Richard Jewell really does matter, in that telling the true story of a wrongly-accused person will always matter. Jewell surely deserves all the public exoneration a big-name feature film can deliver, even after his untimely death at 44 in 2007.
The film details his intense media and FBI hounding, while his mother Bobi, played by Bates, suffers under the weight of defending her son.Warner Bros.
Feeling “extremely nervous”, Bates flew to Atlanta ahead of the shoot for her first ever meeting with Eastwood. “I remember asking him why he wanted to make this movie,” she says, “and at first he looked up with those eyes and I thought, 'Oh God, here we go.' Then he said, 'Well, I think it's a movie I'd like to see.' He was so angry at how Richard had been treated. He felt this was an American tragedy, and that it needed to be told.”
So, she went to work, researching Bobi Jewell. And then they met. “We sat and talked for two or three hours and I recorded her voice. We went through the script and she corrected a few things. She teared up quite a few times. She was very determined. She gave me the Vanity Fair article that Marie Brenner had written that the film is based on. Bobi looked very different then, she was more my size, so that made me feel good. At one point I said, 'I just want to get this right for you Bobi.' And almost like a little girl, she said, 'Well, just be me.' And I thought, 'Oh...
In the years leading up to “Booksmart,” filmmaker Olivia Wilde had a strong urge to put all that she had gleaned from her years on set as an actress into use when it finally came time for her to direct. When she was a guest on IndieWire’s Filmmaker Toolkit podcast, she admitted that one of the biggest obstacles she faced on her path to making “Booksmart” was her fear over a perceived lack of experience.
“I was so insecure based on my lack of film school training,” said Wilde. “I think that’s what a lot of people say, ‘I would direct, I just don’t know enough about lenses.’ And that’s an excuse, you don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge about the technical aspects of every single element, you need the awareness of what a collaborative experience it is, and the joy is really in hiring those people to help you make it.”
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Wilde’s directing friends, specifically Mark Romanek and Spike Jonze, encouraged her to try her hand at music videos first, which she found to be a great outlet to let lopse her pent up creative energy and gain confidence. “It’s what I imagine would have happened in film school, a challenge: Take a day, and few days to edit, and make something extraordinary and poetic,” said Wilde. “It’s almost like writing a poem to find your voice and visually tell a story, which in itself is its own challenge.”
What Wilde learned while making “Booksmart” was that she needed the confidence in her vision to say to collaborators, “this is a project worth your time and skill,” rather than worrying about being able to make every technical decision herself.
“When crafting a shot I loved acknowledging what I don’t know,” said Wilde. “So that I could allow for that person that did know the answer to feel empowered. That was a fun part for me, to say to the DP, Jason McCormick, who was so wonderful, to say, ‘This is the mood I want here, help me find that mood.'” That’s only the start of what she learned making her feature directorial debut; here’s what else Wilde took away from the experience.Comedy Advice
Michael O’Brien turned in a brilliant performance in “Booksmart” as the pizza delivery man the two leads Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever try to “hold up.” But the celebrated comedy writer and ex-“Saturday Night Live” staffer also had some important wisdom to share.
“He’s one of the best comedy writers out there,” said Wilde. “And he says, ‘Comedy...
It looks like Jumanji 4 is going to happen. Director Jake Kasdan has revealed that early development started on the sequel before the recent Hollywood shutdown that is expected to last at least a few more weeks, if not longer. Whenever things do return to some semblance of normalcy, it seems this movie is going to be on Sony's priority list.
Jake Kasdan was recently interviewed in honor of Jumanji: The Next Level hitting home video. During the conversation, the filmmaker who helmed both of the recent installments in the series, was asked about the seemingly inevitable fourth entry. Here's what Kasdan had to say about it.'We're just starting to talk about all of that, and the truth is we've barely started. We were just getting into the conversation before this global calamity and we will re-engage it as soon as everybody's settled. We all love working together and we've loved making these. To me, the thing that's always been most critical when talking about a sequel, first in the first movie and now in the possibility of another sequel is, it would have to be exciting on its own two feet in a way that's comparable to what the first two were for me. I would have to love the idea just as much. So I think there will be a third one and it's just the earliest days of trying to figure out what that would be.'
While things seem to be in the earliest days, it seems like Jake Kasdan is happy to return should the project get the green light. Kasdan also recently hinted that he expects the core cast to return, which includes Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart. The ending of The Next Level put some pieces in play that left the door wide open for Jumanji 4, while also changing up the formula that was the driving force behind the more recent movies.
At this point, it's hard to imagine a world in which this movie doesn't get made. The movie business is facing an uncertain future, but studios will be more motivated than ever to proceed with surefire bets. 2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a massive blockbuster surprise, bringing in $962 million at the global box office. Last year's follow-up did similarly well, taking in $796 million. Both movies were, generally speaking, met with open arms by critics and audiences.
Taking all of that into account, this seems like a no-brainer. It could just come down to logistics. The main cast members are all very busy people, so scheduling is tricky. There's also the matter of sorting everything out once it's safe for studios to resume regular production schedules. It may be a while before that happens, but whenever it does, expect Sony to get back to work on this one. Jumanji: The Next Level is available now on Digital HD, Blu-ray/DVD and 4K Ultra HD. This news comes to us via Collider.