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...
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.