Jake Kasdan’s career can be more or less divided between film and television, with the former featuring R-rated comedies like Bad Teacher, Zero Effect, and Sex Tape, while the latter skews toward more family-friendly fare like The Grinder, Fresh off the Boat, The New Girl, and Freaks and Geeks. If a new report about Kasdan’s next directorial effort turns out to be true, the project might end up being the best synthesis of his experience on the small and big screens alike.
As Deadline writes, Kasdan is expected to helm Sony’s Jumanji remake, which is currently due out this Christmas Day. At first blush, he might not seem like the most obvious choice for what could become a franchise property for the studio, but Kasdan’s varied experience in the comedy genre over the years actually makes him an interesting pick. He’ll direct from a script by Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, with the original draft having been penned by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.
About 20 years ago, in 1995, Joe Johnston directed Robin Williams and a young Kirsten Dunst in a family adventure/fantasy film that was adapted from Chris Van Allsburg’s Caldecott Medal-winning 1981 picture book, “Jumanji.” The remake will re-imagine that tale. The story centers on the titular boardgame, one that features jungle animals and related obstacles that come to life once the kids start playing the game. Van Allsburg will produce the film along with Matt Tolmach, who is providing a good amount of the energy behind pushing this project forward. We haven’t heard much about the project since a few different screenwriters took cracks at the script, but with Kasdan onboard, we should expect to hear much more in the coming months.
Here’s the trailer and synopsis for the original film, in case you need a refresher:
A magical board game unleashes a world of adventure on siblings Peter (Bradley Pierce) and Judy Shepherd (Kirsten Dunst). While exploring an old mansion, the youngsters find a curious, jungle-themed game called Jumanji in the attic. When they start playing, they free Alan Parrish (Robin Williams), who’s been stuck in the game’s inner world for decades. If they win Jumanji, the kids can free Alan for good — but that means braving giant bugs, ill-mannered monkeys and even stampeding rhinos!