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Jumanji is a pretty powerful game, so much that no matter where you play it, you'll end up opening a jungle themed world of adventure. The first time around we saw a sleepy New England town start turning into a really dangerous place to live, and in the new sequel, it looks like Hawaii is going to be the next location to see the game's disastrous effects come front and center. While filming a jungle based picture in Hawaii does make sense, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson also had a very personal reason to want Jumanji to call the state home: it would help boost the economy of somewhere he spent part of his childhood.
During a satellite interview with Good Morning America, Johnson graciously discussed why Jumanji has been filming in Hawaii. His big reasons for wanting to go home again was the following:
To go back to a place that means so much to how Dwayne Johnson became "The Rock" is a pretty damned special reason to go to Hawaii for a film shoot. Instead of giving an answer like, say, picking the script because it lets him go on vacation wherever he's shooting, Johnson went with his heart. His heart just happened to have a soft spot for the state of natural tropical beauty, thus swaying him to set it as the playground for himself and cast members Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan.
Of course, it also helps that if Sony wants to splash some money on the Jake Kasdan directed sequel to Jumanji's classic 1995 version, it would be on a location that can easily stand in for both jungle ridden and metropolitan locales. So while Dwayne Johnson was moved by personal nostalgia to select Hawaii as the project's home, there's a really practical advantage to such a choice. If you'd like to hear Dwayne Johnson himself talk more about the decision, as well as the film itself, you can watch the Good Morning America in full below.
Dwayne Johnson takes pride not only in his work, but also the experiences that made him. To choose to make Jumanji in Hawaii, as a way of giving back to the local economy, is as generous as it is beautiful. The film working towards a July 28, 2017 release date, and we can't wait to see the final product.