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The Jumanji franchise is about to make a comeback in a major way. Over two decades after the beloved Robin Williams-fronted original, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is set to bring the franchise back with a few twists for modern audiences. It's going to be a star-studded affair -- with Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's Karen Gillan headlining the story -- and that star power is not lost on the cast. Jack Black recently opened up about working with Kevin Hart and admitted that co-starring with the Ride Along actor in the new Jumanji has forced him to bring his A-game, saying:
I raised my game a couple of notches out of the intimidation factor. He's a king of the industry. I've done a lot of movies, but when someone is on fire, at the peak of their powers, you feel like you have to earn your spot.
They say complacency is the enemy of progress, and Jack Black seems to have a clear understanding of that concept going into his work on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Working alongside Kevin Hart means he is among the ranks of Hollywood's top comedians at the moment, and that pressure has a fundamental impact on his ability to deliver the goods. As the saying goes: a rising tide lifts all boats.
Not that Jack Black doesn't have an extensive comedy resume of his own. From his work on films like Tropic Thunder to his utterly iconic music as Tenacious D's frontman, Jack Black has carved out his own resume that could easily intimidate any other comedian. The difference here is that he understands the need to deliver the goods even more than usual while working with someone as white hot as Kevin Hart. It's an all-star competition of comedy giants, so our hope remains high that this sense of competition and one-upmanship bleeds into the actual film.
Of course, Jack Black's comments to Variety don't even mention the added pressure of working alongside someone of Dwayne Johnson's Hollywood (and physical) stature, something Hart should definitely be familiar with. Kevin Hart and Johnson recently collaborated on last year's Central Intelligence, and it's pretty clear that they have established a phenomenal on-screen rapport with one another. Jack Black has become a comedy legend in his own right over the course of his lengthy Hollywood career, but that's an intimidating dynamic to work alongside.
With that said, the overarching premise of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle certainly seems to lend itself to the comedic strengths of each of these performers. Unlike the original 1995 version of the story, Welcome to the Jungle centers on a group of teenagers who find themselves sucked into the Jumanji world -- which has been reimagined as a video game. Transformed into the "avatars" of the game, the kids will have to work together to get out of the game and have a few adventures along the way.
With Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Dwayne Johnson presumably firing on all cylinders, we will have quite a bit to look forward to when Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle debuts in theaters later this year. The film will premiere December 20, 2017.