During filming of the 1995 movie Jumanji, actors Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, and Bradley Pierce became like family - even when Williams was entertaining his younger co-stars with Ethel Merman imitations they didn't understand. Behind-the-scenes details reveal other twists and turns that perhaps can't rival the board game itself, yet still made the film's production a bit bumpy at times.
In the end, however, the actors and creators of Jumanji were successful - and everyone, including the audience, won the game.
The Final Scene Was Filmed First Because The Mansion Would Be Wiped Out For The Rest Of The Movie
The Christmas party scene at the end of Jumanji shows the Parrish house in one piece, but it didn't look that way for the entire film. Damaging events like the stampede and flood in the movie took a toll on the set, too.
To ensure that the final scene showed the mansion intact, the creators filmed it first.Awesome?
Robin Williams Agreed To Rein In His Improvisation
Master improviser Robin Williams naturally wanted to do a lot of improvisation during his scenes, which made director Joe Johnston nervous:
I was a little apprehensive at first, based on what I’d heard about Robin and how he wants to ad-lib and go crazy. It wasn’t like that at all. He understood that he needed to be this very critical part of the machine. It was a tightly structured story. He never went out of the box.
. Bonnie Hunt who played Sarah Whittle told The New York Times,
Joe [Johnston] had a clear vision. Naturally, Robin wanted some improvisation, so those two worlds had to meet. Respectfully, we always did takes as written, but then Robin would ask, “Joe, could we please have one more for us?”
But much of his improv was too much for the producers - and his young co-stars. Actor Bradley Pierce recalled:
A lot of things Robin would improv would go over Kirsten [Dunst's] and my heads. He would go on these Ethel Merman riffs where he would sing all his lines like her. It was hysterical, but I didn’t realize he was imitating a real person.
A lot of the improvised lines and actions didn't make it into the movie, and Williams eventually agreed to hold back.Awesome?
Kirsten Dunst revealed that the most difficult parts of filming Jumanji were the monsoon scenes, which took about two weeks to complete:
We'd be in water all day long. Especially my brother in the movie and I would have to hang from a chandelier through the whole scene.
Dunst joked that sitting on the chandelier for so long hurt their bottoms because it was full of wires and glass.Awesome?
For a good portion of the movie, Bradley Pierce's character Peter is transformed into a monkey-like creature, which required a lengthy, tedious makeup process.
It took several hours to get Pierce into his makeup each day, and he had to do it every day for weeks on end, he recalled:
The monkey makeup was originally going to be 40 days approximately. It ended up being almost 70 and that was partially because the application process took nearly three and a half hours - and then another hour to remove.
Luckily, Pierce's co-workers did everything they could to help him pass the time. They set up a TV he could see in the mirror as makeup artists applied his look. Ironically, Pierce said he watched the Planet of the Apes series a lot.Awesome?