Jumanji’s Dwayne Johnson & Kevin Hart rate their friendship in hilarious interview
From their first instagram videos on the set of Central Intelligence, Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart’s considerable chemistry together was immediately apparent. One film, however, does not a legendary comedy duo make. To elevate their connection, the two would have to continue the hot streak.
Enter Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The sequel honors the legacy of the original and its late star Robin Williams by paying tribute to its world and moving the story in a new direction. Here, the board game is replaced by a video game, and those playing it get sucked into the jungles of Jumanji as the video game characters they select. Johnson and Hart play those avatars.
In the story, a wimpy kid named Spencer becomes Dr. Smolder Bravestone, played by Johnson. His friend Fridge, a large football player, gets shrunken down into the diminutive Franklin “Moose” Finbar, played by Hart.
The film puts the two’s charisma to work in a novel context, making work of their natural penchant for near-sibling rivalry and physical statures. It all works because the two remain hilarious together—self-aware and natural, with a spirit of improvisation.
When I sat down with the two of them in Paris ahead of the film’s release, along with co-star Nick Jonas, I had a choice—try to conduct a serious, probing interview, or just let these two do their thing. I chose the latter. I’m really glad I did.
Read the full conversation here:
Dwayne: You’re from Boston. Did you go to school in Boston? Where?
William: BC High.
Dwayne: Got it. [To Kevin] Me and him go way back.
Kevin: You don’t even live in Boston! [To William] Go ahead.
William: So Nick, putting you on the spot, who’s funnier?
Kevin: Thank you Nick.
Nick: Kind of answered itself didn’t it? No. They’re equally funny! They complement each other in comedy.
William: Very diplomatic.
Nick: This is an awkward spot you’ve put me in.
Dwayne: Good question though.
William: I saw you in Barcelona; you were with Jack Black.
Nick: With Jack! Yeah.
William: At the Arc de Triomf, girls were running up to you, going crazy. Was it like that on set with this guy? Was everyone going crazy for Nick Jonas?
Dwayne: For Nick? I thought you meant us. We had a ton of girl—
Kevin: Let me tell you something—
Dwayne: We had all the girl—
Kevin: —It was tough. It was tough.
William: You’ve got a Jonas brother there.
Dwayne: Yeah you’ve got Nick Jonas.
Kevin: I actually didn’t have one single incident—at all! [Pause] That’s a good thing, now that I think about it.
Dwayne: It’s a sensitive time. That’s the benefit of when you have a guy who’s multi-faceted singer, actor and everything else he does. Yeah. A lot of girls.
Kevin: Nick stepped on cool though. From day one. They even gave Nick the cool wardrobe—the aviator glasses, the leather jacket. Everything was cool. They kept you in a very cool place.
Nick: You were cool.
Dwayne: Yeah, well, I don’t know about that.
Kevin: The knees were out.
Nick: The knees were out! The hat was good.
Kevin: No way any man with his knees out is doing anything cool. That was tough for me.
William: Everybody looks cool with a backpack.
Dwayne: Well I don’t know about that. If I had a backpack, but I don’t know. Have you ever seen my fanny pack?
William: Fanny pack is cool. The chain!
Dwayne: The chain! The turtleneck.
William: That’s a good look.
Dwayne: It’s iconic, yes.
William: How has your guy’s friendship evolved?
Kevin: Since Nick came along, it’s definitely taken a decline.
Dwayne: We’ve become good friends.
Kevin: Well I think me and Nick are a lot closer than you two. That’s when me and Dwayne took a little dip.
Dwayne: We did, yeah.
Kevin: If this is the stock market, the friendship crashed.
Dwayne: Yeah, yeah, yeah…
Kevin: It’s a stock market metaphor.
William: I appreciate that.
Kevin: I’m good with jokes.
William: Are you good with video games?
Kevin: Me? No!
Dwayne: He sucks at video games!
William: If you could jump into any avatar in a game, who would it be?
Dwayne: In any video game?
Kevin: Any Jonas brother besides Nick.
Kevin: The older brother.
Dwayne: Oh yeah, what’s his name?
Dwayne: Jonas Jonas!
Kevin: Any Avatar, any game?
Kevin: I’m going to take a Mario brother.
Nick: I was going to say that!
Kevin: Which one do you want to be?
Nick: I’m going to be Mario, of course.
Kevin: I’m going Luigi. I’ll let you be Mario. I’ll follow you buddy. I’ve got no problem with that.
Dwayne: I’ll be Donkey Kong. I’ll crush everybody.
Kevin: You should be Donkey Kong.
Dwayne: Yeah that’s what I’ll do. You familiar with UFC? And underground fighting?
Dwayne: I would choose Sub Zero. From Mortal Kombat.
Kevin: That has nothing to do with the UFC!
Dwayne: Sub Zero, the backstory of Sub Zero, is that he actually started UFC in 1979.
William: Since we’re running out of time, simultaneously, what do you love about this movie?
Kevin: That I’m a black belt. [pause] I thought we were going to do this at the same time?
William: Do you want me to count down? 1-2-3?
Dwayne: Ok yes. Absolutely.
William: Ok, 1-2-3!
Dwayne: I have the beard!
Kevin: I’m a black belt.
Nick: I’m Nick Jonas.
William: Guys thank you so much.
Dwayne: Thank you man!