Jumanji’s Dwayne Johnson & Kevin Hart rate their friendship in hilarious interview

William Mullally

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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?

Nick: Uh….

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.

Nick: Iconic.

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.

Nick: Hey!

Kevin: The older brother.

Dwayne: Oh yeah, what’s his name?

Kevin: Jonas!

Dwayne: Jonas Jonas!

Kevin: Any Avatar, any game?

William: Yeah.

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?

William: Sure.

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!