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33 Surprising Things You Might Not Know About "Jumanji"

Scarlett Johansson auditioned to play Judy.

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1. Scarlett Johansson originally auditioned for the role of Judy, but the filmmakers gave the role to Kirsten Dunst instead.

2. Jonathan Hyde, the actor who played the evil poacher, also played the part of Alan’s dad, leading fans to suggest the poacher is a figment of Alan’s imagination.

3. The word "jumanji" is a Zulu word that means “many effects”.

4. The film is based on a children’s book published in 1981 by Chris Van Allsburg.

5. Chris Van Allsburg also wrote the original picture book of The Polar Express.


6. The Jumanji board from the film sold on eBay for $60,800.

7. During filming in Vancouver, the crew had to melt snow off the lawn of the Parrish house for one shot, then truck fresh snow in from the mountains for a shot of the house at Christmas.

8. The set of the Parrish house was so huge that the actors couldn’t walk out of the front door without hitting a wall.

9. While filming the stunt where the monkeys steal a police car, stuntwoman Betty Thomas lost control of the car and hit a tree at 60mph. Luckily she wasn’t injured.

10. Director Joe Johnston had to plead with paparazzi who filmed the accident to not to release it to the news.

11. There was a rumour that an elephant was killed during one of the Jumanji stampede scenes, but in fact no live animals were used – it was all CGI.

12. Although the studio did suggest training a herd of rhinos to stampede through balsa wood, the filmmakers thought better of the idea.

13. Kirsten Dunst was 13 when she filmed Jumanji.

14. Even though Judy is meant to be Peter’s older sister, and she’s much taller than him in the film, Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce (who played Peter) were only six months apart in age.

15. Dunst and Pierce also played siblings in the movie The Siege at Ruby Ridge.

16. Pierce also voiced the teacup Chip in Beauty and the Beast.

17. Pierce now has three children and works as a bartender in LA.

18. Pierce’s son looks exactly like Peter did in Jumanji.

19. Laura Bell Bundy, who played young Sarah Whittle, went on to star in Legally Blonde on Broadway. She also guest-starred in How I Met Your Mother, Cold Case, and Veronica Mars.

20. The new Jumanji film, starring Dwayne Johnson, will be a sequel, not a remake.

21. There are 110 spaces in the Jumanji board game.

22. There are some continuity issues with the movie. For instance, during the stampede, the animals crash through the side of the house – yet during the monsoon, the house fills with water.

23. Robin Williams thought the film would be “too scary” for his kids to watch. They were all under 7 at the time.

24. He said acting with CGI effects in Jumanji was like “taking LSD”, because you had to “hallucinate everything”.

25. Pierce was devastated by the death of Williams and admitted he has also suffered from depression.

26. They shot the end of the movie first because they needed the set to be nice and tidy for the final Christmas scene. They then slowly destroyed the set of the house while filming the rest of the movie.

27. The crew used a hydraulic ram to fire a 16-tonne steel rhinoceros through the wall of the library set at 60mph to create the effects of the stampede scene. The steel rhinoceros was then replaced with a herd of animals using CGI.

28. A real puppeteer, Tom Woodruff Jr wore a costume to play the crocodile that Williams wrestles with.

29. Williams claimed he hit the crocodile so hard while he was wrestling with it that Tom Woodruff cried out, “Hey, that hurts.”

30. Woodruff was also inside the mechanical lion.

31. Dunst spent about two weeks in a water tank while filming the monsoon scenes. Her mum sent the kids sandwiches on rafts.

32. Williams kept everyone entertained on set, doing impressions of Jodie Foster to make the kids laugh.

33. Williams said his “genitals looked like raisins” after filming for 12 hours in the water tank during the monsoon scene.