jumanji writer

Two decades ago, the beloved children’s book Jumanji got the Hollywood treatment, with Chris Van Allsburg’s black-and-white, Caldecott Medal-winning illustrations becoming the basis for a massive family adventure film starring Robin Williams at the height of his powers. Today, that movie hits a few nostalgic notes among the ’90s kids, but it’s more fondly remembered for the memes it has inspired than anything else.

In other words, it’s time for a reboot! Well, it’s been time for a reboot since a screenwriter was originally hired in 2012, but Sony has decided to speed things up. They even set a release date and everything, because nothing gets people working quite like an impending deadline. And now, roughly 14 months before the movie is due in theaters, Con Air and Gone in 60 Seconds writer Scott Rosenberg has been hired to bring the movie down the homestretch.

Read on for everything we currently know about the new Jumanji writer.

The news of Rosenberg’s hiring comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter, who also report that Alias, Lost and Fringe writer Jeff Pinkner has been recruited to act as a consultant on the film. What “consultant” actually means in this context is up for debate, but Pinkner’s credentials as “guy who has worked on a whole bunch of projects about mysterious things happening mysteriously” make him a natural fit the fantastical world of Jumanji. As long as he and Rosenberg avoid giving the magical board game at the heart of this story a detailed origin story, everything should be fine.

Rosenberg himself has spent the better part of the best decade working in television, but his feature credits range from bonafide classics like High Fidelity to, uh, Motion Pictures That Exist like Kangaroo Jack. In other words, who knows what his Jumanji screenplay will look like?

Actually, what does any Jumanji movie look like in 2015? If Rosenberg and Pinkner go back to the source material, they have a clean slate. Van Allsburg’s book is little more than a clever excuse to let him draw animals invading suburbia. From that foundation, the new film can literally be whatever they want it to be. Or they could follow the template established by the 1995 film and create a project that will allow a modern comedy superstar to run from CGI animals for 100 minutes. Is Ben Stiller’s schedule free?

In any case, don’t expect the new film to have a subplot about a young boy turning into a monkey. That was weird 20 years ago and it’s still weird now.

The new Jumanji has already set its sights on a December 25, 2016 release date, so everyone involved had better get to work.

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