After playing a nerdy kid in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” Johnson and the film’s director, Jake Kasdan, were keen on capitalizing on the opportunity to play a video game character represented. In an interview with Total Film Magazine, Johnson explained the creative process that led to DeVito being the perfect option for the “Jumanji” sequel:
“It was the most surreal and wildest f***ing thing to channel Danny DeVito. When we decided to take a crack at a sequel, we sat around the table, and thought, ‘Well, one of the greatest joys of Jumanji is this idea that we have created these videogame avatars that, really, anyone can become.’ We could bring in any actor. So I told Jake [Kasdan], our director, ‘What if we took the idea of Cocoon with older people, and we apply that here?’ And from there, the ideas just really started coming out.“
Going from a Wolff to DeVito is no easy feat, but Johnson does not hesitate to dive headfirst into the daunting task. This includes getting to know him personally and observing all of his quirks and features:
“What about Danny DeVito. And I said, ‘I’m in 100 percent.’ So then I spent time with Danny, and got to know him, and his innuendoes, and how he is. He has a certain speech. And there’s some roughness to him.“
Let’s be clear, Johnson is not pulling off an all-time performance playing an amped-up version of DeVito. However, it goes to show that Johnson is willing to venture out of his shell to provide blockbuster entertainment. And, most importantly, DeVito approves of his portrayal.