Jumanji star Bradley Pierce has been reminiscing over his time spent filming the treasured family adventure movie on its 25th anniversary, opening up about what it was like to work alongside the late, great Robin Williams. Pierce, who played Peter Shepherd opposite Williams in the 1995 fantasy adventure, reflected on the comedian's inspiring presence and playful nature, which helped a great deal in making the child actor feel comfortable on set.
"Getting to work with Robin was so special because he's just such a talented and amazing performer and person. He inspired everyone around him. He was able to take what should have been, or at least could have been, an incredibly stressful work environment with all the challenges of creating a heavy special effects movie with all of the moving parts and all of the cast and crew, and he really made it fun and easy, even playful, most of the time. We always got in a good take before they would let him play, and he would just kind of go crazy for a take or two, it was just so memorable."
Thanks to cheating while playing the cursed board game, Pierce spends a substantial chunk of the movie under heavy prosthetics as his character slowly turns into a monkey. The actor revealed that Robin Williams would go out of his way to make him feel better about the experience, Williams himself having gone through something similar filming Mrs. Doubtfire.
"He would tell stories about some of his experiences with the Mrs. Doubtfire make-up. That was just the kind of guy he was, he wanted all of the people around him to be happy and comfortable. It meant a lot to me because for a twelve or thirteen-year-old boy, sitting in a make-up chair for three hours, first thing in the morning, this guy who is an amazing professional that everybody admires, understands what sitting in the make-up chair two hours before anybody else is on set really feels like. he was just hanging out, trying to make me feel better."
Williams though did also have a more serious side, which he used to protect child actors Bradley Pierce and Kirsten Dunst from having to work too hard at such a young age. As Pierce explains it; "Children can only be on set for a number of hours. The producers had approached our parents and said, 'Is there any way we can do a bit of overtime to get it done?' That's not uncommon at all in the industry because it literally saves $100,000 (㿵,000) plus to do that extra half hour rather than a whole day."
However, after being made aware that these conversations were happening, Williams sat down with director Joe Johnston and the other producers to ensure that this did not happen. Williams reportedly told the crew that the children wouldn't be doing "any extra time," and that they were "going to let everybody out now and we're going to come back next week."
Pierce praised the beloved comedian's approach to the situation saying, "For all the dollars that would have cost, nobody would have stood up the way he did. In addition to being warm, generous and kind, he was also very protective." Pierce's words stand as another reminder that Williams was tragically taken far too soon.
His legacy though lives on, with Jumanji spawning a hugely successful franchise starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan. The most recent movie in the series, Jumanji: The Next Level, showed the arrival of the jungle in real world, teasing that the next installment would adhere closer to the Robin Williams classic. This comes to us from CBC's q with Tom Power.