From Singing to the Silver Screen: Nick Jonas Talks ‘Jumanji’

Nick Jonas (left) stars in ‘Jumanji.’/Courtesy of Sony

The transition from music to the the silver screen may seem daunting, but Nick Jonas said he’s had a “warm welcome” into the world of cinema, and he doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

Jonas is known for his Disney Channel past, but the 25-year-old musician has since furthered his music and acting career. He has released several chart-topping hits like “Jealous,” “Chains” and “Levels,” and is now playing Alex Vreeke in director Jake Kasdan’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is an indirect sequel to the 1995 classic “Jumanji.” It tells the story of four high-schoolers, Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff), Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman), Anthony Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain) and Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner), who find themselves transported into the video game world of Jumanji and transformed into video game avatars: Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black), Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart) and Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), respectively. The four kids must survive the perils of the jungle and beat the game, receiving help from Alex along the way.

The Emory Wheel participated in a conference call with Jonas Dec. 15 to talk about “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” which was released in theaters Dec. 20.

This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.


Kendrah Villiesse, The Columbia Chronicle: Do you feel pressure to be taken seriously in this transition from music to making major movies?

Nick Jonas: I try not to stress about perception. For me, it’s just about taking strides to grow and not that I’m working against people’s ideas. The steps [I’ve] taken have been thought out and I’ve tried to be patient, make good choices and find some great roles. This next step with “Jumanji” and the other projects I’ve taken on feels really exciting.


Will Heffernan, The Suffolk Voice: Was it stressful making this movie knowing that the original is a classic?

NJ: For all of us, that was definitely something to keep in mind: to find a way to pay homage to the original and to Robin Williams’ performance, which was truly incredible. From there, it was about finding a way to tell a new Jumanji adventure, something that felt fresh and [would] introduce this beloved classic to a brand new audience. Audiences are really loving it, and younger audiences that aren’t familiar with the original are loving this and will probably go back and rediscover the first one. As a fan of the original myself, I was thrilled to get the chance to take a title like this, [one] that people love so much, and give it a new and exciting edge.


Anna Haas, The The Red and Black: How does the dynamic between working with castmates and directors in film compare to working in a studio on an album with producers and co-writers?

NJ: In some ways they are similar. The fun of making an album is that you get to tell your stories and go on your own journey creatively. With a film, you’re telling someone else’s story and working in a team effort with all hands on deck. I really love both, and I love the fact that I get to switch it up and jump between [the] two. I find inspiration from being around all of the creative minds that go into making a film happen, and also being able to jump back into my music and spill my heart into it.


Erin Ben-Moche, You’ve had a lot of involvement with the arts over your career with theater and film and music. How did all of these experiences help you with the way you were filming “Jumanji,” and how you look at other projects you work on?

NJ: I think that my theater background and my love for the theater has been a big driver for me on all fronts. I was spoiled at an early age to get to do acting and singing all in one place on the theater stage. As I’ve grown both as an actor and a musician, I look back at that time growing up doing musical theater as the best training. I hope that I can go back one day and perhaps do something that I write myself which would be incredible.


Jesse Weiner, The Emory Wheel: If you could be stuck inside a video game, which one would you choose?

NJ: I was a fan of video games. I’m more into the old-school Nintendo 64 and SEGA. My favorite game was the Aladdin game on SEGA, so I would probably go with that if I were stuck in a game. If not that, Super Smash Brothers was also pretty awesome and I would be down to jump into that game.


Omar Meza, The Carroll News: What are your favorite memories on set with Dwayne [Johnson] and others?

NJ: This was a very prank-centric set and social media friendly in the sense that everyone was calling each other out for things and messing with each other on social media. My favorite thing about shooting was my connection with Jack [Black]. We had a really great vibe both onscreen and offscreen. We would jump around on the weekend to different spots to eat food and hangout. He’s just the best. One of my favorite guys and someone I hope I get the chance to work with again.