‘Stranger Than Fiction’ Writer Zach Helm Set to Play ‘Jumanji’

Jumanji

While the research process for writing a Jumanji script is probably hellish and monkey-filled, Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction) is brave enough to take on the task. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the writer – who also wrote and directed Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium – has been hired by producers Matt Tolmach and Bill Teitler to give them a screenplay.

This is a great move. Matt Tolmach Productions doesn’t have many winners underneath its belt (two forgettable crime comedies from the 1990s and, now, The Amazing Spider-Man), so it’s unclear what kind of movie they’re trying to create here or what they might really be capable of even under the careful watch of Columbia/Sony. Helm’s slant seems to be laughing at human foibles, danger and a dash of whimsy, so he seems like a solid choice to give this kind of family flick the right head start.

When the project was first announced, the producers claimed it would be updated for our time, meaning it might look even more like Zathura than Jumanji (1995). Or that everyone will be on cell phones in the jungle. And planking. And trying to create “the new planking.” Still, I can’t wait for all the former cast cameos (or for Kirsten Dunst to take over Bonnie Hunt’s role wholesale).