'Jumanji' child star Bradley Pierce reveals Robin Williams stood up to producers on his behalf

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3 min read
Bonnie Hunt, Bradley Pierce, Kirsten Dunst and Robin Williams hold each other in a scene from the film 'Jumanji', 1995. (Photo by TriStar/Getty Images)
Bonnie Hunt, Bradley Pierce, Kirsten Dunst and Robin Williams hold each other in a scene from the film 'Jumanji', 1995. (Photo by TriStar/Getty Images)

Bradley Pierce was just 12 years old when filming began on the 1995 classic Jumanji — but leading man Robin Williams was willing to go to bat for his young co-stars.

Speaking to Canadian broadcaster CBC, Pierce said the late comedy icon stepped in when plans were afoot to encourage Pierce and Kirsten Dunst — also aged 12 at the time filming started — to work extra hours.

Read more: Facts you never knew about Jumanji

Pierce said producers had made overtures to he and Dunst’s parents to see if they would consent to allow their children to work beyond the mandated time in order to complete a difficult sequence.

He said: “That’s not uncommon at all in the industry because it literally saves $100,000 (£74,000) plus to do that extra half hour rather than a whole day.”

Watch: The evolution of Jumanji

The production had been struggling with an ambitious sequence in which the chaotic board game at its centre causes a monsoon in the real world.

Pierce was experiencing his own problems during this scene as a result of the water getting into the make-up he was wearing as a result of the game transforming his character into a monkey.

Read more: Williams remembered at Mrs Doubtfire reunion

The actor, who has since become a prolific voice performer, said he “couldn’t breathe through my nose” and that both he and Dunst were left “tired” during the gruelling eight-day shoot for the scene.

Pierce said that Williams — who passed away in 2014 — took the producers and director Joe Johnston aside having “caught wind” of the plans to push working time restrictions.

Robin Williams hangs onto Bradley Pierce, Kirsten Dunst and Bonnie Hunt in a scene from the film 'Jumanji', 1995. (Photo by TriStar/Getty Images)
Robin Williams hangs onto Bradley Pierce, Kirsten Dunst and Bonnie Hunt in a scene from the film 'Jumanji', 1995. (Photo by TriStar/Getty Images)

The 38-year-old added: “[Williams] said: ‘No, we are not doing any extra time. You’re going to let everybody out now and we’re going to come back next week.’

“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.”

Read more: Robin Williams estate launches YouTube channel with classic clips

Adapted from a children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, Jumanji was a pricey family blockbuster, shot on a budget of around $65m (£48m).

The production needn’t have worried about saving cash, though, as the finished movie was a box office hit in 1995, earning $263m (£193m) globally.

Bradley Pierce attends a special screening and panel discussion of "Beauty and the Beast" to celebrate the animated film's 25th anniversary on May 9, 2016. (Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
Bradley Pierce attends a special screening and panel discussion of "Beauty and the Beast" to celebrate the animated film's 25th anniversary on May 9, 2016. (Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

It has since spawned a franchise — starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan — which began with 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

As well as monstrous box office takings, the movie was received positively by film critics.

Read more: Jumanji: The Next Level stars crash wedding in Mexico

A sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level, was released in 2019 and earned $800m (£588m) worldwide.

Director Jake Kasdan has since confirmed that he is working on developing another entry in the successful series.

Watch: Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart fluff Jumanji: The Next Level lines