If you told us 10 years ago that we’d be interviewing Nick Jonas for a Men’s Health feature, you’d have been laughed out of the office. But times change, and so too, do Jonas Brothers.
Today, in the weird world that is 2018, Nick Jonas is as close to the MH Man as it gets. He’s a certified rock star, action movie star, counts The Rock among his best mates, and is jacked as hell. The awkward teen from the mid-naughties boy band has grown, and so have his talents.
The youngest Jonas brother has experienced serious success in the acting and music worlds since going solo, delivering powerhouse performances in Kingdom and GOAT, whilst simultaneously pumping out hits. A Golden Globe nomination this year for his theme song contribution to Ferdinand and partnership with John Varvatos would be enough to satisfy any global superstar.
But Jonas also found himself front and centre in the blockbuster that was 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Talking to MH ahead of the film’s DVD release, Jonas is surprisingly humble when it comes to his experiences on the film. For a man with a near US$1bn movie under his belt, he keeps it refreshingly down-to-earth.
“There’s no way to predict a success. The original was so beloved, there was obviously a concern in the ways to remake it,” said Jonas, reflecting on the pressures of recapturing the magic of the Robin Williams classic in this modern sequel. “What’s been amazing to watch is how it’s gone crazy around the world.”
“It’s exceeded our expectations in a way we couldn’t have anticipated,” he says, in a statement that can easily be applied to Jonas himself.
In Jumanji, Jonas plays an avatar character in the updated video-game version of the classic board game. His character, Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough, is a helicopter pilot, providing Jonas with quite a physical role, an intense shooting schedule in Hawaii, and fast paced action alongside The Rock. Nothing that phased the actor.
Preparing for the physicality of jungle adventures was all part and parcel for Jonas’ new life. Thanks to his role as MMA fighter Nathaniel on TV series Kingdom, Jonas seems to keep himself in top shape year round.
“Any time you approach a film, you need to be fit in mind and physically in a spot where you can go on the adventure and be comfortable with that. Physically and mentally.”
Part of that physical preparation meant Hawaiian workouts with co-stars, including Dwayne Johnson. “It would be nice to see what it’s like to be that huge," he says reflecting on his time training alongside the man-mountain that is The Rock.
The film also stars comedian and fellow musician, Jack Black, in the role of a teenage girl inside a middle aged man’s body. And to his credit, Black absolutely nails playing a teenage girl. The unexpected attraction of Black’s character towards Jonas provides some great moments, including Blacks first ‘NARB’ (No Apparent Reason Boner), an issue Jonas brought to the forefront of popular culture in a viral interview with Jimmy Fallon during the filming of Jumanji. However, Jonas is reluctant to take credit for Jack Black’s ‘excitement’ in the film.
“I’m not entirely sure [if they took inspiration from the Fallon interview],” Nick laughs, before steering the conversation back on the politically-correct course. “The beauty of the film is the body swap. With Jack being a teenage girl, going through self discovery, I can only image that [getting an erection] would be a part of the journey of discovery.”
Jonas is now a part of a franchise that includes some of Hollywood’s biggest comedy heavyweights, whilst simultaneously earning critical acclaim for his dramatic roles as well. This is the kind of variety that has come to characterise his entire career, and continues to be a huge appeal when it comes to acting. “I like that variety. I look to Channing Tatum and Mark Wahlberg who take on action and drama and jump in. That range would keep it fun.”
Given his evolution and range over the past decade, it’s clear that Nick has the talent to be the Jonas Brother that endures, and the one who continues to exceed our expectations.
Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is available to own on 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-ray™, Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital from April 11, 2018.