‘Jumanji 4,’ ‘Bios’ filming on rez, we’re pretty sure

CHINLE

Not one but two major motion pictures were filming on the Navajo Nation over the past few weeks, at least if you believe dozens of Facebook posts from Navajos who managed to catch a glimpse of the action.

We at least know for sure Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, star of “Jumanji 4” and Tom Hanks, who stars in “Bios” were here, because they posted pictures on their social media pages.

Hollywood was being its typical secretive self. We have so far obtained no information from Sony Pictures, which is producing the “Jumanji” sequel, although they did promise to get back to us.

Universal Pictures, which is distributing “Bios,” did not return a phone call asking for information on where they were filming and why they chose the Navajo Nation.

A spokesman for the New Mexico Film Office wouldn’t even confirm the movies were filming on the reservation.

“It’s all over Facebook,” he said, hastening to add, “I’m not confirming or denying anything people are posting on Facebook.”

According to Facebook chatter, both film crews were around the Shiprock pinnacle last week.

Johnson revealed on Facebook the Four Corners was the third location he had traveled to for “Jumanji 4,” after Hawaii and Alberta, Canada.

In a video of what looked like the topography around Shiprock, The Rock said, “You can feel the spirit down here … the mana is real … I just want to thank everybody in the Four Corners area for being so loving, so supportive and so welcoming.”

Hanks, meanwhile, lived up to his slightly quirky reputation by posting photos of abandoned gloves and writing, “Historic Route 66 Roadkill? I hope not!” and “Land of Enchantment. And lost gloves.”

KOBTV caught the Rock in Farmington, where he proved he was a fast learner by saying he was ordering his food “Christmas.”

Hanks was spotted at a restaurant in Albuquerque, where the woman at the next table convinced him to sing “Happy Birthday” to her.

“Jumanji 4” is the latest in the “Jumanji” franchise that started in 1995 with a magical board game that sucks people into a different world. In the 2017 sequel “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” it morphed into a video game. Johnson and Jack Black, whose Facebook page is disappointingly devoid of local references, play archeologists who are actually avatars of two of the teenagers playing the game.

Set in the future, “Bios” follows a robot Hanks’ character creates to take care of his dog once he dies. The robot, according to imdb.com, “learns about life, love, friendship and what it means to be human.”

The two major films are not the only productions in the works on Navajo. Producers for the BBC show “Hairy Bikers,” which is about “two guys from the north of England who for many years have been seen on BBC television traveling the world on their motorbikes, unearthing fascinating stories and great food,” according to its assistant producer, were scoping out Monument Valley and Kayenta last week, and Calloway Golf Films is supposed to be in Steamboat tomorrow for a documentary on Rez golf. But you didn’t hear it from us.


 To read the full article, pick up your copy of the Navajo Times at your nearest newsstand Thursday mornings!

Are you a digital subscriber? Read the most recent three weeks of stories by logging in to your online account.

  Find newsstand locations at this link.

Or, subscribe via mail or online here.




About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.