Karen Gillan Addresses Her 'Jumanji' Costume

by Amy Roberts

Let me begin by saying that I have fond memories of the original '90s film Jumanji (even if it secretly terrified me as a child), and that I also hold a soft spot for the actress Karen Gillan, who is starring in the 2017 reboot of it. Not only is she happily entrenched in geek culture, but she's also a great actress and comes across as being incredibly smart. So imagine my great dismay when the first official image from the Jumanji reboot movie was released, showing Gillan dressed in a minuscule costume. Her male co-stars, Jack Black, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Kevin Hart, it's worth noting, are all dressed in sensible, well-fitting clothes that barely expose any flesh. On Wednesday, Gillan addressed concerns surrounding her skimpy Jumanji costume on Twitter, by stating, "Jumanji! Yes I'm wearing child sized clothes and YES there is a reason! The pay off is worth it, I promise! #Jumanji."

Which is totally fair enough. Especially when considering that overall plot details concerning the movie haven't really been released thus far. However, the provocative and strange image without any context to explains it just comes across as... provocative and strange.

In considering Gillan's response to the size of her costume, however, I hold hope that the Jumanji reboot may in fact have something startlingly clever and funny up its sleeve to explain it. If the costume is the size that it is because Gillan's character is stuck wearing children's clothes for whatever reason (hey, it's Jumanji, maybe she's been trapped in that big old board game jungle since she was a kid?), then it could provide ample opportunity for some basic, satirical commentary. Perhaps the Jumanji reboot could make a point about how token, female movie characters wear skimpy costumes in action films, and make that point by dressing their lead actress in tiny clothes that are supposed to only really be befitting of children? It could work.

But the horrible, dreadful cynic in me is still concerned. After all, hinting at there being some deliberate reasoning behind Gillan's child-sized costume is all well and good, but it also feels like a bit of a convenient excuse, particularly when we know little else regarding the movie.

For instance, Gillan's tweet implies to me that, at some stage during the Jumanji reboot, there will be a tremendous joke surrounding her character's tiny outfit. But, if that's the case, then why don't the male actors also look as though they're in on that joke? Especially since these guys aren't just any male actors; two of the men repeatedly trade on their size as part of their in-built comedic dynamic. Surely that provides an immediate opportunity for a child-sized clothes joke with a rational payoff, then?

One of the main jokes to be found in the recent Hart and Johnson buddy-movie Central Intelligence, for example, was the big disparity in size between the two lead actors. The cheeky tagline for the film was even Saving the World takes a little Hart and a big Johnson. So if there is a deliberate punchline about the lead female character wearing child-sized clothes, I can't help but wonder why it is that the image doesn't contain the same joke for Hart and Johnson.

Overall, I'm glad to hear that the scene the image has come from may not be representative of her costume throughout the entire film, but there to simply set up a worthwhile joke. Even Johnson urged audiences to trust him on that point in his Instagram posting of the image, and I'm not about to argue with The Rock about anything. But I'll also be incredibly disappointed should audiences discover that the skimpy costume exists for a joke that perhaps isn't worth the payoff, or that feels like a scantily clad opportunity in itself to position the central young woman of the film as little more than an attractive prop.

As an actress, Gillan deserves a far better role than that, and, as a woman, she deserves a great deal more respect. But since I can't know for sure right now, I'm going to silence my cynic and put some blind trust in the idea that the Jumanji reboot is going to be magical and that Gillan's costume (and her character) has a far greater purpose than this singular image has so far revealed.

So, let's just sit back, relax and roll the dice on another few months until we can make a final decision on the film when it's released in theaters in 2017.