NOTE: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.
22 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller know how to go out on a high note. Among the highlights of the film, which debuts this weekend, is a cameo-packed closing-credits sequence that raises the bar for post-third-act comedy. But as it turns out, the extended bit was a last-minute addition — one that was filmed only weeks ago.
Instead of ending 22 Jump Street with another sequel setup — as they did with Ice Cube’s “You’re going to college!” send-off at the end of 21 Jump Street — the filmmakers cut to a montage of Jenko and Schmidt in a string of sequels — 22 of ‘em, to be exact, from 23 Jump Street: Medical School to 31 Jump Street: Ninja Academy to the futuristic 2121: Jump Street. We also get to see the various spin-off Jump Street toys that could have been, including talking Schmidt and Jenko action figures.
The zippy, Mad magazine-style montage came together fast. According to the filmmakers, early test audiences for 22 Jump Street were disappointed with the original ending and demanded a happily-ever-after for Jenko and Schmidt ending: “They wanted them to keep doing it forever,” Miller told Yahoo Movies. The idea for the final montage came just over a month ago, during post-production, and was filmed over the course of a single 12-hour day.
“We shot on the Sony lot,” Miller remembers, “and we were [telling the actors], ‘Okay, you’ve got to put on this costume, and we’re going backstage into this kitchen!’ [or] ‘Now we need you down in this alley and you put on this costume!’ We were running like crazy.”
The sequence was designed by Alma Mater, a Hollywood visual studio that was also tasked with creating the credits' various posters, toys, and ephemera. In just a few short weeks, says Alma Mater creative director Brian Mah, "we needed to design and animate 20 full scale movie posters; create a cell-animated cartoon from scratch; design and create a realistic-looking video game; [and] model and fabricate action figures, lunchboxes, and boardgames based on the film...while simultaneously editing the piece as we went. It was a crazy month."
But the slapdash shooting process had some unexpected upsides. Seth Rogen happened to be at work on the Sony lot when Lord and Miller approached him to see if he was interested in doing a cameo. “They were like, ‘Do you want to come do this thing?’,” Rogen remembers. “I was literally at my office. I walked over, did that for an hour, and then went back to work.” Rogen’s guest-turn — in which he teams up with Tatum in 29 Jump Street: Sunday School — in one of the segment’s highlights.
Other key cameos are provided by Bill Hader, who appears in 27 Jump Street: Culinary School (“I actually want to see that one,” Tatum tells Yahoo Movies) and Anna Faris, who does a spot-on Kelly McGillis impression in the Top Gun-inspired 30 Jump Street: Flight Academy. “I think Anna was out of the country,” Tatum says, “and she cut her trip short [to film her part]. They all really went above and beyond, and did us a favor.”
Still, don’t expect to see the likes of 37 Jump Street: Scuba Class anytime soon — neither the filmmakers nor the stars think any of the satirical sequels will ever make it to the big screen. That’s a bummer for Ice Cube, who was apparently looking forward to 42 Jump Street: Beauty School. “Yeah, I’ll send ‘em to beauty school!”, Cube said asked if he’d be game. “They’ll probably get an ‘F.’”
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