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September 20, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Hollywood titan making commercial for casinos, but what about Vegas movie?

Imagine playing at a casino where the toss of the dice can land you in a steamy jungle or open a gateway for giant wasps to attack slot junkies.

Then again, just because Jonathan Hensleigh, who wrote the screenplay for 1995’s “Jumanji,” has written and will direct a commercial for two downtown casinos — The D and Golden Gate — doesn’t mean he’s going to create a spot featuring Midwesterners in some death-defying, save-the-world fantasy.

Hensleigh’s involvement in the project might surprise some given his Hollywood pedigree, which includes credits as screenwriter for “Die Hard: With A Vengeance” (1995) and the must-see-for-comic-book-nerds “The Punisher” (2004). He has also directed movies, including “The Punisher” and “Kill The Irishman” (2011).

Hensleigh is no stranger to downtown Las Vegas.

He is co-owner of one of the first bars, The Griffin, to find a home in the Fremont East Entertainment District.

Hensleigh will be using Silver State Production Services, whose office is across the street from The Griffin, for the shoot in June.

Chris Ramirez, who runs Silver State, said he and Hensleigh are also working on the concept for a Las Vegas-based film. No other details on that one for now.

Whatever Hensleigh does come up with, here’s to hoping it’s more than your standard casino commercial featuring beautiful women, winning gamblers and close-up shots of the buffet table.

Actually, a little adventure-fantasy would be nice.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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