Exclusive: Jack Black and Principal Cast Talk ‘Goosebumps’

Jack-Black-Goosebumps-Roundtable

The (mostly) family friendly, horror-comedy “Goosebumps,” based on the best selling book series, opens this weekend in theaters across the country. In this version, Jack Black plays R.L. Stine surrounded by a cast of talented and emerging teenage actors (including Odeya Rush, Dylan Minnette, and Ryan Lee) as Stine’s creations have escaped his manuscripts reeking havoc on their sleepy small town. I had an opportunity to speak with them during an amusing and humorous round table about balancing various genres, Stine’s involvement in the adaptation process, and how familiar they were with reading the books.

Kenny (Film Fad)

Balancing two genres within a movie can be challenging because it can alienate both types of audiences. Jack Black agrees that “Goosebumps” does a decent job at being a horror comedy that’s safe for brave children.

Jack Black

“Well that was R.L. Stines’ recommendation that we be mindful of the audience.” “It is okay to scare but not traumatize so there’s no blood for instance. I have kids a 7 and a 9 year old and they love it.”

Goosebumps-Snowman

“You’ve got all the monsters from the original book series…literally all of them.”

Kenny (Film Fad)

With adapting a best selling book, you want to tap into the fan culture while being able to bring in new audience members. The cast agreed that “Goosebumps” manages to be for general audiences and die-hard fans of the book.

Jack Black

“You’ve got all the monsters from the original book series…literally all of them. You don’t to have need to read the books.”

Odeya Rush

“We created a new story with mixing the original monsters that everyone loves…There’s no book this is based on.”

Kenny (Film Fad)

Sometimes, authors are or aren’t involved in the creative process. R. L. Stine wanted to be updated with progress on “Goosebumps,” but seemed to prefer a hands off approach trusting the director and actor adapting his characters.

Jack Black

“We went and met with the director Rob Letterman and he gave us his blessing…He thought the script was great and we just went with it.” “I’m stoked that he really liked the movie…he was really pleased with how it turned out.”

Kenny (Film Fad)

Likewise actor Dylan Minnette who plays the main character agreed.

Goosebumps-Night-of-the-Living-Dummy

Slappy is the antagonist in this

Dylan Minnette

“I guess the point of the movie is it is exciting for fans of the books but also it’s made so you don’t have to know anything from the series at all or be attached to anything.” “If anything, I would have to pick ‘Night of the Living Dummy’ because Slappy is the antagonist in this.”

Kenny (Film Fad)

Though not a direct adaptation of one of R. L Stine’s books, Jack Black referenced that one of his books had plot similarities, manuscripts, and characters coming to life, to “Goosebumps.” Jack Black also wanted to clear the air that this isn’t an accurate portrayal of the author, but just Black having a lot of fun creating his own version of a character with separate motives.

Jack Black

“My version of R. L. Stine is not the version he really is.” “He harbors bitterness and resentment from his childhood that he was bullied and was sort of outside of the cool kid circle. He carried that with him and that range is what drives his creativity. And that’s where all the monsters come from.”

Kenny (Film Fad)

Odeya Rush enjoyed playing her character because she encompasses a modern woman we don’t typically see in Hollywood. Rush seemed relieved to play an independent, strong minded character.

Odeya Rush

“I think Hannah is really cool because she takes charge in a lot of situations.” “Everyone around me is trying to protect Hannah but at the same time she’s the one calling Zach ‘scare-dy’ cat. She’s the one leading him into the woods. I love that scene where she is leading him into the woods because those types of dates are those trying to get to know each other…It is okay to be dominate and take charge.”

Goosebumps-Jack-Black

“My version of R. L. Stine is not the version he really is.”

Kenny (Film Fad)

Some actors were more familiar with the books than others and had stories to tell about what they knew about them.

Ryan Lee

“I haven’t read any to the amount that. I remember them at book fairs and I was always around them and I definitely knew RL Stine’s name. I think he had an influence on kids in general.”

Kenny (Film Fad)

Odeya Rush had a funny and memorable story about how the people in her life loved “Goosebumps.”

Odeya Rush

“My 4 younger brothers were obsessed with them so when I got the script that’s all I’ve heard about.” “I went to a party a few days ago and there were a lot of people in their twenties. They were freaking out…They loved it so much growing up. It’s amazing to see how it affected people’s lives and childhood.”

Dylan Minnette

“I read the books growing up.” “It was a very big influence on me.” “It is really cool and full circle to be acting in this feature…it inspired me to read.”

Kenny (Film Fad)

Ryan Lee recalled knowing the name of R.L. Stine and remembering them from the Scholastic while in school. In discussing the challenging aspects to filming “Goosebumps,” the actors agreed  that the bigger, thrilling moments were the harder ones to shoot.

Odeya Rush

“The ice skating rink was cold.” “Also I’m not coordinated or as fast as them. We were running on the sneakers on the ice and I fell…I fell so many times.”

Kenny (Film Fad)

Also, Jack Black mentioned how any scenes with the creatures chasing the characters involving special effects took the longest.

Jack Black

“There’s a few giant scenes in the movie that are set pieces that took a few days each that were more challenging just in terms of the logistics.” “The supermarket scene with the werewolf. The Abominable Snowman was a tough one it took a few days. Also being chased by the praying mantis. Whenever you have to pretend something isn’t there that always adds an extra layer.”


“Goosebumps” opens in theaters nationwide this Friday and is recommended entertainment that faithfully adapts the horror elements of the series in the context for pre-teen audiences.

Kenny

Author: Kenny

Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers working as special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.

Share This Post On

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This