One of the movies I’m most nervous about in 2015 would have to be Goosebumps, which finds Jack Black playing a fictional iteration of author R.L. Stine, who wrote the iconic kids horror series of the title. The film will re-team Black with Rob Letterman, the same director he worked with on the godawful Gulliver’s Travels, and it doesn’t draw from any particular installment in the Goosebumps series. Instead, it finds a cowardly version of Stine (Black) combatting his creations when they come to life and menace his neighborhood.
The movie also stars teen actors Dylan Minnette (Prisoners) and Odeya Rush (The Giver) as Stine’s neighbor and daughter, who team up with him to fight the monsters. The first images from Goosebumps, revealed by Entertainment Weekly, showcase all three lead actors, in addition to some zombies who seem none-too-happy to see Stine. Speaking with EW about the film, Black shed some light on what he brought to the table when playing Stine:
“This is obviously a fictionalized version of his life and nothing that happens in this movie actually happened to him, other than him writing all the books. So I felt like, I was just going to approach it as a character, doing what I thought was most dramatically interesting and right for what was needed. I also got to meet R.L. and he’s a really great guy. Really smart and funny and sweet. But I made [the character] more of a sort of curmudgeonly dark, brooding beast master. So from the very beginning, I was taking liberties. I think he’s cool with it though. [Laughs] He’s been on set and he actually did a little cameo.”
Here’s hoping that Goosebumps isn’t as terrible as Black and Letterman’s last collaboration. Fans of Stine’s series have been loyal enough over the years that they deserve a genuinely good adaptation of Goosebumps, but I just don’t see this story doing right by the source material. Prove me wrong, Black!
Goosebumps opens August 7th, 2015.