SDCC 2014: First Look Images: Jack Black Isn't Quite R.L. Stine in 'Goosebumps'

Thursday, 17 July 2014 11:05 Written by  iamrogue
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SDCC 2014: First Look Images: Jack Black Isn't Quite R.L. Stine in 'Goosebumps'

There's a Goosebumps movie on the way, but it's not based on any of the popular kids' novels you may have torn through in the early-to-mid-1990s.

Actually, Goosebumps is sort of based on a bunch of R.L. Stine's age-appropriate horror tales.

The first images from the movie reveal Jack Black as Stine himself, who must battle his own scarifying creations when they're inadvertently brought to life.

"I play R.L. Stine, who’s not in any of the books," Black tells Entertainment Weekly. "But he’s an essential character in this movie, which is all about when all of his characters come to life. It was kind of a great way to bring out all of the scary beasts and monsters from all of his books in one movie.

Stine's Scholastic books are massive bestsellers, accounting for 350 million copies sold globally.  The individual stories were fodder for episodes of a Fox Kids TV series that ran for four seasons starting in 1994, at the height of the books' popularity.

Still, seeing a comedy star play a version of him must be strange for Stine.  Black felt no pressure playing him, though, as he says, "Even though I’m playing a real person, 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," he continues. "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. He saw what I was doing and he was digging it. Or at least he pretended like he was digging it."

The first of the two pictures above shows Black with the movie's young leads, Odeya Rush and Dylan Minette.

Rush plays Stine's daughter, while Minette plays a teenager who just moved from New York City to a small town where he now lives with his aunt next door to the Stines.  When this new neighbor accidentally brings Stine's horror characters to life, he and his daughter must join the youngster to stop them before they overrun the town.

Goosebumps reunites Black with Rob Letterman, who directed him in the animated shamblefest Shark Tale and the live action oddity Gulliver's Travels.

The cast here has a few ringers like proven hilarity-machines Amy Ryan, Ken Marino, Timothy Simons, and Jillian Bell, the Workaholics regular who just impressed in 22 Jump Street.

"Yeah, I love her. She’s just very instinctual. And very free," Black says of Bell, who plays Minette's aunt. "I feel like her comedy comes from the moment. She clearly prepares but she leaves a lot of room for what happens at the time. You can tell from take to take that she’s mixing it up and going with her gut. It’s a brave kind of comedy. A lot of people micromanage every little joke and gag they do, down to the micron, the atom. And that’s a fine way to approach it, too, I guess, but the people that really take it to the next level are like Jillian, who are just sort of seeing where the scene takes them on the day."

Goosebumps is more than a year away, as it's scheduled to open on August 7, 2015.

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