Sony gave SDCC guests a sneak peek at the Goosebumps movie on Saturday, July 26, and Jack Black enjoys talking to a ventriloquist dummy.
Den of Geek spills all about the San Diego Comic-Con panel where Stine appeared to be strolling through the movie set and discussing who could play the creeptastic creator. "I thought maybe I would play myself, but my wife told me I was too old to play myself...so let me introduce my first choice to play me, Jack Black."
With a roaring crowd response, Black walked on stage in the Indigo Ballroom. At the panel, the actor discussed how he came to be a part of a movie so many Millennials will line up to see. Apparently, he went to Stine and received permission to play the part first.
After that nugget of information, Black introduced the film's director Rob Letterman. It seems both men worked together on Gulliver’s Travels. Letterman told Crave Online's Erin Darling that his kids enjoyed the books, so there's a connection beyond Hollywood.
The Monsters vs. Aliens director feels like there's "a lot of responsibility" in creating a movie that honors real-life R.L. Stine's hard work and the fan base. He wanted to stay "true to the spirit to how the books were written." There's something comforting for book lovers when the intent of books are kept in a movie, and not overhauled into a messy spectacle.
Nerdy Minds Magazine posted the full film press release, but the plot line could turn out to be completely genius if filmed correctly. And it sounds like the production team's looking to bridge the books to television in a fun, energetic way.
The movie starts with teenage Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnett, Let Me In) angry about moving from a big city to a small town in Maryland. Can't be easy, but he does enjoy meeting Hannah (Odeya Rush, The Giver), a pretty girl with a secret. Turns out her dad? Is R.L. Stine (Black).
No, not the real writer, but the fictitious version who protects readers and society at large from monsters by "keeping them locked up in their books." It must stink to be "a prisoner of his own imagination," given the creepy and scary elements of the books. So when Zach unleashes fantastical creatures and monsters into the real world, it's up to the trio to wrangle them back where they belong.
And Stine is apparently the exact opposite of what the movie is portraying.
But like Black, Letterman finds the Fear Street author to be funny but with "a real grounded" outlook on life. Dealing with problems in real life, translating them into a fictional story, offers readers an outlet to express a lot of otherwise unwelcome emotions.
Black's character has the element of realism, of suspense, holding onto the humor and levity of an unusual situation. Letterman sees it as a "nice balancing act all the way through."
The whole meta concept is incredibly cool and unusual in storytelling, especially for non-satire teen flicks. Den of Geek noted the previewed footage “was family entertainment with some decent scares and a ton of monsters," like the books. Filming seemed to be a combination of "practical effects" and "pre-vis images."
According to IGN, Goosebumps principally shot in metro Atlanta, Georgia, including Conyers and Madison, and had just finished filming two days before San Diego Comic-Con—which Letterman confirmed in multiple interviews this weekend.
Atlanta-based casting company Project Casting had calls out for the movie during the entire shoot, including a prom dance scene in early June. Sounds like it's going to be a fun mashup of epic scenes and books.
Meanwhile, Den of Geek also reported the audience was given a close up of some of the creepy monsters that'll appear on screen, including "the Scarecrow, the Mummy, the Graveyard Ghouls, the Executioner, the Haunted Mask." And Slappy, the ventriloquist dummy.
Slappy was on stage with Black for a short skit early in the panel. Letterman recalled at the Scholastic office, publisher of the Goosebumps book series, Jack had Slappy on his lap then as well.
Given the passion and enjoyment of the production team, cast, and crew, Goosebumps seems like the right people made the movie after all.