Comedian Jack Black talks about the new monster themed movie GOOSEBUMPS from best selling author R.L Stine.
Watch the trailer below
What was it about ‘Goosebumps’ that attracted you to star in it?
Well, I read the script and loved it. I thought it was really funny and scary in the right amounts. It was something that I could take my kids to see. There’s an exhilaration that comes with being scared. I can see it in my kids. I have a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old, and they love to be scared. They’re obsessed with it, and I think part of it is that it’s cool if you can watch something scary, and you’re brave enough to watch it. I wouldn’t let them watch ‘The Shining’, though! Really, that’s why I wanted to make this film — because it’s scary, but it’s not too scary. Rob [Letterman, the director] has kids about the same age as me, so we were conscious of making something scary that they would like and think is cool, but without crossing the boundary and giving them nightmares.
How challenging was it to play this character?
This felt very natural to me, maybe because I have entered a dark period of my life (laughs). I am able to play characters with a little more depth, a little more darkness, of a little more intimidating nature.
What can you recall of your meeting with the books author R.L. Stine?
I met with R.L. Stine in an attic of an old building in New York City but it was a nice attic. It wasn’t like a creepy attic; there were no scary cobwebs. It was at Scholastic Publishing, the headquarters of the biggest children’s book corporation, and they love him over there because he is one of the biggest-selling kids’ book writers of all time. Actually, with him and J. K. Rowling I have just realized that you have to have two letters and then your last name if you want to write best-selling children’s books (laughs)! Anyway, I get to the attic and he is there, wearing black, and he looks at me, and he smiles. I think we hugged. We sat down and talked about the movie and our plans and I said to R.L., ‘I am not going to be doing an imitation of you. I’d like to do an interpretation of you because the movie calls for this dark, sinister, intimidating presence and obviously you are a sweetheart.’ I didn’t want to ruin the movie by doing an exact impersonation of all the actual R.L. Stine. He was pleased. He said, ‘I totally get it, and do whatever you have to do to make a good movie.’ And he loved the script. In the meeting it was just me, R.L., Rob Letterman, a couple of executives and then Slappy the doll was there sitting in a chair staring at us the whole time in a really creepy way. Which books influenced you when you were growing up?
The first book I ever really enjoyed was science fiction for children, ‘A Wrinkle In Time’. It was great and then I started reading all the science fiction books, by people like Ray Bradbury. I loved ‘’TheMartian Chronicles. And then Isaac Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’. I also really liked Kurt Vonnegut. I loved his books because he had a great sense of existential crisis. I really got into Edgar Allen Poe as well and loved all of his stories. They were the first scary stories that I read.
Were you a dark child?
All of us kids that liked heavy metal, like Black Sabbath and all of that stuff, it was all about the devil (laughs). So it was Black Sabbath and Rosemary’s Baby. And then any of those horror films like The Exorcist, they went hand in hand with heavy metal music. They were cut from the same cloth.
Have you ever tried writing scary children’s stories yourself?
No. I haven’t written any stories or books or anything like that. I wrote a screenplay, ‘The Pick of Destiny’. That is the only real thing I have ever written. I have written a lot of songs but no scary ones. There is no R.L. Stine in me. I wish that I were a great writer. That would be cool. Then I could be writing all my own movies and stuff.
What scary movies do you watch with your kids?
Mostly the old movies because the old movies aren’t really scary anymore, like the original ‘Frankenstein’. All of those black and white ones are open season — except for ‘Psycho!’ That one is a little too much; Hitchcock was tapping into something very hairy and scary with that movie. Anyway, we watched ‘The InvisibleMan’ recently. My sons loved that one and when you watch it, it is kind of like ‘The Three Stooges’; it’s mostly funny. The special effects were so rudimentary.