During the Sony panel at SDCC, Jack Black and director Rob Letterman discussed the plot of the new Goosebumps movie, and showcased some footage of the recently wrapped production.
Director Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens) showed up for the panel along with star Jack Black, a mere two days after they wrapped production to discuss the film’s production history as well as what to expect from the final film before showing off a first-look at some (incomplete) footage. Goosebumps is a relatively meta-narrative which incorporates R.L. Stine as he interacts with and outruns his own creations. Here’s the official synopsis:
In Goosebumps, upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah to get all of them back in the books where they belong.
Letterman explained that instead of adapting a single book, the Goosebumps movie will take advantage of the anthology nature of the series, essentially throwing all of Stine’s monsters into one film. “The idea behind the movie is what if all of R.L. Stine’s creatures got loose and [the characters] have to go on an adventure to put them back in?”
Some highlights from the the SDCC footage were Stine and the kids driving in the town while a massive praying mantis attacks them (still in a pre-viz as the film just wrapped), a huge funhouse, a wolfman character, the Pasadena snowman, knife-throwing gnomes, and the ringleader of all of the monsters, the ventriloquist dummy Slappy.
Letterman and Black describe Slappy as one of their favorites and chose to have him act as an alter-ego of the R.L. Stine character; “He’s R.L. Stine’s dark side,” Black explained. Slappy also acted as the main antagonist in four of Stine’s original run of Goosebumps books.
The film’s tone has been described as both scary and funny, mixing in aspects of Monster House and Night At The Museum. From the footage shown at Comic-Con, the film looks to have a clever sense of humor, obviously directed more towards younger viewers but still packing a notable bit of nostalgia for all of us who grew up reading Stine’s books and/or watching the TV series.
Goosebumps is set for release August 7th, 2015.