It’s taken almost two decades to finally get a Goosebumps movie from page to screen, and producer Neal Moritz is here to explain what the heck took so long.
Way back in the late 1990s, film legend Tim Burton was briefly attached to direct a potential film based on R.L. Stine’s beloved book series. That obviously went nowhere, and the franchise drifted around development hell for years, until it was resurrected with Moritz attached to direct and Jack Black signed on to star as Stine himself in a story where the classic preteen terror tales come to life.
According to Mortiz, the biggest challenge was actually finding a story worth telling within the framework of the world Stine has built. The obvious move would be to adapt a specific story, but that would obviously just tap into a tiny bit of the series’ mythos. So they finally nailed down the current pitch to bring the books to life, which will hopefully serve as a jumping-off point for a fresh story that still brings back all the characters and pieces fans know and love.
A tall order, to be sure. But at least they’re giving it a shot. Here’s Moritz breakdown from a recent interview with HitFix:
"We did two other versions of a screenplay. They were good but they didn't warrant making a movie. In fact, I almost lost the enthusiasm to make a Goosebumps movie because I just didn't think we were doing it justice. But then when I read this version I thought, ‘Now we've got a movie!’ … We never wanted to make it campy. We wanted it to be fun and to have humor, but we wanted to play it as real as we could within the circumstance that we've set up in the movie. Beyond that – I mean the feeling was is ‘Let's play it real but let's go for laughs.’
We really tried to do was make a movie that harkened to the past. Amblin movies. Things like Goonies or Gremlins or even movies like Stand by Me, where there's a great dynamic between kids. In our case it's a movie that has scares, but it's a lot of fun at the same time. That was the biggest challenge for us. Just making a movie that had the right combination of scares and fun."
The first trailers at least look like a fun story, and Black seems right at home in the kid-friendly horror setting. The film opens Oct. 16, so we’ll know a whole lot more this fall.
What do you think? Are they telling the right story?