In the early 1990s, R.L. Stine changed the face of YA horror in the early '90s with the publication of his Goosebumps novels. An iconic television series was produced three years after the release of the first book, but it took Hollywood more than 20 years to figure out how to adapt the author's large collection of frightening tales into a feature-length film.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Stine talked about how the task of turning his books into a movie stumped Tinseltown for the longest time. Naturally, a best-selling selling series was a gold mine just waiting to be exploited at the box office, but they just couldn't find the proper way to adapt what was basically a horror anthology in book form.
"That’s what hung them up; no one could decide what to do," he said. "Then, somebody had the idea to have it be about R.L. Stine and his books coming to life. Once they had that idea, then they started getting scripts that they liked. Up until then, there weren’t any scripts that they wanted to do. I don’t know if I’m supposed to talk about this or not, but the script that they used for Goosebumps was the 17th script."
The live-action Goosebumps project landed at Sony Pictures and was directed by Rob Letterman (Pokémon: Detective Pikachu). Released in 2015, it starred Jack Black (The House With a Clock In Its Walls) as the author trying to recapture his most terrifying creations as they come to life in the small town of Madison, Delaware. Before Black was cast, many fans wanted Stine to play himself.
"They said, 'Who could play you better than you?' I went to my wife, Jane [Waldhorn], and I said, 'Jane, a lot of people think I should play myself in the Goosebumps movie.' And she replied, 'You’re too old to play yourself.' Of course, she was right," the author added.
In the end, Stine got a seconds-long cameo at the end as a teacher at the local high school. Despite his short appearance, the cameo took 25 times to get right.
"It wasn’t my fault; it was other things that went on, but 25 times! I told Jack, 'I can’t work like this,'" Stine finished with a laugh.
A sequel to the first movie, Haunted Halloween (directed by Ari Sandel) was released back in October.