Jack Black is a man of many occupations — actor, comedian, producer, musician — but it was his starring turn in Goosebumps that recently brought him to Denver. Black portrays author R.L. Stine who must help a trio of teens face-off against his chilling creations who are inadvertently unleashed on- the world. Ever the candid comic, he sounded off on balancing the tone of the film, the logistical challenges of CGI and how he really feels about being the point of origin for catchphrases.J
Brooke Wylie, special to Yellow Scene
Yellow Scene: This movie isn’t super scary — it’s not Saw — but it’s also not for the particularly young children. Was there any conversation about where to tone it down and where to kick it up?
Jack Black: Well that was R.L. Stine’s recommendation — that we stay mindful of the audience. So, it’s okay to scare, but not to traumatize. There’s no blood, for instance.
YS: Which book in the series should people read to gear up for the movie?
JB: If you really want extra credit, I would say, you would read The Blob That Ate Everyone. That actually was the source material for the whole concept of the movie; that all of the characters that R.L. Stine has ever written are real and exist but are locked inside the original manuscripts. There’s a typewriter in that book that has powers, the same way that our typewriter does.
YS: The power of pop culture is sort of surreal — you say ‘skadoosh’ and suddenly it’s on Urban Dictionary — do you ever think about that during the creative process?
JB: For ‘skadoosh,’ I have to give credit to Jared Hess, because I had done Nacho Libre before I worked on Kung Fu Panda and I believe that ‘skadoosh’ is a Jared Hessian creation. But it feels great whenever I see something pop up in pop culture that I had a hand in … I never think anything that comes out of my mouth is going to become a saying.
YS: You recently made a video with Morgan Freeman about the Iran deal. As an actor, does anyone ever warn you against taking a political stand?
JB: No, no. You do the things that you think are right and let the chips fall where they may. My agent doesn’t care. My manager, my publicist, they’re not worried about it, cause sometimes controversy actually helps. Just ask, I don’t know… Kanye? … People, even if they don’t agree with it, like it when people have a strong opinion and stand up for what they believe in.
YS: What were some challenging scenes to shoot in Goosebumps?
JB: There are a few giant scenes in the movie that are set pieces that were more challenging, just in terms of the logistics. The supermarket scene with the werewolf… there were so many moving parts. That special effects werewolf was actually a stuntman with stilt arms. That presented some challenges … And then being chased by the praying mantis. Whenever you have to pretend like something’s there that isn’t there that adds another layer.
YS: Do they put a stick or anything there to help?
JB: Yeah, a terrifying stick.
Goosebumps hits theaters nationwide on Oct. 16. Photo credit: ©2015 CTMG. All Rights Reserved.