After two decades and 400 million copies of Goosebumps books sold worldwide, R.L. Stine gets to talk about the series in a whole new way: as a major motion picture. He joins actors Dylan Minnette and Ryan Lee in the Special Events Hall at 4:15 p.m. to discuss the long-awaited project of bringing his popular children’s comedy-horror books to the big screen.
“We’ve been talking about a Goosebumps movie for at least 20 years,” Stine says. “And this is how long it took before people got a script and an idea they liked. I think a lot of people are expecting a single book to be dramatized, but instead they came up with this really great idea of using all the monsters from all the books.”
It’s not the most straightforward approach to a Goosebumps adaptation, but it’s a pragmatic solution to an unusual problem: Stine has written so much over the years that there isn’t a logical starting point for a film. There are 180 Goosebumps titles, and multiple spinoffs. “It is staggering, isn’t it?” Stine says. “Who would be crazy enough to write so many books?
And after all those years, the feature film will make Stine the star character of his own series. Jack Black will play the prolific author, whose monsters are let loose from the Goosebumps books in which they’ve been kept. Stine himself is suddenly front and center. “It’s very strange to be the main character in a movie,” he says.
True to form for the series, Stine the character will need the help of some good-hearted teenagers to fend off monsters and save the day, while Stine, the real-life person, is quick to praise the actors who bring those heroes to life. “The three teenagers in it [Minnette, Lee, and Odeya Rush] are just wonderful.They’re just so real and very sweet, and they’re great in it.”
Stine’s goal is for Goosebumps, the movie, to introduce another generation of kids to the books—and through those, the joy of reading.
“For me, the biggest achievement of it is all the millions of kids who learned how to read from [my books],” Stine says. “To me, that’s the legacy.” Now the film is poised to do its part to entertain and inspire kids as well.
This article appeared in the May 31, 2015 edition of PW BookCon Daily.