This weekend, Goosebumps! author R.L. Stine spoke to a panel at the annual thriller-writers conference, Thrillerfest, and man, was it thrilling! The world-renowned Young Adult Horror author told-all, starting with where his fame began…
RL Stine at Thrillerfest | Image Via Author
According to Stine, he’d never joined this industry with the idea of being a horror writer for children ages eight-to-twelve in mind:
I wrote joke books…I had no idea that children love being scared!
In fact, it wasn’t until Stine wrote his first creepy novel, Blind Date, and was quickly thrust into the world of praise from his new cult of pint-sized and happily terrified fans, that he realized he might be onto something. So, Stine decided to trust in his instincts and take the leap out of the world of comedy, and into the ever-so-spooky world of children, possessed dummies, gooey monsters, and all of the things that go bump in the night!
Image via Amazon
And, as you may already know due to his international notoriety and the sheer prominence the entire Goosebumps franchise holds as an important part of our pop culture history; turning toward horror novels for kids could not have worked out better for our most nostalgic wordsmith. Soon, he was filling bookstores and meet-and-greets with his avid-readers and loyal fans who couldn’t wait to shake his hand and hear him speak.
And, at one particular meet-and-greet that still stands out to Stine today, a teacher approached him at the table and said,
Can I take a picture with you? The kids all think you’re dead…
Never one to get bent out shape too easily, Stine told this story with joy, laughter, and the dry hilarity his friends and family know him for.
R.L. Stine went on to talk about the process of taking his works from the page to the screen; revealing that the first Goosebumps film adaptation was on the seventeenth version of the film script, written by the fourth team of writers, when they finally started filming. He even added that they hired a writer, paying him a flat-rate of $500,000 to go through the Goosebumps script for an afternoon and add-in jokes and silly phrasing. ($500,000?! Anyone know how I can sign-up for that gig?)
Stine also went on to talk about the difficulties and hurdles that came with casting, especially when it was nearing the time to decide which actor would take on the role of R.L. Stine, himself.
For months he mulled over the different actors he thought might be right for the role. And, every time the news broke about an actor who was potentially up for the part, fans would react in such an open (and slightly intense) manner; soon sending messages to Stine about how he should just play the role himself. Receiving an inbox filled with mixed signals and feeling more confused than ever before about who should play the role, Stine decided to take the decision to the two people he trusted most: his wife and son.
But, when he asked his wife, Jane Waldhorn, whether or not he should just play the role himself, she simply replied:
You’re too old to play yourself.
And, when he asked his son, Matthew Stine, for his hot-take on the whole casting process, and if he had any ideas about who should play the part, he said:
I think you should be played by Morgan Freeman.
Feeling like casting Morgan Freeman might be a bit of a stretch, Stine decided to once-again trust his gut and let the casting department go with their first choice actor: Jack Black.
Still, although he didn’t get to play himself, Stine was still granted his very own cameo within the film.
(Also, can we just take a second to talk about how beautifully meta it was for Jack Black, whilst in character as R.L. Stine, to bump into Stine and refer to him as “Mr. Black.” Clever, Goosebumps team, very clever…)
It was so, insanely exciting to spend the afternoon listening to such an important and iconic creator speak so candidly, and in such a fun, light-hearted manner, I’m still buzzing with adrenaline from it all!
The trailer for Goosebumps 2 was released this week, watch it here! The film is expected for release October 12, 2018 (and I don’t know about you but I am so ready!!)
Featured Image via Vox Media