If you grew up in the 90s, you are probably well acquainted with the works of R.L. Stine, but if you’re not he has a written output that makes Stephen King and John Grisham look like slackers. Basically, many of Stine’s novels fill a void between the Great Pumpkin and Freddy Krueger, perfectly inoffensive spine-tinglers for tweens, a kind of Twilight Zone meets Are You Afraid of the Dark? kind of thing. But while Goosebumps‘ popularity may have waned in the wake of the likes of Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games, it’s still got that magical name cache that studios love. So let’s take it to the movies!
Director? How about Rob Letterman? The man behind the animated hit Monsters Vs. Aliens is in negotiations with Sony to take over the project. Last year it was reported that screenwriter Darren Lemke (Jack the Giant Slayer) was hired to do a page one rewrite after attempts made to bring the book series to the big screen in 2008 and 2010 by Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters) and Carl Ellsworth (The Last House on the Left), respectively.
So is Letterman the one to make this happen? Good chance. His directing has leaned to the side of youth material that also might appeal to adult moviegoers. Aside from Monsters Vs Aliens, he also directed the animated Sharktale and the live-action Gulliver’s Travels. I would say that he definitely knows how to walk the fine line between kid-friendly and broad appeal, which might produce a focus group proof take on the concept that could get Sony to pony up a production budget. Time will tell.
Goosebumps was previously brought to the screen, be it the small screen, in the mid-90s as a series produced by Canadian cable network YTV. Like the books, it was an anthology series and feature a host of young Canadian talent, some of whom went on to have a career after Goosebumps like Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, V), Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil) and Hayden Christensen (the Star Wars prequels). Adam “Batman” West, also guest starred on a couple of episodes.
More news as it develops.