Teen actress Odeya Rush takes on ghouls, zombies in ‘Goosebumps’

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When Odeya Rush’s breakout movie “The Giver” opened last year, her brothers headed straight down to the cinema. They queued up and got their tickets and prepared for a night of fun. This might not sound all that surprising — until one considers the fact that they chose to watch “Let’s Be Cops,” a raucous comedy that opened against their sister’s movie. “My parents are supportive, of course, but my brothers like to make fun of me,” laughs the 18-year-old actress. “I make fun of them, too.”

When their sister’s next movie, Columbia Pictures’ Goosebumps opens, however, her brothers will definitely be watching her on screen. Rush has six brothers, all of whom love the series of Goosebumps books by acclaimed children’s author R. L. Stine, and their sister is taking the lead female role in the movie adaptation, starring opposite Jack Black, Dylan Minnette and Ryan Lee. “They want to see the movie,” says Rush of her siblings.

Directed by Rob Letterman, “Goosebumps” casts Rush as Hannah, the daughter of a man who lives next door to the film’s young leading man, Zach (Minnette). As the story unfolds, it transpires that Hannah’s father is R. L. Stine (Black) and that the family’s house contains a dangerous secret: the creatures from the author’s stories are in fact real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping the monsters locked up in their books.

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When Stine’s creations are accidentally released from their manuscripts, a crazy night of adventure ensues. It’s an exciting movie, replete with many of the famous monsters from the Goosebumps books.

“The ghouls, or zombies, were the scariest things,” says Rush of the movie monsters. “They were like real life. These really amazing actors played them and they really got into character. Rob was like, ‘They are going to rise out of the ground and you are going to run down here and you are going to turn here,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, got it.’

“But when they started slowly rising up, they began giving us these looks that I was not expecting. I was actually terrified. They were so really believable.”

She says that she scares easily. “I do get scared so easily. I like thrillers. That’s why I like this film, because it is thrilling. You don’t know what is going to happen next. That is the kind of movie I like. So, for example, I love `The Silence of the Lambs.’ It was terrifying but thrilling at the same time. You don’t know what is going to happen next and you are watching on the edge of your seat.”

At just 18 years old, Rush is still making her way in Hollywood, though she has already shown great diversity with performances in the Disney film “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” the horror-thriller “We Are What We Are” and the comedy drama “See You in Valhalla.” Following her breakout performance in the sci-fi drama “The Giver,” which also featured Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, it appears she is set for big things. She recently shot her own short film, and she made sure that she learned as much as possible from those around her on “Goosebumps.”

“I want to tell good stories,” she says. “I want to work with great directors because you don’t know how a movie is going to end up. I want to work with directors and actors who I can learn from. Once the movie is done you don’t have any control. So that’s important.”

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On “Goosebumps” she learned a lot from her director and the movie’s main adult actor, the larger-than-life Jack Black. “I learned a lot about life,” she says of her experiences with Black. “I think the way he approaches life is great. When you talk with him, it is really freeing.”

“He doesn’t take everything so seriously, which is a good approach to have and it created a good feeling for us on set. We weren’t super-nervous that we were going to mess up on set. If you messed something up on this movie you knew Jack was just going to laugh about it. We were all going to laugh about it and that makes you less nervous.”

She particularly enjoyed the fact that her character, Hannah, is not a damsel in distress. “With `Goosebumps,’ Hannah is not the one being scared. In this movie, we are going against stereotypes. Hannah is the one telling Zach, ‘Do you want me to hold your hand?’ She is the one teasing him.

“She is the adventurous and tough one and he is the more conservative one. People don’t always conform to stereotypes and that was one of the great things about `Goosebumps.’ This whole film was a really great experience.”

Opening across the Philippines on October 21, 2015, Goosebumps is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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