Jack Black plays fictional version of real-life author in ‘Goosebumps’

At the center of Columbia Pictures’ new adventure comedy Goosebumps is top comic actor Jack Black (“Kung Fu Panda,” “King Kong”) in the role of R.L. Stine, real-life author of the hugely popular book series, Goosebumps.
The film brings the Goosebumps series to life on the big screen for the first time, combining dozens of author R.L. Stine’s famous creations into one hilariously spine-tingling movie.

Black says that he put in the work to make Stine a completely unique character. “When I read the script a few times, I felt like the character needed to look and sound different than me – it couldn’t be like the dude from `School of Rock’ is now the writer R.L. Stine,” he says. “No, it needed to be a character that I haven’t played before, someone with a little more gravitas, a respected writer. So, I worked on his voice, and I decided to give him a little bit of an Orson Wells-ian accent. Refined. I wanted him to be someone with a taste for the finer things.”

Naturally, Black’s character is nothing like the real R.L. Stine, who in real life is actually a jovial fellow. “I like to play characters, to get behind the façade,” says Black. “When I get into an accent, or a character who’s different from myself, it frees me up to do things I wouldn’t normally do – I get embarrassed saying certain lines or doing certain things if it feels like I’m doing it myself. Putting on a mask and a voice frees you up to express yourself better.”

As a result, it doesn’t matter that he’s nothing like the real-life Stine; Black’s character is hilarious and perfect for the movie. “The funniest parts of my character are his vanity and pride about his track record,” says Black. “There was ample opportunity for him to get on a high horse and remind the others that he’s better than they are.”

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“This was my third time working with Jack, so we’ve gotten used to each other,” says director Rob Letterman. “It was very cool to see him sink his teeth into this, because I know he’s a classically trained actor and has amazing acting chops, but the rest of the world always thinks of him as Jack Black the comedian. So it was really nice for him to do both, and it was also incredibly helpful for the movie, because Jack helps navigate the tone – he lets people know that the movie is okay for kids, but at the same time, yes, we could get a little bit of edge in there.”

In “Goosebumps,” teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette), upset about moving from a big city to a small town, finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door, and makes a quick friend in Champ (Ryan Lee). But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah’s mysterious dad is in fact R.L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series.

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As Zach starts learning about the strange family next door, he soon discovers that Stine holds a dangerous secret: the creatures that his stories made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Stine’s creations are unintentionally released from their manuscripts, Zach’s life takes a turn for the weird. In a crazy night of adventure, it’s up to Zach, Hannah, Champ, and Stine to team up and get all of these figments of Stine’s imagination – including Slappy the Dummy, the girl with the haunted mask, the gnomes and many more – back in the books where they belong to save the town.

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

‘Victor Frankenstein’ reanimates movie monster

Filming a re-imagining of Frankenstein was, jokes director Paul McGuigan, rather like giving life to a movie monster. McGuigan, admirably lauded for his thrilling works in exceptional movies with A-list actors such as Bruce Willis, Josh Hartnett and Ben Kingsley in “Lucky Number Slevin,” Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning in “Push,” Tom Hardy, Paul Bettany and Willem Dafoe in “The Reckoning,” Paul Bettany and David Thewlis in “Gangster No. 1” and “Wicker Park” with Josh Hartnett and Rose Byrne and who has also directed several episodes of the acclaimed BBC television series Sherlock, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch now helms an electrifying monster of a movie in Victor Frankenstein starring James McAvoy (“X-Men” films) and Daniel Radcliffe (“Harry Potter” films) as loyal allies at a time when scientific breakthroughs from the period’s greatest minds are at its peak.

Mary Shelley’s classic Gothic novel about the eccentric scientist, Victor Frankenstein, and his quest to create life, was first published in 1818 and has captivated generations of readers and later, cinema audiences, ever since. At the core of this new Frankenstein story – just like with (Sherlock) Holmes and Watson – is the friendship between Frankenstein and Igor.

McAvoy plays Doctor Victor Frankenstein a brilliant scientist at the forefront of pioneering medical research. He wants to save lives and then becomes obsessed with the idea of creating life itself. Igor – a character that first appeared in movie versions of the story, but was not in the novel – is a lowly, downtrodden, disfigured clown at a travelling circus where his only friend is a trapeze artist, the beautiful Lorelei (played by Jessica Brown Findlay).

“He starts off in the script just known as ‘the hunchback’, and he works at the circus,” explains Radcliffe. “He’s grown up there, and he’s worked there all his life. His retreat, mentally, is to surround himself with medical books, medical dictionaries. He’s self-taught, very intelligent, and incredibly capable.

“One day, when there is an accident at the circus and Lorelei falls, he rushes out to treat her. Victor happens to be there and sees him performing impromptu surgery. He saves this person’s life, with Victor’s help, and that’s how they meet. At that point Victor obviously sees that he is this undervalued, abused, savant, who has been treated terribly.”

With a screenplay by Max Landis, McGuigan and his stellar ensemble cast – including James McAvoy as Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor – filmed their version of Frankenstein at Longcross Studios, and on location in the UK. It was, the director admits, challenging. “We have animatronics, we have action, we have electricity and lightning and, of course, we have a monster – things that are quite inventive and on paper you go ‘yeah, that would be a good idea…’ and then you have to figure out how to do it. So it’s been a big challenge, but it’s been fun, too.”

McGuigan’s says that Landis has taken the essence of the book – and elements of Frankenstein’s rich cinema history – and created a unique take on the story. “It’s taking the core themes of the book – the re-birthing idea, bringing the dead back to life and the science of that and the moral issues it brings up and all of those things – but at the same time we’ve kind of shied away from being quite heavily over wrought with melodrama, which Mary Shelley’s book was.

“We have plenty of spectacle in the film but we are not the $200 million movie that people are going to put their 3D glasses on to watch; this is done old school and a lot of the effects are done through the camera, we blow up things through the camera. And in that way it’s been quite exhausting and the boys have done their own action, which has been fantastic. When you have two great actors like this, you want to see them do this stuff and they do it. It’s great,” McGuigan reveals.

See the monster come alive in Victor Frankenstein when it opens on November 25, 2015 in cinemas nationwide as released by 20th Century Fox and to be distributed by Warner Bros.

WATCH: 2015 MMFF entry ‘#Walang Forever’ teaser

Quantum Films has just released a teaser for the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry #Walang Forever with Jennylyn Mercado and Jericho Rosales. It also stars Carlo Aquino, Juan Miguel Severo, Jerald Napoles, Matt Daclan, Edna Froilan and Nonoy Froilan among others.

#Walang Forever is directed by Dan Villegas who helmed the Jennylyn Mercado and Derek Ramsay-starrer English Only, Please from last year’s MMFF and The Breakup Playlist starring Piolo Pascual and Sarah Geronimo.

The story of #Walang Forever tells that of Mia (Jennylyn Mercado), a celebrated writer of romantic-comedy films, who is at a turning point in her life. Because of her dilemmas,  she finds it difficult to believe that love could last. Everything comes to a head when Ethan (Jericho Rosales) returns, only for her to find out that he has become a cynic of lasting love because she broke his heart.

The romantic comedy film #Walang Forever opens December 25, 2015 as produced by Quantum Films.

‘Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse’ teases humor, horror

Paramount Pictures has shared the domestic and international posters for its upcoming teen-oriented horror comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, both carrying the innuendo-filled tagline, “Always Bring Protection.”

Packed with blood-soaked gags and inappropriate humor, “Scouts Guide” is said to be equal parts gory horror and raunchy comedy, pulling no punches on both grounds.

The movie stars Tye Sheridan, David Koechner, Cloris Leachman, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan and Sarah Dumont.

In “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse”, three scouts and lifelong friends join forces with one badass cocktail waitress to become the world’s most unlikely team of heroes. When their peaceful town is ravaged by a zombie invasion, they’ll fight for the badge of a lifetime and put their scouting skills to the test to save mankind from the undead.

Opening across the Philippines on November 11, 2015, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.