I had the chance to meet with Jack Black along with the other lead actors in Goosebumps (Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee and Dylan Minnette) while they were in Houston promoting the film.
Be cool, Jenn. Be cool.
For a detailed movie review (in summary – it’s great!) check out my previous Goosebumps post.
I wanted to share some of the other highlights I learned during our visit. First, let me just tell you – Jack Black is awesome and just as cool off-screen as he is on. He makes you feel like you are friends and you could really just hang out. He walked into the room singing and then said he was excited about the Tex Mex (“a delicious blend of Texas and Mexican cuisines” he explained to actor Minnette who plays Zach Cooper in the movie) waiting for them on the jet.
I was kind of surprised he didn’t invite me to join them after the interview, but it was probably because it was a small jet. And maybe they didn’t get enough food for another person. Anyway, that’s how down to earth he is…you think he might actually invite you to hang with them.
Rush (who plays his daughter, Hannah, in the movie) said that she was initially nervous about acting with Black because she’s a big fan of his work, but “he puts everyone at ease immediately because he’s so approachable,” she said. “He makes fun of himself and made us feel so comfortable every single day, that you kind of forget what a huge star he is, because he’s so down to earth.”
Lee agreed, saying he grew up watching Black’s movies so when he met him during a Super 8 press junket, “it was so cool. I never thought I’d get to work with him!”
Black’s natural ability to spin a yarn might be one of the reasons why he is so authentic in his movies and so likable to so many people. I posted about meeting with him on my personal Facebook page and 200 family and friends immediately commented about how much they love him!
Black said his sons (who are seven and nine years old) don’t want him to tell them his stories now because they just want to go to straight to sleep, but for a long time he would make up adventures to share with them before bedtime. “I would tell them ‘this is the story of the Lord of the Rings’ and then I would just make up stories about hobbits and dragons and adventures and I’d leave it with a cliff hanger – ‘and tomorrow you’ll find out what happened with the Dragon of Algernon,’ ” Black said, pronouncing”Algernon” in that rocker way that he often does with regular words.
Black’s sons loved the movie after screening it at their school in L.A. with their friends (which is not the School of Rock, by the way). Black knew when he read the script that they would “dig” the movie (even though they have not yet started to read the Goosebumps books) because they like “scary stuff”.
Black has a drum set in his basement for his sons, but has not yet pushed formal music lessons because he doesn’t want to demand – “You have to be a rocker!” or else they might rebel. He’s just going to let it happen naturally. Black is obviously a natural musician himself and in the band, Tenacious D, but did you know that Minnette is a rockstar as well?
Minnette is singer/guitarist for The Narwhals, a classic rock band that plays frequently in L.A. venues. During breaks while filming for Goosebumps, Black and Minnette had guitars on set and played together in Black’s trailer. And when The Narwhals played a show in Atlanta last year during filming, Minnette said “Black did an epic introduction and sang a song on stage from Nacho Libre…a very proud moment for me.”
“I love talking music with (Minnette) because he’s super knowledgable about music happening today and I have an encylopedic mind of old school rockers, said Black. “It was interesting to find what bands we both liked… we came together on The Strokes, Arcade Fire and RadioHead.”
Black spoke highly of working with Rush, Lee and Minnette in the movie, referring to them as “the most talented kids in town” to work with. “They are real…they are really good actors and you don’t get that hot blast of cheese,” said Black. “If there’s even a whiff of insincerity with these scenes the whole movie collapses. The relationship here is powerful. It hooks you in and you root for them…you might even shed a tear at the end because it really works…it resonates,” he said. “And they are fun to hang out with. Goofing off on set…translated to great stuff on camera.”
The end of the movie is set up nicely for a sequel, but will there be one? Black said, “It all depends on how this movie does and how well the script turns out for the next one. There should have been a School of Rock 2, but that never happened.”
I had the opportunity to visit with Jack Black, Odeya Rush, Dylan Minnette and Ryan Lee in order to gain perspective in the making of the movie Goosebumps but did not receive any compensation for this post (Tex Mex on the jet would have been nice, though). All opinions expressed are my own. Except that Jack Black is awesome. Because that’s a fact.