'Goosebumps 2: Halloween' star Caleel Harris talks about the upcoming horror flick in exclusive interview
Sony's adaptation of the classic R.L Stine tale is out on Friday, October 12. Harris plays the role of Sam Carter, one of the boys who accidentally release Slappy the Dummy
It may be his first big role in a film, but 15-year-old Caleel Harris is no stranger to fame. Critically acclaimed for his portrayal of a young Henry Deaver in 'Castle Rock', Harris was absolutely impeccable as baby Deaver, who goes on to become a criminal law attorney in Texas specializing in capital punishment cases. The adult version of the character is portrayed by actor Andre Holland.
He's now set to make his mark on the big screen with Sony's 'Goosebumps 2: Halloween' that premieres on Friday, October 12. Harris plays the role of Sam Carter in the movie adaptation of the R.L Stine series. The plot follows two young boys accidentally releasing Slappy the Dummy and the Goosebumps monsters into their town, causing a wave of violence, death, and destruction on Halloween night.
One cannot help but draw comparisons with Stephen King's 'IT' when watching the trailer for the film. It has similar elements with the classic. Curious teens, some wholesome horror and the fact that they are both based on iconic books that have terrified many. Harris, however, begs to differ. He says it's got the family appeal which 'IT' lacks.
In all honesty, Pennywise was a little chilling. "What differentiates 'Goosebumps 2' from movies like 'IT', is that it’s a movie for all ages and audiences. You can take your little brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews to go see this movie, and any horror fan can enjoy it just as much as they will. 'Goosebumps 2' is a very well-rounded movie. It packs punches with the action scenes, has those moments of scares, and also includes a bit of goofiness, all while making sense within the plot," Harris told MEAWW.
He told us that 'Goosebumps' will be relatable and super fun to watch - almost as fun as it was to film. "Besides the film being Halloween themed, there are elements of action, adventure, drama, and comedy all rolled into one. And this can be relatable on a teen level," Harris said before adding, "These are average teenagers taking down monsters! This movie is going to be a blast to watch. I had an amazing time filming this I honestly can’t wait for the rest of the world to see it. I think the major takeaway from 'Goosebumps 2' is that bringing Halloween to life can really test the limits of your imagination."
While 'IT' was pretty close to the real book, 'Goosebumps' may not match the book to the tee, Harris revealed. "'Goosebumps 2' includes some of your favorite classic monsters straight out of the classic books, but also throws brand new ones in the mix, like those killer gummy bears in the trailers," he pointed. However, he also added that the film tries hard to stay true to its roots and not disappoint those who are fans of the books. "At the end of the day, though, 'Goosebumps' wants to stay as true to the works of R.L. Stine as possible, and still have those frights and scares that give you 'Goosebumps' just like the books did."
Harris said meeting R.L Stine was an absolute treat, especially since he had read his book even before he knew that he was going to be on the film's cast. "I was SO excited when I found out that I had got this role. Being in such a fun movie with so many visual effects and green screens was especially cool because I had never done anything like this or on this scale. I’ll never forget when I met R.L. Stine; it was so crazy for me. Standing in front of the man who created all of these monsters, characters (and, of course, Slappy!), was unbelievable," he recalled. His special mention? 'The Night of the Living Dummy'.
With 'Goosebumps 2: Halloween', Harris has officially stepped into his second horror project. Clearly a horror buff, he says working on Hulu's 'castle Rock' and then this production has helped him expand his horror range. "Just seeing the contrast between more dramatic film productions such as Castle Rock, from the vibe of the more light-hearted thrills of an adventure-comedy film like 'Goosebumps' has helped me with my range as an actor," he said. However, his dream job would probably be saving the world on screen. "I'd love to take up the superhero genre. Those are some of my favorite movies to watch, and it would be a dream come true to be a part of one," he added.
Harris is currently working on 'Central Park Five' with legendary director Ava DuVernay. The miniseries documents the famous Central Park jogger case from 1989 in which a jogger was attacked in Central Park in New York City. In that case, five juvenile males were subsequently convicted of the crime before being exonerated in 2002. The series is set to feature an ensemble cast including Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, and Storm Reid. Harris plays the role of Anton McCray, one of the boys wrongfully convicted in the case. "This is a very emotionally heavy role to take on, but I believe that it is very necessary for this story to be told. I would love to tell more stories such as this one. Working on a project that focus on real-world problems has been a truly eye-opening experience," Harris said.
The series is set to air on Netflix in 2019.