Doing a ton of film work
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Another incredibly crucial element of the Fast & Furious franchise is its skill for anticipating what an audience wants, and delivering it the most insane level. Oh you like car chases? How about a car chase with a massive safe being hurled around like a wrecking ball? How about a car chase involving a tank or a jumbo jet on fire? The greatest joys of this franchise are that they are so packed with completely gonzo action that they tell your brain to just shut the hell up and enjoy the ride. But key to their execution is the building of tension, and a sharp skill for directing action.
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Of course the action scenes in horror movies are a bit different. Instead of muscle cars tearing down highways at impossible speeds, you have characters tearing around a house ridden with ghosts and lurking dangers. From Saw, The Conjuring or Insidious: Chapter 2, Wan has shown a skill at building hair-raising tension in sequences like this. He has a decent skill for pacing, drawing out moments of terror and then punctuating them with a well-placed scare. But more importantly, he has a keen sense of spatial awareness in his movies that will prove a necessary asset in Fast & The Furious 7.
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With so many characters in play in that film series, there are usually at least 3 or more cars the audience needs to keep track of to understand an action setup. In his horror movies, Wan is very mindful to establish the houses that are plagued by poltergeists before all hell breaks lose, so that when audiences need to understand where characters are in relation to the haunted music room or the creepy basement, they do. If an action director doesn’t establish these things, it makes action sequences incoherent and frustrating rather than engaging and fun. The long in-development live-action movie based on R.L. Stine's popular horror series Goosebumps is finally taking some major steps towards production, and today it's not only been revealed who is likely to star in it, but also what the basic story is about. The Wrap is reporting that Jack Black is now in negotiations to star in the film, which is set to be directed by Rob Letterman.
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According to the new story, the film will have Black playing the role of a "Stine-like author," which presumably means that he will primarily focus on young-adult horror. Problems begin, however, when the stuff that the writer puts on the page begin to come alive and torment him (which kind of makes the movie sound like a scary version of John Candy's 1991 film Delirious). There is no mention of who is responsible for this version of the screenplay, though it was only in 2012 that Sony hired Jack The Giant Slayer scribe Darren Lemke to write a script
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While it's a bit hard to explain, there's something about this casting that just sits perfectly with me. I was a big fan of the book series growing up, and loved that they balanced out occasionally legitimately spooky stories with a side of goofiness and fun. Provided that Black doesn't go too far off the rails, which admittedly tends to be the biggest problem with his style, then the star should be a good fit for the tone of the story mixing a fun sense of humor with the intensity that comes with being the lead singer of Tenacious D.
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What does give me pause about this project is Letterman's presence as director. He has previously worked with Black two times before, and the results were Shark Tale and Gulliver's Travels (the latter of which was his live-action debut). It's possible that this time around he'll be working from a better script - the story sounds at least mildly interesting - and he's got a better sense of live-action filmmaking, but I'm hesitant to hold my breath.
Black hasn't been doing a ton of film work as of late, but very recently got rave reviews for his turn as real-life serial killer Bernie Tiede in Richard Linklater's festival hit Bernie. He'll next have a small role in the Jake Kasdan-directed comedy Sex Tape with Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz, and will be returning to voicing Po in 2015's Kung Fu Panda 3.