‘Goosebumps' star Odeya Rush opens up about Jack Black and her fear of monsters
Down-to-earth actress began her career by entertaining her four younger brothers at home.
When it comes to scary movies, it doesn’t take much to freak out Odeya Rush. “I scare so easily. ‘Monsters Inc.’ is about my limit,” she confesses about the Pixar film. So you might be surprised to find her in the new horror comedy “Goosebumps,” based on R.L. Stine’s wildly popular kids’ book series and starring Jack Black as a fictionalized version of the author. The 18-year-old Rush plays his daughter, Hannah, but she wasn’t scared by the monsters that emerge from the books and come to life.
“You know the script, so you know what’s coming,” the Israeli-American actress tells From The Grapevine in an interview this week. Director Rob Letterman showed the cast animation previews of what the monsters would look like, and with some specific choreography and practice, Rush got the hang of working with stuff that wasn’t actually there. “After a few weeks of doing it, it becomes easy. You just use your imagination.”
PHOTOS: Odeya Rush's rise to fame
Rush hadn’t read the “Goosebumps” books but loved the script and the idea of working with Letterman and the cast, Jack Black especially. “He’s the greatest guy, so sweet and down to earth. I was kind of intimidated meeting him, but he comes into a room and makes fun of himself and of you, so it’s like family,” she says.
She’s been in the movies “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” and “The Giver” and appeared in TV’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Law & Order: SVU,” but “Goosebumps” was on a grander scale than anything she’d done before. “I’ve never done a movie this big, with a huge, diehard fan base,” she says. “But at the same time it didn’t feel distant. We were really involved in it.” Rush filmed "Goosebumps" last spring while on location in Atlanta.
Born in Haifa, Israel, Rush grew up with two older brothers and four younger ones – two sets of twins just a year apart – and she’d relieve her very tired mother by entertaining the boys. “I would put on shows for them, dressing up in costumes, writing plays and making movies.”
When she was 9, the family moved to the United States when her father took a consulting job in Alabama. “Everything was so big and everyone was so nice and polite,” she found. Two years later the family moved to New York, and by the time she was 13, Rush was acting professionally in commercials and short films.
In addition to "Goosebumps," Rush has two new movies ready for release. The first is the dark action drama “Hunter’s Prayer,” which she compares to “The Professional” starring fellow Israeli-American Natalie Portman. The second is the coming-of-age romantic comedy “Holding Patterns.” But like many actors, her ultimate goal is to write and direct. She did both, as well as acted, in the short film “Thanks” earlier this year. “That’s where my heart is for sure, more than acting,” she explains. She hopes to be a voice for her generation the way multihyphenate women like Julie Delpy and Lena Dunham have been for theirs.
Having graduated from high school this year, Rush wants to go to NYU to perhaps study psychology, which could be useful in acting. “I don’t know when, but I’m going to make it happen because it’s a goal of mine,” she says. Her busy schedule has made a visit to Israel similarly difficult, but hopes to go next summer and take her younger brothers with her. None of them are actors. “They’re into sports. They don’t want to do what I do.”
With so many “Goosebumps” stories to mine for movies, there’s always a possibility for a sequel. Would Rush be up for another wild ride? “Yeah, 100 percent,” she says. “In a second!”
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:
Related Topics: Movies