New Screenwriter Gets Goosebumps

Darren Lemke in talks for kiddie horror

It's getting on for four years since Columbia picked up the rights to RL Stine's hoard of Goosebumps novels. A film has been slowly oozing through development ever since, and has now potentially scored a new screenwriter in Jack The Giant Killer's Darren Lemke.

A 1990s publishing phenomenon that's still going strong, Goosebumps is an enormous series of kids' horror novels by the prolific Stine (who, unusually for these things, is a real author and not a pseudonym for a franchise collective). Stine was America's best-selling author for three consecutive years, and was named best-selling kids author of all time in 2003 by the Guinness Book Of Records. He's since been surpassed by JK Rowling, even though she wrote only a piffling seven Harry Potters to Stine's hundred-plus junior spookfests.

Previous script drafts have been attempted by 1408's writers Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, and Carl Ellsworth, who wrote Disturbia, and the Last House On The Left remake. Ellsworth was working on an original story, rather than an adaptation of any of the books, so presumably the same applies to Lemke, who, if he comes aboard the project, will be starting from scratch. His credits aside from Jack include Shrek Forever After and the upcoming Dreamworks animation Turbo. Therefore, he's perhaps an indication that Columbia are going for someone with more kids' screenwriting experience than horror chops this time. Maybe the previous versions were too scary.

Neil Moritz, almost as prolific in film as Stine is in children's books, is producing what he hopes will be the start of a family franchise.