As the star of the hit horror film “It” and the new “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” Jeremy Ray Taylor is striking franchise gold, and he’s doing it in monster-sized fashion with plenty of monsters in tow. Next up, he will be getting his sequel on in “It: Chapter Two,” due September 2019.
We recently sat down with the young actor to discuss the “A Ben to a Beverly” effect, why it required more imagination working on “Goosebumps 2,” and the reason he’s about to become a warlock.
TrunkSpace: You crushed it (no pun intended) in “It.” We related to you. We felt for you. We rooted for you. How much has that project changed your life and career?
Jeremy Ray Taylor: Thank you! I am definitely glad to hear you were pulling for me! Ben Hanscom is one of those guys that everyone can relate to for sure! My dad said that every boy in high school was a “Ben to a Beverly” at some point.
This film has changed my life in more ways than I can count! My career is moving ahead full speed and meeting fans is amazing. It is because of the fans that the movie has done so well!
TrunkSpace: From “It” to another huge franchise, you’re starring in “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” which opened on Friday. We would imagine a project like this is going to open you up to an entirely new audience because now a younger generation is going to get to see your work. Our kids couldn’t see “It,” but they are clamoring to see “Goosebumps 2.” Is that exciting, getting to connect with new viewers project-to-project?
Jeremy Ray Taylor: It is so exciting to be able to go see this movie with my friends! I wasn’t able to promote “It” to kids my age. (Laughter) I am most excited about a film the whole family can watch together.
TrunkSpace: There’s a ton of SFX involved in a movie like “Goosebumps 2.” Did that require you to take a different approach to your acting, when you’re having to imagine a monster that isn’t actually there?
Jeremy Ray Taylor: It is harder to act to something invisible, that’s for sure. Punching stuff that isn’t there and running from nothing takes imagination! What was really exciting about this movie is that a LOT of the monsters are actually real and in wardrobe! They are really cool and you are going to love them.
TrunkSpace: What did you enjoy most about getting to play Sonny? Was there an aspect of his personality that you have yet to tackle on-screen before?
Jeremy Ray Taylor: Sonny is a fun, lighthearted character. He was similar to Ben Hanscom in that he was nerdy and bullied. (Laughter) There was a lot more “playing to things that weren’t there” in this movie. It took some getting used to.
TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the work you did in the film?
Jeremy Ray Taylor: I am proud of the relationships I made with the cast and crew as well as the long hours and hard work we put into the movie. Those are the things I can take with me throughout my life. As an actor, I am still learning and growing and I am really proud of the way the movie turned out.
TrunkSpace: Ventriloquist dummies are creepy. They just are. Did Slappy ever make you feel uneasy, because we’ll be honest, he makes us uneasy and we don’t even have to be in the same room with him!
Jeremy Ray Taylor: Oh boy, did he creep me out! There is one scene in the movie where I am holding him and he “comes to life.” Before the scene started, I was talking to the director and Slappy reached up and touched my face and scared me to death! We never knew if he was going to move or start talking at any time. And believe me, the puppeteers enjoyed joking around.
TrunkSpace: What’s been the most exciting thing to happen to you in your career thus far – the moment or experience that you still need to pinch yourself in order to believe?
Jeremy Ray Taylor: Meeting and working with Harrison Ford on the set of “42” was unbelievable. I also met Chadwick Boseman that day. So cool!
TrunkSpace: “Goosebumps 2” takes place on Halloween. Are you a fan of the holiday yourself, and if so, do you have big costume plans for this year?
Jeremy Ray Taylor: I LOVE Halloween! We always carve pumpkins and dress up every year. Last year, my brother and I dressed up as Russell and the old man from “Up.” This year, I would like to dress up like a really cool warlock. I haven’t completely solidified my plan yet.
TrunkSpace: Next up you’re back in the “It” universe for the sequel. We know you can’t say much, but what can you tell us about the scare factors going into the follow-up installment? Do we need to prepare ourselves now for more creepy visuals and disturbing clown-related horrors?
Jeremy Ray Taylor: As the director Andy Muschietti put it, you need to bring your adult diapers! I’m pretty sure everyone should heed his warnings. (Laughter)
It will have flashbacks of the losers as kids, but mainly focus on the adults encountering Pennywise in new and disturbing ways.
TrunkSpace: Finally, Jeremy, you’ve faced two formidable foes in your cinematic career thus far, but what if they went head to head? Who would win a battle between Pennywise and Slappy?
Jeremy Ray Taylor: Oh my… that’s a really good question. Maybe they will have to make a movie about that! “Slappy vs Pennywise!”
“Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” is in theaters now!