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From director Eli Roth and writer Eric Kripke, and based on the novel by John Bellairs, the family fantasy film The House with a Clock in its Walls follows recently orphaned 10-year-old Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro), who goes to live with his rather eccentric Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) in a creaky old house full of all sorts of magical wonder. As Lewis discovers a hidden world of magic, mystery and the supernatural, and gets to know Jonathan’s best friend and neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), he also accidentally awakens the dead, wreaking havoc in his new but otherwise sleepy little town.
At the film’s Los Angeles press day, Collider got the opportunity to sit down with filmmaker Eli Roth to chat 1-on-1 about how he came to make a family fantasy film, finding the right child actor to center this story around, the delightful team-up of Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, just how much of a perfectionist Blanchett is, attacking pumpkins, creepy automatons, and where he hopes to take his career next. He also talked about why he doesn’t think it’s right to share his vision for The Meg, what makes a successful scary/horror movie for him, and the stand-outs that he’s seen, in recent years.
Collider: I really enjoyed this!
ELI ROTH: Thank you!
Jack - Black - Cate - Blanchett - Comedy
Jack Black and Cate Blanchett are the buddy comedy duo that I had no idea I wanted, and now I feel like my life is complete with.
ROTH: I know! They’re the on screen duo that we didn’t realize we all needed.
They’re ridiculously delightful! When did you realize they were going to be that great together?
ROTH: Well, you just have an instinct, as a director, for who would be a fun match, and I think Jack Black is one of the most under-rated dramatic actors out there. He’s like our...
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