A young magician and his two otherworldly best friends do some supernatural sleuthing in R.L. Stine's Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend, which is available now on Blu-ray and DVD. Bella Thorne, Madison Pettis and Ryan Ochoa lead an ensemble cast in this spooktacular adventure with new ghosts, new thrills, and the return of some old friends.
Max (Ryan Ochoa) only has eyes for Cammy (Bella Thorne), the smart, popular redhead at school. When Max finally scores a date with Cammy on Halloween, Phears, an evil ghost with plans on taking over the world, unleashes his ghouls and things go haywire. With the help of his ghostly pals, Tara and Nicky, can Max thwart Phears' evil plot, help reunite his ghost friends with their long-lost parents and still make his date with Cammy on Halloween?
We caught up with star Ryan Ochoa to find out! We chat about his role as Max and his time spent filming Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend on the Universal backlot, where he and his family had quite a bit of spooky fun.
Here is our conversation:
This movie seems like it was a lot of fun to shoot. And that energy is infectious. It sort of permeates of the screen.
Ryan Ochoa: Exactly what you just said. That is what the movie was like. Even at the table read, when we were all together for the first time, we all knew that it was not only going to be a fun movie, but that it was going to turn out great. It was about working with professionals, and the best part about it is that we were all friends before the movie even started. It wasn't even like work for us. Every day we went to set and had fun. It was like hanging out with your friends. Honestly, I think that was really important for the movie. You had the first one of these come out six years ago. Now you had a cast who started the franchise, and then they recast 99.5%. Madison Pettis was the only cast member who stayed with the series. I think it was really important. You didn't want it to be different in a bad way. That could be bad. I felt like it was an awesome cast. It was all-star. I had the best time filming this movie, and the energy was there. We all had fun. I think that was the most important part. We all had fun together.
Just a few years ago, a movie made for direct-to-video was a low budget affair. It showed on screen. Now, this is on par with what we see playing at the cinema. This is as good as what I've seen from the upcoming Goosebumps movie with Jack Black...
Ryan Ochoa: Seriously, I'm not just saying this, but after day one...We started filming on a Wednesday, and, like Wednesday night, after we wrapped, people were like, 'This should be on the big screen.' It already had the mentality that it was going to be a Universal movie made for home video. That was super awesome. But everyone that was there, this had a lot of cast and crew members that worked on the first one...But they were like, 'This movie belongs on the big screen.' That became an exaggerated goal for all of us. We were like, 'Oh, my gosh! This could be on the big screen.' R.L. Stine had nine Mostly Ghostlys, and they are planning on more. Which is awesome. You never know, down the road. Its just like High School Musical. There were two movies made for the Disney Channel, and then the third one went to the big screen. If this installment of the Mostly Ghostly series does well enough, we will see a Mostly Ghostly on the big screen sometime down the road. The quality is amazing, and the crew is fantastic. We had awesome effects. The director was incredible. We had the best of the best on set.
Do you think Max will be back in the next Mostly Ghostly? And do you look forward to reprising him if that's the case?
Ryan Ochoa: 100% million yes! I seriously had the best time! It was a month and a half, and it was the best role for me. It was like a dream role. Max is a dream role in this movie because I got to work with my friends, number one. I got to work on the backlot at Universal. My house was on Wisteria Lane, that was incredible. I got to scour the backlot. The whole part where I'm running from the Ghouls is the town square in Back to The Future. Where he rides the Hover Board and stuff. I got to do my own stunts, and they had me in a harness, which was fun. There was just so much to Max and this movie that was awesome. I'd love to do another one.
Did you get to have some fun with the Tram while you were shooting? Did you run out and greet the fans? Or was the set all closed off during that time?
Ryan Ochoa: I was going to bring it up. Yes, while I was filming...I remember coming to Universal while I was growing up, before I got in this business, when I was 5 or 6. I remember riding on the Tram tour, and I would tell my family, 'Man, I hope one day I'm in that position. When people are driving on the Tram tour, and they get to see me on the backlot." I actually got to have that experience! Like, a few times. There were people driving on the Tram and they were all, like, 'Oh, my gosh! What are they filming?' And the Tram is like, 'He's from Pair of Kings.' It was awesome. But we also got to go on the Tram tour. We were there for a week, so we got to go on the tour, like behind-the-scenes, and it was really cool.
Being on the Tram, I've always been, like, 'God, I'd love to go walk around on the actual set, or go swimming in the Jaws lake. Did you get a chance to fulfill some of those movie magic fantasies?
Ryan Ochoa: We did get closer...The first day we were there, I had the last scene, and it was all on green screen. So, I ended up coming to set early. I thought I was on time, but they said I still had time to spare. So they took me in a golf cart, and it was the last tram to go by. But we got a private tour on the golf cart. We got a private show of Old Mexico, I'll never forget this. I got out of the golf cart. I was standing with the water falling over me. Like the box that falls, the whole flash flood that comes down. I was standing in the middle of it. It was cool, cause during the actual Tram tour, you don't get to get out of the car. You know? I literally got to stand out of it, it was an incredible experience. The guy said, 'If you stick around for a minute, we'll run the entire show!' It was wicked!
That sounds super awesome...
Ryan Ochoa: We were filming right next to the Jaws show, so we got to see that every day. We would get in the golf cart and drive up the hill, and it was right there. We saw some cool things, like what they do with the shark after-hours. I can't give it away. There is no fun in that. We totally saw the shark, and how it moved and everything.
R.L. Stine is kind of like the Walt Disney of horror, so it sounds almost ludicrous to ask if you're a fan. Every kid reads the books or has watched the TV show, right?
Ryan Ochoa: I loved Goosebumps. I was one of those mystery reader kids. Reading, there are so many genres, what do you really like? But in school, Goosebumps was always that go-to. Everyone liked it. I definitely liked it. To be able to be in a R.L. Stine movie is huge. Seeing the fans' response is always so cool, 'Oh, my gosh, you're in an R.L. Stine movie? That is so cool.' That was always a goal of mine. Its cool that I get to have this experience and share this. As a kid, too. I'm still a teenager. Its still a big deal for me.
Now, playing a kid that communicates with ghosts, and believes in ghosts, do you decide to pursue those interests as well? Did you do any research into the supernatural?
Ryan Ochoa: There's always that question, do you believe in ghosts, and what not. Its like, I'm definitely a fan of supernatural forces and supernatural powers, stuff like that. Those are my favorite movies. The fiction, and all, you know? I guess you could say that I did study the whole, 'Do you believe in ghosts?' And ghosts encounters things. And one of our friends is a big director, and he just directed a film about a house that is haunted. I was definitely fascinated by that. Then, you also have that, 'I'm a cool teenager, I don't believe in that kind of stuff...' But I definitely am interested in it.
Now, I have a friend that works over there at Universal, and I've heard that certain parts of the park are haunted. Did you witness any strange things happening while you were wandering around the backlot by yourself?
Ryan Ochoa: (Laughs) Dude, I have to say, at night time, that place is really scary. We filmed half of the week in the daytime, and half of the week was all night shoots. It was from 6:30, when it was still light out, but we didn't start shooting until 8, when the sun was down. Then we were there until...My latest night was my best night, we were there until 6am. We were there all through the night. Oh my gosh! During lunchtime, we'd go off where the trailers are, in the dark, and these dark alleys, and it is scary! One night my mom saw coyotes walking around. It was scary, but it was fun. It was one of the fun experiences of filming this movie. Yeah, I was definitely a little scared in a few areas.