Jack Black Interviewed – ‘The Holiday’

     December 7, 2006

In the last month I have interviewed Jack Black twice – the first time was for the Tenacious D movie and the recent one was for the Nancy Meyer’s film The Holiday. What I found interesting was that the two interviews were exactly like his performances in the films – the first one (for Tenacious D) was loose and relaxed, he did the interview with K.G. and they really didn’t take any question too seriously.

But the recent interview for The Holiday was just like his performance in the film – mostly serious, but with a few Jack Black moments.

Since I never posted the interview from the Tenacious D junket I figured you could get two Jack Black interviews for the price of one click. The only problem is I never transcribed The D one so the only way to enjoy K.G. and Jack talking is to listen to it here.

But for all of you who just like to read, here is the interview that he did for The Holiday. What is great about this interview is that he brought his serious side for answering questions. He covers a lot – including his upcoming work on Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind and Noah Baumbach’s upcoming sequel to The Squid and the Whale. But don’t worry he still gets in his trademark humor – especially near the end.

And for all of you who enjoy listening to the audio – here is the link for this interview as an MP3.

Question – So, are Tenacious D fans crazier than ever?

Jack Black – Yes, they are ravenous for the D.

Question – And do you think the Tenacious D fans will come to see this movie or is this too weird for them to see?

Jack Black – I don’t know. I’m sure there will be some hardcore that will come thinking that maybe Kyle will be in it. And that we will rock.

Don’t you think Tenacious D fans will want to see Cameron Diaz in a bra?

Of course.

So how did this happen for you with this movie, because it’s unusual don’t you think?


It will be surprising people.

Yeah, well, I don’t usually get the offers for the “rom coms,” as we call them in the industry, but Nancy Myers was a fan. And so I was lucky to get the call from her. And yeah, she believed in me. She thought that I could stretch and show a softer side. She thought I was cute.

And what about the idea of improvising, which is something I would think you do in a lot of your movies versus a writer/director who is very specific about…

Yes. She is very specific. She is a master craftsman on sweet emotional journeys. But she was open to my goofing around and I got a couple in there.

We heard the boob graze…

The boob graze was all me. 100% written by me. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the credits at the end. I’m pretty sure she gave me writing credit, though.

Have you and Kyle talked about anything you might want to do on Saturday Night Live?

We have talked about it. I think we are going to do two songs. And probably a sketch or two… see what happens there. Don’t give it away… don’t want to just go up and do songs regularly. I want to do something special. Because it’s SNL, you want to bring something extras.

Maybe go on the street. Saturday Night Live has never gone on the street.

They’ve never gone on the street? Good thinking, Good idea. Yes… it’s going to be freezing cold.

But not for Tenacious D. Nobody can cool them down.


A lot of times when people perform they call on guests, their friends, to help them perform…

Oh, have we called in any? We’ve got such a tremendous band and I don’t see us…

Yeah, I don’t know… I haven’t really thought about it. We do have a few weeks until… how many weeks do we have?

Two weeks.

Holly crap. We’ve got a lot to do.

Turkey is Thursday and then a week after.

Yeah, I don’t know yet. I don’t know what’s going to happen on SNL.

So what about working with Kate Winslet on this movie?


She said you got together weeks before your scenes because being prepared is something both of you would like to do.

It’s true.

Were you surprised to find that, that she was…

The professionalism on her part I was not surprised by. That was a huge part of why I wanted to do the movie. It’s because I was such a huge fan of hers from the first movie I saw her in, Heavenly Creatures. She delivered such a powerful performance and every movie since then, I was like, damn, it would be awesome to work with her. She’s one of my favorite actresses and she was more awesome even than I had imagined. Just watching her work, from close up, was a real treat.

You’ve got a little baby at home now. What’s the best part of fatherhood?

Best part of fatherhood is… just waking up and sneaking a peak in the crib. And all day out working and thinking, when I go home I’ll be able to stare at my bubbala and give him a squeeze. He’s very smiley. He’s got a good toothless grin.

Is it making you feel more grown-up and responsible?

Definitely more responsible. Definitely feels like I have to be a little more responsible.

So you said that Nancy Meyers had great belief in you for this role. Did you feel any sort of reluctance or doubt that you couldn’t make this role work?

Of course. I mean, every movie I start off really insecure and this one more so than usual just because it called for certain amount of, you know, sensitivity that I’m not use to showing. Like straight up reality acting as opposed to hamebone MacGyver, which is my specialty. But I never feel like that’s a good reason not to do something because of my fears. So, yeah.

How long did it take you to realize your fears were unnecessary?

Well, before we even started shooting we met early on with Nancy and read through the script and she was really funny and put me at ease. And she said something funny when I first got out of the car like, “you’re gorgeous,” or something like that. Whatever it was made me laugh.

Can you talk a little bit about “Be Kind Rewind”? And Michel Gondry?

“Be Kind Rewind” is a film I did couple of months ago with Michel Gondry and it’s a story of friendship in Passaic, New Jersey between me and Mos Def. I work in a junkyard and he works in a video rental store right across the street in kind of a low income, urban atmosphere and we have an adventure when I accidentally erase all of the videos in the store and we have to quickly re-shoot all the movies in the store. It sounds like an absurd premise, but it came out really funny.

Did it have his typical style?

Michel? It definitely has his trademark creativity, yeah… some incredible homemade props that he designed in his laboratory. I’m really excited to see it when it’s done.

What’s your greatest classic performance that you do in the film?

In Be Kind Rewind?

Like in Godfather are you Marlon Brando?

Oh, gosh. There’s a pretty powerful recreation of Ghostbusters. It’s pretty magnificent.

And are you the State Puff Marshmallow Man?

Well, it’s not totally clear who is who at what time, but I think that I’m Dan Aykroyd and that he’s Bill Murray and then I’m also a ghost in the library.

Cameron said that of all the people in the world she wanted to be, she wanted be you.

Oh really? She just wants to Rock, right?

But who would you want to be, or who do you have a celebrity crush on?

Celebrity crush? Who would I want to be or who do I have crush on? Are they the same thing? I would want to be Gary Oldman just because I think he’s the most kick-ass actor and he’s a little bit crazy. So I guess that means I have a celebrity crush on him to.

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The Christmas season is approaching. What are you getting K.G.?

What am I getting K.G.? I haven’t thought about it yet, but you’re right I should start thinking about that and probably re-gift him one of my iPod’s that I keep getting. That’s a horrible, that’s not right, re-gift… we’re good friends.

Is Miles a fool for love?

Miles is a fool for love, just like that old Sam Shepherd play.

Does this resonate with your own life?

I’m a romantic in that way. Truth be told, I had my share of heavy medal debauchery in my days, but there was always a loneliness at the core and I was always searching from my true baby blue.

So, you are you a flowers and chocolates guy or how are you a romantic?

I do bring the occasional flowers but I’m not like a flower every week guy. More like bi-monthly, and when I bring home treats I get surprises.

Back to The Holiday, my editors have asked me to ask everybody what’s the best present you’ve ever gotten?

Well, my wife gave me for my last birthday, or birthday before last, a party that only cards were allowed — no gifts, because I’ve got everything I could ever want. And she made me an animated flip book and it was really thick and an alien craft came down and then aliens came out of the ship with the birthday cake and I thought that was pretty damn cool. No one had ever put that much work into a present for me before.

Did she draw all of the pictures?

Yeah, she’s a great animator/artist.

What’s the toughest audience you ever had to face?

Probably in Las Vegas, like 6 years ago. We did one of those beer contests where if you win you get flown to a concert and you don’t know whose playing/ It was called Blind Date. So they’re all really drunk in the audience, contest winners from radio, and the curtain opens and they were all hoping it was going to be Led Zeppelin or something, but it was random and it really was a horrible idea. Everybody was hoping it was somebody else and probably zero percent were hoping it was Tenacious D, and immediately we were being pelted and booed and I was covered in a liquid, but we didn’t stop, we couldn’t stop playing, because we knew that if we didn’t finish the contractually agree upon 30 minutes set that we would not get paid the full amount, so we just withstood the onslaught of hatred for a full half-hour. It was unbelievable. It might have been our best show in that one way because the comedy it got so bad it was a great fiasco.

Did that inspire some of the training scenes in the movie?

You know, I would say that it did. You have to be prepared to sometimes have thick skin.

I heard you this week on the Howard Stern show with Kyle Gass, and Jeremy Piven’s name came up. Was there anything to that or –

No. There was something to it just because it got blown up a little bit. But really it was just a little nothing misunderstanding that happened at a premier a long time ago, and I’ve spoken to him on the phone since then and we got together we smoked the piece pipe. The mutual admiration is back in full effect. You can print that: Me and Jerry Piven, it’s all good.

So you’ll be on Entourage next season?

A maybe on that. You never know.

After these commitments slow down, have you started looking at scripts for the future or are you attached to something?

I’ve been developing things, trying to be the new… what’s his name? George Clooney? Developing something. I really like this writer Daniel Clowes who writes a great comic book called EightBall. He did Ghost World and Art School Confidential. He has a great idea for a script he’s writing. And there’s a couple other ones in the cooker that I shouldn’t mention yet because they’re not as official. But I had a conversation… I don’t know if I should tell you about the things that aren’t totally official. I’ve got of things floating around in the Ether. Oh yeah, there’s a cartoon, Kung Fu Panda. And I’ve heard that Sacha Baron Cohen is also working on a new DreamWorks animation. So hopefully mine won’t be put on the backburner now that Borat has taken hold of the industry.

What’s your take on Borat?

Well, I love Borat and I love Sacha Cohen. He’s probably my favorite comedian right now.

Because he manages to take reality and put it into his comedy?

I never know why I think someone is funny. He’s just got big cojones and he’s really smart and love his stuff.

Is there a movie genre that you haven’t done that you’d still like to explore now that you’ve done rom-com?

Is there anything I want to explore now? I’d love to make a really scary movie.

I Know What You Did Last Summer..?

Oh, man… see… as soon as I said that, I knew I shouldn’t have said that because…

You were funny in that.

Well, I wouldn’t want to make I Really Still Do Know What You Did Last Summer…

You mean like An American Werewolf in London type of movie?

Yeah. Something like that would be fun to do. I mean, my favorite movies are Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining, and since I’m drawn to those movie it would be fun to be in a really good one.

What are you doing in the Noah Baumbach movie?

Baumbach, speaking of uncharted territory… did you see The Squid and The Whale? It’s a kind of sequel to that. It’s like a dysfunctional kind of family gathering movie.

And what do you play in it?

I play Jennifer Jason Leigh’s fiancée.

The director’s wife’s fiancée?

Exactly. Everyone in the family is coming together for our wedding that we’re having over the weekend and you get to see some dark and twisted family drama. It was really a pretty great experience.

But it’s not a role that you played for laughs.

No, but I mean, there’s always some humor creeps in from me, just naturally where I go to, but it was not here. And also I don’t know if you remember The Squid and the Whale. It was actually filled with hilarious moments in the midst of it.

You were sort of laughing at how much of an asshole some of those characters were.


I mean the fight with Jeff Daniels.

Jeff Daniels is so good, man.

Nancy Meyers was saying earlier that you topped Jane magazine’s list of top celebrity crushes.


Explain your appeal to female moviegoers.

Well, I think it might be because I am perceived as gettable, where as like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt there’s no prayer. They have no chance with those guys, but me… maybe it’s because they think I would be a fun date. It wouldn’t just be dinner and a movie. Take them for a little adventure. Little humor goes a long way. Johnny Carson said it’s the number one aphrodisiac, so I must be very sexy.

But you’re not available.

It doesn’t matter. The available thing doesn’t affect your appeal in the movies. But you’re right, I’m not available. So just forget about it Brittany!

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