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Thursday, February 21, 2008
Back to Black

This is part of our Feb/Mar 2008 issue.

After a relatively quiet 2007, Jack Black is off and running at the multiplex this year, following January's Be Kind Rewind with three more comedies due out in 2008. In what will likely continue the winning voiceover tradition of Shark Tale and Ice Age, Black stars in the animated Kung Fu Panda in June and Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder in July, a story about actors shooting a big-budget war movie who run afoul of rival drug lords in the jungle.

"We're in real danger, but we think it's all part of the movie and we just keep acting," Black describes the comedy, which co-stars Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., and Matthew McConaughey, with a cameo by Tom Cruise as a studio head. Black also has Ye Olde Times, a comedy about rival Renaissance fairs, due out this year.

Best known for blockbusters like The School of Rock, Shallow Hal, Nacho Libre, and King Kong, as well as cult faves like High Fidelity and for his musical efforts with the band Tenacious D, Black took a role in the darkly comedic indie Margot at the Wedding (released last fall and now out on DVD), playing a ne'er-do-well father-to-be. While obviously more successful than his character, he could relate, since he's the proud papa of son Samuel Jason, born in June 2006, and his wife is pregnant with their second child. "Sometimes I'm just sort of wishing that I wasn't working so much so that I would have more time to hang with him," says Black, who married musician Tanya Haden, a grade school acquaintance he re-met through friends years later, in March 2006.

A native Californian, Black, now 38, was raised Jewish by his mother and his father, who converted to Judaism, until their divorce when he was 10. He traces his interest in acting to a game of Freeze at a Passover seder, but is not observant today. "I don't go to synagogue but that doesn't mean I'm not a spiritual person. I'll encourage spiritual conversations with Sam if he wants to talk about how heavy the universe is," he says. "I like those sorts of conversations."

--Text by Gerri Miller / Photo by Matt Sayles/AP

This is part of our Feb/Mar 2008 issue.
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