Black, Jack 1969-
BLACK, Jack 1969-
ADDRESSES: Agent—United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., 5th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90212.
CAREER: Actor, musician, composer, producer, and writer. Tenacious D, member, c. 1994—. Actor in films, including (as Roger) Bob Roberts, Paramount, 1992; (as Wasteland Scrap) Demolition Man, Warner Bros., 1993; (as Augie) Airborne, Warner Bros., 1993; (as Slip) The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia, Miramax, 1994; (as DJ at party) Bye Bye, Love, 1995; (as pilot) Waterworld, Universal, 1995; (as Craig Poncelet) Dead Man Walking, Paramount, 1995; (as Tenacious D) Bio-Dome, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer (MGM), 1996; (as Rick) The Cable Guy, Columbia TriStar, 1996; (as broadcast technician) The Fan, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1996; (as Billy Glenn Norris) Mars Attacks! Warner Bros., 1996; (as Lamont) The Jackal, Universal, 1987; (as Devlin) Bongwater, Alliance Independence Films, 1988; (as Titus) I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Columbia, 1988; (as Fiedler) Enemy of the State, Buena Vista, 1999; (as Georgie) Jesus' Son, Lion's Gate Films, 1999; (as Barry) High Fidelity, Buena Vista, 2000; (as J. D. McNugent) Saving Silverman, 2001; Frank's Book, 2001; (as Hal Larson) Shallow Hal, 2001; (as Lance Brumder) Orange County, 2002; (as chimney sweep) Run Ronnie Run! 2002; (as Zeke) Ice Age, 2002; (as Nick Vandermark) Envy, 2003; The New Foon, Paramount, 2003; (as Dewey Finn) The School of Rock, 2003; Melvin Goes to Dinner, 2003; (as Lenny) Sharkslayer, 2004; and Do That to Me One More Time, forthcoming.
Actor in television series, including (as Tenacious D) Mr. Show with Bob and David, Home Box Office (HBO), 1995-96; (as himself) Tenacious D, HBO, 1999; and (as Tenacious D) Crank Yankers, 2002. Actor in series pilot Heat Vision and Jack, Fox, 1999. Actor in made-for-television movies, including (as car thief) Marked for Murder, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1993; (as Marty Prago) The Innocence, National Broadcasting Co. (NBC), 1994; (as private) Blinded Justice, CBS, 1994; (as Steve) Crossworlds, HBO, 1996; (as Jerry) Johnny Skidmarks, HBO, 1998; (as himself) Panic Room with Will Ferrell, 2002; (as himself/Sam) Lord of the Piercing, 2002; and (as Spider-Man) Jack Black: Spider-Man, 2002. MTV Video Music Awards, presenter, 2001, host, 2002.
Tenacious D, HBO, creator and executive producer, 1999. Do That to Me One More Time, DreamWorks, producer, forthcoming. Appeared in Foo Fighters' music video "Learn to Fly" and in Beck's music video "Sexx Laws."
(With Kyle Gass and others) Tenacious D (television series), Home Box Office (HBO), 1999.
(With Kyle Gass and others) Tenacious D (CD), Epic, 2001.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A second Tenacious D CD and a Tenacious D movie.
SIDELIGHTS: Jack Black is a successful actor who is often compared to the late comedians John Belushi and Chris Farley. He has a scene-stealing supporting role as a record store clerk in High Fidelity and a starring role, opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, in Shallow Hal to his credit. However, he is also a singer-songwriter for Tenacious D, an acoustic rock duo with a serious cult following that thrives on making fun of "serious" rockers. Tenacious D was formed shortly after Black met Kyle Gass, Black's Tenacious D straightman and foil, in actor and director Tim Robbins's Actors' Gang in 1994. Black and Gass started out playing in small comedy clubs in the Los Angeles area, but they were quickly discovered by such stars as Pauley Shore, John Cusack (also of The Actors' Gang), and Bob Odenkirk and David Cross (of HBO's Mr. Show with Bob and David), which led to the band and to Black as an individual being given several roles in films and on television. Cusack in particular is a big fan: "If you haven't had a chance to see Tenacious D play, it's one of the six or seven wonders of the world," Cusack told Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Coltrin. "Jack is great because somehow in his comedic aesthetic it's like he's the king of somewhere. It might not be on Earth, but it's definitely somewhere."
Tenacious D, the self-described "greatest band in the world," pokes relentless fun at other rockers, the music industry, Satanism, sex, and just about everything else that crosses their minds. "It's definitely not for kids—a parental warning doesn't even begin to cover this material—but it's a whole lot of shamefully immoral fun," Winston-Salem Journal's Ed Bumgardner described the act in his review of their self-titled debut CD. Although Tenacious D is at heart a parody, and as such the lyrics of their songs are intentionally laughably awful, Black and Gass "both can—and do—sing with surprising range, and their classical training qualifies them to rock," Michael Salkind wrote in the Colorado Springs Gazette. As a result, "their well-played and constructed parodies are the musical equivalent of gourmet marshmallows."
Since his successes in High Fidelity and Shallow Hal, Black has often been asked in interviews whether he considers himself to be primarily an actor or primarily a musician. He typically responds to this question by describing the movie Sophie's Choice, where actor Meryl Streep plays a mother who is being sent to a concentration camp and must choose which of her two children can go with her; the child that she doesn't choose will be killed. "That's the choice you're asking me to make. And I won't do that, you horrible man!" Black replied when Daily Herald reporter Joel Reese asked him that question.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 32, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Newsmakers, Issue 3, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2002.
Boston Herald, August 31, 1999, Larry Katz, "The New Spinal Tap? Tenacious D Calls Itself the Greatest Band on Earth," p. 48.
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 11, 2002, Joel Reese, "Tenacious D-elusion," p. 1.
Denver Post, September 23, 2001, G. Brown, review of Tenacious D, p. F13.
Entertainment Weekly, March 26, 1999, Ken Tucker, "D-lightfully Daffy: HBO Creates Its Own Spinal Tap with the Gut-busting Singer-Songwriter Send-up Tenacious D," p. 69; December 22, 2000, Dan Snierson, "Best and Worst, 2000: The Entertainers/Breakouts: Jack Black, 31," p. 50; November 16, 2001, "Basic Black: He Rocks. He Takes Roles. But How Did High Fidelity Highlight Jack Black Become a Leading Man in Shallow Hal?" p. 102.
Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), April 24, 2002, Michael Salkind, "Tenacious D Parodies Really Rock," p. FOOD10.
Grand Rapids Press, April 7, 2002, Jon Serba, "Audacious 'D,'" p. F1.
Hollywood Reporter, October 8, 2002, Chris Gardner, "D'Works Does It 'One More Time' for Black Comedy," pp. 4-5.
Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2000, Matt Coltrin, "Actor-Musician Jack Black's Wild and Bizarre Persona Pays off in His Biggest Role Yet in High Fidelity," p. F1.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 11, 2002, Jon M. Gilbertson, "Tenacious Approach Keeps This Duo Rockin'," p. 4.
New York Post, February 11, 2001, "Jack Black: A Musical, Manic Funny Man—and the Next John Belushi?" p. 44.
New York Times, December 11, 1997, profile of Tenacious D, p. E3; November 23, 2001, Neil Strauss, review of Tenacious D, p. E29.
Rolling Stone, April 15, 1999, David Wild, review of Tenacious D, p. 119; August 30, 2001, Mark Bellini, interview with Tenacious D, pp. 100-101.
Seattle Times, July 7, 2000, Melanie McFarland, "Tenacious D: Catch the Buzz: Duo Weighs in on Their Growing Notoriety," p. H16; February 9, 2001, Christy Lemire, "Jack Black Makes the Leap from Character Actor to Leading Man Movies," p. G40; April 19, 2002, Mark Rahner, "11 Reasons to See Tenacious D," p. H15.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), January 11, 2002, Colin Covert, "Black Proves He's a Jack of Two Trades," p. 10E.
Winston-Salem Journal, January 11, 2002, Ed Bumgardner, "Tenacious D's Parody of the Music Business Is Clever, Classy Trash," p. E1.
Jack Black Web site,http://www.webspan.net/~amunno/jackblack.html (June 25, 2003).
Tenacious D Web site,http://www.tenaciousd.com (March 21, 2003).*