If you saw John Cusack’s last film, the cult hit ”High Fidelity,” you may have wondered who played Barry, Cusack’s ultrasarcastic record store clerk employee. On the other hand, maybe you recognized Tenacious D lead Jack Black, 31, now one of EW’s breakout stars for 2000. Next up for Black is a role in the Farrelly brothers’ ”Shallow Hal” opposite Gwyneth Paltrow. We talked to Black before all the hype, and he riffed on opening for Pearl Jam and getting romantic with Gillian Anderson. We present our March interview in its entirety…
The Black Market
Search the world over, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a man who rocks quite like Jack Black. Not only can the 30 year old actor boast a slew of film credits (”The Cable Guy,” ”The Jackal,” ”Enemy of the State”) and a failed but beloved TV pilot about an astronaut who becomes a superhero after his brain is baked by the sun (”Heat Vision and Jack”’), he fronts a heavy metal folk duo parody that’s oft featured on HBO (Tenacious D). Now, with the new film ”High Fidelity” (opening Friday), he’s poised to pick up a few more fans with his role as a vexing record store employee who berates his customers for their lame musical taste. EW Online asked Black to belt out a few answers to our, um, probing questions.
You recently played a guy named Jack in ”Heat Vision and Jack,” and you also go by the name Jack in Tenacious D. So was it tough playing a guy named Barry in ”High Fidelity”?
It was a tough stretch, sure. I had to wake up every day and look in the mirror and say, ”Hey, Barry, how ya doing? Let’s go get some chow. Do you like the same kind of food I do? Because I could go for a QP with cheese.” And Barry would look back and say, ”No, dude, I’m into Big Macs.”
Ever been dressed down by a record store employee like Barry?
I’ve never been ”dressed down” — I’m not even sure what that means — but I have felt ashamed of my selections. I hung my head low when I purchased Journey’s ”Escape” album.
You sing a bitchin’ version of Marvin Gaye’s ”Let’s Get It On” in the movie. How much of that was lip synched?
See, this is the question that everyone asks: How much of it is me? It’s ALL me, buddy! There’s no Milli Vanilli going on here. Seriously, man. [He demonstrates impressive vocal stylings] No one’s ever going to think I sang it, which is frustrating, because I threw down, dude.
You guest starred on ”The X-Files” as a dude who gets killed by Lightning Boy. Was it cool hanging out with Duchovny and Anderson?
I’m pretty sure I could have gotten some off of Anderson. I mean, she never said anything but there was some eye contact where it was like, ”Whoah…” And I was like, ”C’mon, let’s keep this professional. We got a job to do.” And Duchovny? I took him to the hole, slammed in his face. Acting dunk.
You recently signed a million dollar deal to star in the comedy film ”Saving Silverman.” How does it feel to be a millionaire?
Scary. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was going to be a millionaire, because as soon as that was printed, I felt like, ”Okay, someone’s already started the plot to kidnap me, kill me, take all my millions.” But whatever — I like the script. There’s these three guys, best friends, and one of them’s getting married to the devil woman and the other two guys try to put the kibosh on the whole thing to keep him in the fold of friendship. That’s all I can tell you.
If Tenacious D is billed as the Greatest Band on Earth, who’s the second greatest?
Zeppelin. Yeah, hands down. No f—in’ contest. They might even give the D a run for their money. You heard me: the D.
The D has opened for Pearl Jam and Beck. That must have been intimidating.
There was some slight nervous nilly. But then we realized, ”Wait a second. We’re not opening for Pearl Jam. They’re just going on after us. So thank you, Pearl Jam, for coming down to the Tenacious D show. And, people, after we’re done, please don’t leave. There are other bands. Be courteous.” Luckily they listened to us; otherwise it would have been really embarrassing for the Pearls.
What should one expect from a live D show?
To see two guys rocking harder than humanly possible. Prepare to get your panties in a bundle, because there’s a lot of love up on that stage. It’s like, ”Wait a second — those are the f—in’ legends from television and now they’re here in person? I can hardly handle it! My brain’s going to explode!”… Will there be sketches? I dunno. Sometimes, yeah. It’s a grab bag. We do some of our favorite covers. Sometimes we do ”Star Trek” with the original lyrics that weren’t on the television show. Gene Roddenbery obviously just scribbled out these stupid ass lyrics at the last second. [singing] ”Beeyooooond, the rim of the starliiiiight, my looooove is wandering in star fliiiiiight…” It’s like, ”your love”? What is this — a love story? Is it all based on Captain Kirk and his love for the woman he left at home? It’s pretty silly.