Cheat Sheet: Jack Black


Thomas Jacob Black

Date of Birth:

28th August, 1969

Place of birth:

Hermosa Beach, California, USA

Special moves:

Comic, Rocker, Kung-Fu master

Films include:

Shallow Hal, School of Rock, Nacho Libre, Be Kind Rewind, Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder, Gulliver’s Travels

What you probably already know:

Jack Black, also known as JB, Jables and Mr S, risked the wrath of Papa Black to pursue his dream of stardom. Dropping out during his sophomore year at UCLA meant being cut off from financial support, a fact that could have ended his career very differently had it not been for fellow alumnus Tim Robbins, who gave Jack the role of Roger Davis in his 1992 political comedy Bob Roberts. From then on he got pretty regular screen time on prime time television, scoring appearances on such popular shows as Life Goes On, Northern Exposure, Picket Fences and even The X-Files!

Check out the other famous name starring right alongside him!

It took 8 years of bit parts before Black felt he had achieved his breakout role in a feature film, playing a wild record store employee named Barry in John Cusack’s High Fidelity. Shallow Hal was his first time as leading man but it was his performance as Dewey Finn in School of Rock that earned him a Best Actor in a Musical Or Comedy nomination at that year’s Golden Globes. Black’s parody of the ‘Council of Elrond’ scene from The Lord of the Rings trilogy during the 2002 MTV Movie Awards caught Peter Jackson’s eye and led to the channeling of Orson Welles for Black’s portrayal as the obsessed filmmaker, Carl Denham, in the 2005 remake of King Kong. Next up was the world of animation where he got tutoring from two-time Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman to voice the panda known as Po in Kung Fu Panda. His most recent work in the Richard Linklater black comedy Bernie has already generated Oscar buzz owing to his understated acting, authentic East Texas accent and conspicuous musical talent.

Since 1991, Black has been the lead vocalist of the satirical rock duo Tenacious D, along with friend Kyle Gass. Marrying his love for rock’n’roll with his talent for acting and the already story like pattern of their lyrics spawned the adventure comedy Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. Directed by Liam Lynch, it not only included recurring characters like Lee the Superfan and Sasquatch, but also featured a number of cameos from the likes of Tim Robbins, Dave Grohl, Ben Stiller and Meat Loaf.

What you might not know:

Black definitely took a left turn when he joined the entertainment industry. He came from parents who were deeply seated in a scientific background and found employment as satellite engineers. In fact, his mother Judith was part of the team that worked on the Hubble Space Telescope! And yet there can be no denying that Jack was always meant for a life in front of the camera. Even at the tender age of 13 his presence was getting noticed enough to be featured in a commercial for the Activision game, Pitfall!

Not many people know about Heat Vision and Jack but those who do regard it as a cult classic. Directed by Ben Stiller in 1999, this comedy/sci-fi starring Black and Owen Wilson only got as far as a pilot episode. It told the story of former astronaut, Jack Austin (Black), who, having been exposed to inappropriate levels of solar energy, gains super-intelligence. Wilson was the voice of his talking motorcycle, Heat Vision, who was created when Jack’s unemployed roommate Doug was shot by a ray that merged him to his motorcycle. Together they were meant to fight crime… or something like that.

Black often appears on the “untelevised TV network” short film festival Channel 101, starring in shows created by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab with titles like Computerman, Timebelt and Laserfart. The last time he did, Black donned a Colonial-era military uniform, introduced himself as George Washington and took credit for the accomplishments of other American Presidents such as Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

Jack Black quote:

“I think of myself as an entertainment arsenal. Like I have my acting bazooka and my music machete. And you don’t know what I’m going to come at you with.”

“If Beethoven and Bach hooked up with Mozart and made a band, they COULD be a distant runner up to The D.”

What to say at a dinner party:

“Jack Black is a hard-working actor who has diligently worked his way up the ladder. While he certainly has his own unique and recognizable style, he also has the ability to project whatever persona is appropriate for the project at hand and it’s this unpredictability that makes him such a treat to watch. Doesn’t hurt that he’s a bad-ass rocker in his own right either!”

What not to say at a dinner party:

“So, I hear you were in The Holiday? Why?”

Final thought:

Jack Black is quite a hefty triple threat. Despite being launched by his comedy, Black has carved out a place for himself in rock and roll history while simultaneously establishing himself as a serious character actor. With every passing year he only grows in star power and we reckon he’s got a mighty good chance at taking home an Oscar sooner or later.

Anything else you think the world should know? Drop us a comment below!

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