Jack Black Set for New Feature and HBO Series

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
By Kevin Crossman

Jack Black has been sort of quiet in an acting capacity for the last couple years, but news in the last two days have indicated that Black is putting Tenacious D music on the back burner and returning to on-screen roles.

Tim Robbins and Jack Black

Tim Robbins and Jack Black

First up is the news that Black will costar with James Marsden (Anchorman 2) in The D-Train, an indie comedy from directors Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel, the writers of the 2008 Jim Carrey comedy Yes Man. Mike White (School of Rock) is producing and will appear as Black’s only friend in the film as well. Nat Faxon (The Way Way Back) is in negotiations. The synopsis according to The Hollywood Reporter:

D-Train centers on a Middle America high school reunion committee chairman (Black), still searching for high school acceptance, who has to do whatever it takes, including flying to Los Angeles to penetrate the world of celebrities, to get the most popular guy from high school — now a failed actor working in commercials (Marsden) — to show up to their 20-year reunion.

It’s easy to see how Black and White will work as character in this movie, given the dynamics seen in School of Rock, and we know from Anchorman 2 that Marsden can play the pretty, popular guy. I didn’t think Yes Man was a terrible film and perhaps the reunion formula could allow for some interesting cameos. Also noteworthy that the storyline is so obviously male-oriented. As Ain’t it Cool noted, Black hasn’t done done the “Jack Black” character on film for some time (aside from his extended cameo in The Muppets) and as far as I’m concerned it’s not a moment too soon.

Black will also be starring in a new HBO series The Brink, according to Deadline. Black will costar with Tim Robbins and Jay Roach (The Campaign) will be directing. The series shot a pilot and today’s news has the series being picked up for production. As with most of Roach’s recent projects there is a political element. The synopsis from Deadline:

The Brink is an epic dark comedy focusing on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander (Robbins); Alex Coppins (Black), a lowly Foreign Service officer; and Zeke Callahan (Pablo Schreiber), an ace Navy fighter pilot. These three compromised souls must pull through the chaos around them to save the planet from World War III.

Robbins and Black have a long history together, and their tall/skinny + short/fat dynamic is obviously a staple of comedy teams. Schrieber has mostly done TV work and I’m not personally familiar with most of it, though I did like his role on Weeds. No word yet on when the series will film and air.

The move to television for both Robbins and Black would appear to be a step down. But HBO has really been stepping up their game lately (thanks to Showtime, Starz, and Netflix improving the quality of their own offerings), and ask anyone who’s watched the currently running True Detective if “television” seems like a step down for Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. It’s widely assumed that McConaughey’s Oscar chances are being enhanced by his intense and creepy turn on the HBO series currently in front of mind by many voters.

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