INTERVIEW: Jack Black Lets Loose on Rock

Actor Jack Black let college journalists from across the country pick his brain in a recent phone interview. Black — whose resume includes acting, singing, writing and stand-up comedy — answered questions about his new movie “School of Rock” and the man behind the outrageous exterior. Black’s popularity as the lead man for the rock/comedy duo Tenacious D led to a string of questions about the movie’s “rocking” theme. Black blasted back responses with high-level energy, expressiveness and quirky creativity reminiscent of comedy legends such as John Belushi and Chris Farley. Black’s enthusiastic nature kept him on the phone after a Paramount Pictures moderator had excused Black from the interview. Black voluntarily stayed on the line to toss the student reporters a few more quips such as, “Don’t misquote me. I will come after you on my Harley of death.”

Question: On some on your movies recently you’ve really gone to flex your rock-and-roll muscle, with “Saving Silverman” and “High Fidelity,” and now, “School of Rock.” Do you go and look for these roles, or do they just fall into your lap?

Jack Black: They kind of come to me, wanting me to rock, which is fine by me because I loves to rock. No, I don’t pursue rock movies. It’s like I’m saying, “This one is good, but it has no rock — pass.”

Q: Your role as Dewey Finn — do you think that this role best depicts the real Jack Black?

J. Black: This is definitely the closest so far, the difference being I love rock but I also love to make fun of rock at the same time as loving it. Dewey Finn would never make fun of rock, and also Dewey Finn is struggling to make ends meet, and I’m sitting pretty in a kick-ass Hollywood house that I bought.

Q: Would you ever do a sex scene with Kathy Bates?

J. Black: Sure, but it would have to be directed by Scorsese or someone.

Q: Did you like working with all those kids?

J. Black: I did have a good time with the kids. I mean, the only thing is, they’re kids, you know? So you feel like you don’t want them to get bored of you. With adults, I don’t really care if adults get bored. But kids, I want them to be entertained, so sometimes it got a little exhausting.

Q: The kid actors, were any of them in particular, like standout as being pretty cool?

J. Black: I really liked Robert Tsai; he’s a very deep thinker. He plays the role of Lawrence, the keyboard player, and he would often ponder the wonders of the universe, and he was laughing a lot about weird things.

Q: There’s a part in the movie where Dewey Finn gives out CDs to each of the kids. I was just wondering what CD would you give to little kids to, you know, kind of give them the rock education? J. Black: Well, I did pick out some of those CDs that I gave out. I picked out “Roundabout,” the Yes album “Fragile” to give to Lawrence, with the keyboard solo from “Roundabout.” In reality, I actually gave Robert a Radiohead CD because I know he’s just full-bore classical music, classical pianist. I thought maybe that would be a good bridge from the classical to the rock, but I failed.

Q: All right, man. Bringing up the music, I’m just wondering if you and Kyle snuck any other tunes in there, or did someone else write the stuff?

J. Black: There are no Tenacious D tunes, but I did have my hand in writing “The Nugget” in the classroom. We got somebody else to write the finale song. We actually got a bunch of different people trying to write the finale. We picked the best one. It was a band called The Moonie Suzuki. They did perfect. They kind of actually saved our ass, really. I saw them — they open for the Strokes — and I asked them if they would write it, and they kicked it right in the nuts.

Q: How would you describe your acting style, and did you have any specific inspirations for that?

J. Black: I would say my acting style is called a high-energy-based muscular tardalicious. I thinks it’s just, I’m from the clown school of acting.

Q: In the “School of Rock” film, your character, Dewey Finn, he talks about getting back at the man, Jack. Do you see any institution or impression in your life that is the man that you want to get back at?

J. Black: I think the war on drugs is a waste of money and time, and actually, that’s what I would like. That’s one of the main things I think the man is lame about. Especially the Rockefeller Drug Laws — they are cruel and unnecessary.

Q: Are you [a] music elitist?

J. Black: No, I’m kind of a musical tardo really. No one wants to hear my iPod; believe me. Actually, I have been listening to this one CD a lot lately. Have you ever heard of N*E*R*D?

Q: Your stuff all seems to be just like over-the-top comedy stuff. Are you wanting to branch from that, are you just kind of wanting to stay with that, or just maybe tone it down a little?

J. Black: It’s not typecast. I’m doing what I want to do. And will I want to branch out from it? Maybe. Someday. Not quite yet.