Jack Black is a great entertainer and no doubt prolific. But he’s remained relatively static throughout his roles, usually playing over-the-top characters, with results of varying degrees. But it looks like we’ll see a slightly more nuanced version of the typical Black character when his newest film Bernie premieres on April 27.
Starring opposite Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, the Tenacious D frontman plays an assistant funeral director in small town Texas. By most residents’ accounts, Bernie is an angel– a man who volunteers his time and makes everyone feel special. He befriends the town grump Mrs. Nugent (MacLaine); but Nugent quickly takes advantage of Bernie’s kindness. Eventually she becomes overbearing, and meek, mild Bernie starts to break. Nugent is found dead and Bernie is suddenly a murder suspect. Oh, and this is based on a true story, which was first told in depth in Texas Monthly article from January 2008. Let’s check out the just-released trailer below.
Part of what’s intriguing about this dark comedy — besides its slight documentary structure — is that some of the interviews you just watched in the trailer are actual residents of Carthage, TX. Also, the man behind the original feature story “Midnight in the Garden of East Texas,” Skip Hollandsworth (not a screenwriter) co-wrote the screenplay with writer and director Richard Linklater, the man behind School of Rock and the cult classic Dazed and Confused.
Based on the trailer, my hopes are high that we’ll see a different side of Black, the way we saw Will Ferrell able to tone it down in Everything Must Go in 2010 and Stranger Than Fiction in 2006.
Tell us what you think. Will Bernie be a career changer for Black?