Jack Black’s defining character was the snarky record store clerk in 2000’s “High Fidelity,” but the portly musician-actor had a number of peculiar early roles — most of them involving his death.
Here are his thoughts on some of them:
“Bob Roberts,” 1992. This mockumentary from writer-director-star Tim Robbins about a blackhearted Republican with a musical, sunny stage persona was Black’s first movie. He played a youthful right-wing teenager with a scary fanatical streak. “That was my break, man, the thing that got me in the door. (Robbins) gave me a cool part. I got an agent from that, and then I proceeded to do a lot of bad things, bad movies. When you’re starting out, you can’t be picky.”
“Touched by an Angel” (TV series), 1995 guest spot. Black plays a greasy goon named Monte who tries to menace sweet little Melissa Joan Hart into stealing CDs for him to sell on the black market. When he turns mean, one of the angels magically transports him into a remote desert, where he cowers like a sissy. “I’d probably take that back,” Black groans.
“Mars Attacks!” 1996. Martians invade Earth in this dark comedy, with Black playing a dopey trailer-trash kid named Billy Glenn Norris who joins the military in their futile fight against the aliens. “The Martian shot me with his ray gun and as I was being vaporized I basically vibrated to death.” All that remains is a skeleton. “That was pretty fun.”
“The Jackal,” 1997. Black had a small role as an obnoxious weapons designer who gets on the nerves of Bruce Willis, an assassin who uses a cannon to shoot Black’s arm off. “It was robot. They built a robot Jack Black. I’m not kidding. They dipped me in wax, basically, they made a plaster cast of my entire body, made a Jack Black with robotics inside it so it could move around. Then they (expletive) exploded it. He shoots off my arm and then explodes my entire body.”
“I Still Know What You Did Last Summer,” 1998. In this slasher sequel, a psycho with a fish hook eviscerates Black, who plays a dope-smoking goofball. “It was a stretch,” Black deadpanned about his character’s pot smoking. “I begged for my life like pathetic clown, to no avail. He gave me the hook.” Why? “There was no reason. The hookman? He just kills people. It’s one of those mindless teenage movies that are made out of cheese and crap.”