Cinco and Ken's Way to Put Off Actually Writing

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Celebrities we've hung out with: Jack Black

Cinco here. Jack Black was Disney's first choice for the lead in BUBBLE BOY. He had just finished a scene-stealing role in HIGH FIDELITY, and they were very high on him. At one point we were told to make Jimmy the Bubble Boy play guitar because Jack Black was also a guitarist. Ken and I didn't know Black's work very well, but they showed us some Tenacious D stuff which was very funny. We were in (although frankly it didn't really matter to the studio what we thought--we were the writers!). Now the goal was to get Jack signed on. A dinner meeting was set up: Jack, Ken, myself and Disney co-presidents of production Nina Jacobson and Todd Garner.

We met Jack at a sushi restaurant in Century City--he was there waiting when Ken and I arrived. We smiled. Punctuality is very important to us. Then Nina and Todd showed up and the fun began. Black said he thought the script was cool. But he wasn't sure he could play the part. All of us assured him he could. This is the part he was born to play! No one else could ever do this part! I wish I had crazy anecdotes to share, but Black was pretty serious. He seemed a little uncomfortable, not sure what was expected of him. And completely uninterested in success or stardom. My most vivid memories are of Todd sharing a story about strippers in Vegas and Nina getting very excited--"Strippers? What about strippers?"--and of a later incident between Ken and Jack Black in the restroom. I am a gentleman, so I will leave Ken to elaborate on what happened there.

The dinner seemed to go well, but eventually we realized we had failed. Jack Black didn't end up doing BUBBLE BOY. He chose to do another movie called SHALLOW HAL instead (SHALLOW HAL box office: $70M; BUBBLE BOY's: $5M--we'll let you decide whether or not he made the right choice).

He's now a huge star. But Jake is also a huge star. Since then we have had dinner with one other star. He didn't sign on to our movie either. Hollywood, take note: don't let Cinco and Ken have dinner with actors you want to star in their scripts. They are poison.


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