I look at Jack Black as one of the great cautionary tales of Hollywood. The guy went from cool and underground to overexposed joke in no time flat – once you would hear that he was attached to a project and smile; now you grimace a little bit since you’re so sick of his schtick.
The latest Black casting news comes in a film starring yet another actor who has had a similar career path – Ben Stiller. The movie is Tropic Thunder, which is about a group of actors making a big-budget war movie when everything goes wrong and they’re forced to actually become the kinds of soldiers they’ve been pretending to be. Not a terrible premise, admittedly. And it’s written by Justin Theroux (who also stars), who hasn’t written anything before but has had the kind of eclectic career – from David Lynch to Sex and the City to Zoolander – that I like to see, so maybe this won’t be a terrible movie. Maybe this will even be a movie that resuscitates the cold, dead cred of Stiller and Black!
Helping in that endeavor is Robert Downey Jr (a great name in any cast, but, as The Shaggy Dog proved, not the most discerning dude) playing a four time Oscar winner known as the greatest actor of his generation. Undeclared star Jay Baruchel will play the newbie actor who gets a plum role and then swept up in the madness, and Black will play Jeff “Fats” Portnoy, “an overweight gross-out comedian, who’s forced to kick his drug addiction while filming on location in the jungle.” Okay, I’m not hating this at all. In fact, I’m officially giving it a chance! That said, I’m sure that Stiller plays his usual too-muscled up for a little Jewish dude high strung character, but there’s only so much you can ask from these people.
Tropic Thunder starts shooting in July.