The M Interview: Jack Black's demon? Cheeseburgers
US actor Jack Black, who plays author R.L. Stine in new movie Goosebumps, reveals what happens when he gets grumpy
Jack Black is always "on".
Give him an audience and he is ready to perform, which makes him one of the most fun actors to interview.
M spoke to the 46-year-old US actor in June for his HBO TV series The Brink, and we met again in Cancun at The Ritz-Carlton hotel for new adventure comedy Goosebumps.
The movie is based on the scary-funny children's book franchise of the same name, 400 million of which have been sold worldwide.
The film's producers couldn't decide which of US author R.L. Stine's nearly 200 books to include, so they put all his monster creations into a story with Stine (Black) as the central character.
Opening here on Oct 29, it revolves around a teenager (Dylan Minnette) who teams up with Stine's daughter (Odeya Rush) after the cranky best-selling writer's imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.
Many of the monsters are created with special effects. What was it like filming with imaginary scene partners?
There's tons of CGI, and you are acting to... a tennis ball being held on a stick and there's nothing really scary about that. And that's where the acting comes in. That's where my professionalism kicks in.
I have spent most of my life pretending that there are monsters chasing me when there was nothing there.
While Stine approved the script and had some measure of creative input, he wasn't present on the set. But you met him to prepare for the role. Are you anything like the R.L. Stine character?
I do feel like a loner sometimes, not to get too maudlin, not to feel sorry for myself. I am not super social. I guess (we) have a lot in common... in that I keep to myself.
But I don't have big personal demons that I feel I need to exorcise. I guess I have a bad temper sometimes... If I am driving, sometimes there will be little blasts of road rage.
I am a little bit of a control freak. I have a little bit of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and I like everything in its place and if someone is not doing it in the right order, I get a little grumpy.
So how do you handle your grumpiness?
I hit the gym and I hit it hard! I do like to ride my bike but it doesn't do anything, it just makes me hungrier. That's my personal demon - cheeseburgers.
And there's no way to stop the cheeseburger demon.
In real life, Stine had a rivalry with horror novelist Stephen King and there's a running joke about their competitiveness in the film.
It was a very funny thing that culminates in the big finish, that he has to write another amazing book in a very short amount of time in order to save the day. And he has to do it in this high school theatre where they have set up the theatrical production of King's The Shining.
So it's his own personal hell and it's the worst place he can be in the world to have to write a great story but it's really just for comedic effect. I was happy they did that little homage to The Shining though because (the Stanley Kubrick-directed film is) my favourite.
A-ha! Didn't you tell us at The Brink press conference that your favourite movie is Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove?
What? You are outing me! (laughs) Come on, can we just say that my favourite film-maker is Stanley Kubrick? Do I have to stay consistent on which Stanley Kubrick film? (When I spoke to you last) that was for a different show! Busted!
I think my favourite political comedy was Dr. Strangelove. My favourite scary goosebumps film is The Shining. Let's just leave it at that. Next question, please!
We heard you've got yourself a stylist.
It's a new thing for me. I need to step up my game and I need to dress to impress. Enough of this loafing around with my animal T-shirts. It's time to show that I care about my craft and about my profession.
"Come on, can we just say that my favourite film-maker is Stanley Kubrick? Do I have to stay consistent on which Stanley Kubrick film?"
- Jack Black, when outed on what his favourite movie is