A comedian, actor, Tenacious D rocker and self-described fleet-footed track star, Jack Black will be scampering alongside fans to pick up a copy of “King Kong” as it roars onto DVD this week. We caught up with the bombastic star to get some random thoughts on director Peter Jackson and why millions of his fans might want to log on to an Internet word game.
MTV: “King Kong” is out on DVD. What scene would you recommend slowing down and freeze-framing?
Jack Black: Ah! Probably Kong up on the Empire State Building, just because I’m blown away still just by the way they re-created all of New York in the 1930s — kind of an incredible feat of computer animation.
MTV: Peter Jackson hid all kinds of secret things inside some of the film’s busier scenes. Can you tip us off on some of that stuff?
Black: Uh, no. He kept it secret from me too. I’m looking forward to getting my greasy hands on that DVD.
MTV: Out of all the “Kong” characters, which one mirrors you the closest in real life?
Black: I’m probably most like Kong. I’m very strong. I’m misunderstood. I’m alone. And I’ll probably be killed by an airplane.
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MTV: When you acted opposite Kong, it was actually Andy Serkis jumping up and down, pretending to be a giant monkey. Was it tough taking him seriously?
Black: When I first saw him in the King Kong outfit that he had, it made me laugh, just because he looked pretty ridiculous in it. But once he started doing his routine, when you see his eyes and his physicality, it is actually pretty scary. He wiped that grin off my face.
MTV: If you could be a CGI performer like Serkis, what would you want to become?
Black: Probably the Silver Surfer. That’s my favorite. No, I don’t think you could do that. Well, I guess you could just paint me silver.
MTV: There has been talk of making a “Silver Surfer” movie.
Black: Yeah, I don’t think they’re gonna call me, though. They’ll probably call someone skinnier and taller.
MTV: What’s your favorite addition to the new “Kong” that wasn’t in the original?
Black: Definitely the spider pit scene, where after King Kong throws the log down into the chasm and a bunch of us are down there at the bottom of the canyon, all these disgusting cockroaches and spider crabs come out after us. That was actually a scene that was cut out of the original.
MTV: Did you have any input into which bugs were put in?
Black: Well, don’t tell Peter, but I basically [choreographed] the whole scene. I just, like, drew sketches of all the monsters and they just did what I said. Pete was tired. He couldn’t do it all.
MTV: One of the most memorable moments is the death of Lumpy. Does it make you wish you had died a gruesome death?
Black: I know, that was pretty sweet. That had to be the grossest death in the movie. But no, because then I wouldn’t have been around for the rest of the movie. And I wouldn’t be around for a sequel.
MTV: So, then, there are plans for a “Kong 2″?
Black: “Electric Boogaloo”!
MTV: What addition would you have liked to have seen Peter add to the remake?
Black: There was a swamp scene with a Loch Ness Monster beast that was pretty kick-ass, but I know that scenes have to be trimmed down, and that one unfortunately had to be cut.
MTV: Were you in that?
Black: Yeah, it was part of the whole expedition, searching for [Naomi Watts’ character] Ann Darrow where we’re on rafts. That was a pretty cool scene that didn’t make it.
MTV: Years ago on “Saturday Night Live,” they had a sketch about the cinematically avoided genitalia of Kong. Do you think they will ever make a movie that will properly depict what is so carefully hidden from the audience?
Black: [He laughs.] Yeah. I don’t think so. Unless they — they usually have a porno that comes out with a takeoff on the big Hollywood hits. Maybe there is a “King Kong Dong” movie coming soon. … “King Dong.”
MTV: Unfortunately, Peter never addressed the greatest “Kong” question of how Kong gets back to New York on a boat smaller than him. What’s your theory?
Black: They made a big raft and tied it to the boats. Who knows how the hell they did it? I like to think that they used a complex system of weights and pulleys. Maybe a giant raft. [My character] Carl was out there, just keeping the nitrous flowing.
MTV: The last line of the movie is a classic — but in modern times, is it tough to deliver with a straight face?
Black: I tried not to think about it too much because when you’ve got a line that’s just one line at the end of the thing, if you say it too many times to yourself, it starts to lose its meaning. I just sort of saved that for the day. And then I blew the line, like, five times in a row.
MTV: Do you now find yourself busting out the word ’twas in common language?
Black: Yeah. I use ” ’twas” and “thee” with an extra E.
MTV: A lot’s been made out of the fact that this is supposed to be your first dramatic performance. Do you consider it dramatic?
Black: No. I mean, there’s some dramatic elements to it, certainly, but it’s not like “Kramer vs. Kramer.” It’s not like I’m doing a family drama.
MTV: If Peter called you tomorrow and said he was doing another “Lord of the Rings” and wanted you to be in it, which character would you want to be?
Black: I’d love to be that elf guy with the super smell powers and the arrow, but I’m sure I’d probably be replacing the troll.
MTV: It wouldn’t be the first time you and Orlando Bloom were considered for the same role.
Black: Always. He’s always picking up my scraps.
MTV: Another memorable “Kong” scene is when you and the others are running away from the dinosaurs — but some people say it didn’t quite work for them.
Black: It doesn’t seem plausible? Is that what you mean?
MTV: Maybe it was your speed — no offense, but you don’t look like much of a runner.
Black: How dare you! How dare you, sir. I’ll have you know I won my track meets when I was a kid. That’s not true, but I do have some kick in me legs.
MTV: You’ve got some speed?
Black: Ask the stuntmen, dude. … When I got on the treadmill, I was running faster than anybody else in the movie. I was like, “Turn up the speed on that treadmill, you guys. This feels slow.” And they were like, [in a Scottish accent] “Are you kidding? We’ll turn you up to 35 kilometers!” That’s not a New Zealand accent, but trust me, dude, I can run with the gazelles.
MTV: We know how thorough Peter is with his DVD features. If he were to do a “Behind the Scenes With Jack Black,” what would we see you doing?
Black: I play a lot of Literati — it’s like Internet Scrabble. It’s called Literati, on Yahoo! Games. … It’s just like Scrabble, but it’s timed, and I’m pretty bad-ass. It’s hard to beat me.
MTV: So if some random person logged on to play a game, they could be playing Jack Black?
Black: Of course. That’s what it’s all about, building up your ranking.
MTV: Do you ever tip off people on who you are?
Black: No. No one would believe me. That’s like if I’m playing and they’re like, “You know, I’m Robert Redford.” I’d be like, “Yeah, sure.”
MTV: What’s the most impressive word you’ve ever whipped out?
Black: Xi, xu — those are words. You have to know all the X and Z words.
MTV: Xu is a word? What does it mean?
Black: I think it’s a monetary unit of Vietnam.
MTV: Wow, that’s impressive.
Black: Thank you.
MTV: Well, I think this interview will definitely establish the fact that Jack Black is a lot smarter than people think.
Black: Finally! Spread the word, would ya?
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