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— by Larry Carroll

If you ever find yourself on a movie set, contemplating the combined influences of Mariah Carey, Albert Einstein and cheese, there's a good chance you've wandered into the midst of a Tenacious D film in the making. But if you need any further confirmation of the fact, you could always listen closely for evidence of the band's trademark lack of humility.

A decade after strumming their first note together (they met in an acting class), Black and co-conspirator Kyle Gass are currently in the throes of bringing the self-proclaimed "Greatest Band on Earth" to the big screen. And as they're all too happy to remind you, it's about friggin' time.

 Photos from the set of "Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny"

"There is some pressure," Jack Black admitted during a recent visit to the set of the upcoming film, "Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny." "But that's only because everything else [out there] is kinda lame, and if we don't kick ass then there'll be nothing good to watch.

"You can pick your friends," Black continued, sporting a black T-shirt and two days' worth of stubble. "You can pick your nose. But you can't pick your destiny. That's the origin of the title, 'The Pick of Destiny.' Really, the title is, 'Tenacious D in: the Pick of Destiny'; I don't want anyone to ever say, 'Are you gonna see 'The Pick of Destiny'? I want people to say, 'Are you gonna see 'Tenacious D in: the Pick of Destiny'? I know it's a long title, but that's the way I likes it."

Sitting in an enormous, ornately decorated Los Angeles soundstage quite conducive to rocking, Black stops to catch his breath just long enough for his bald, portly bandmate in the "Trainwreck" T-shirt to chime in.

"We wear different hats," Gass said of the film. (They wrote it, star in it and play their own instruments in it.) "We wear a producer's hat. Sometimes we have a writer's hat on — which is a little beret — and sometimes we have an actor's hat on."

"The producer's hat is like a big ten-gallon top hat, like the rich guy from Monopoly," Black added, smiling at his partner in rock.

 Suchin gets to know Tenacious D on a personal level in this MTV News report

The duo seem destined to pass Go and collect a lot more than $200 as they finally combine their musical gig with the acting day jobs that have turned Black into a sought-after film comedian and Gass into a solid supporting player in films like "Elf" and "The New Guy." Although getting concrete details out of the duo can prove tricky — claims along the lines that Satan himself has signed on as an executive producer are not uncommon — they gladly reveal that the film will parody pretentious biopics such as Prince's "Purple Rain."

"Is 'Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny' gonna be as good as 'Glitter'?" Jack Black asked, admitting shortly thereafter that he hadn't, in fact, seen the infamous Mariah Carey movie.

"Well, 'Glitter' is actually like kitsch now," Gass interjected.

"It's so stinky bad that it's great?" Black replied. "Does it also go into when she went off her noodle and became a totally insane cuckoo butterfly? That's a movie I'd like to see.

"A lot of times, genius will be confused with nut balls," the manic actor continued, bringing it back to the realm of the D. "Einstein, they thought he was crazy at first."

Insanity is acceptable, the men from D say, as a byproduct of committing yourself to what you do. And in every sense of the word, Tenacious D have worked very hard to be committed.

"We've been rocking really hard in this movie," Black insisted. "We wanna bring it to the max. We wanna live life to the max."

"Like when we hug each other, we hug each other," Gass added, "with fists pounding on each other's back. Manly love hugs."

After the smash success of their 2001 eponymous album, an acclaimed HBO television series and a world tour that saw them sharing the stage with Weezer, among others, Tenacious D are finally living up to their long-running claims of world domination. But to hear Jack Black tell it, he wasn't always as self-assured as he appeared.

"Early on I was thinking, 'Man, I donít know if should be rockin'. I think maybe I should have something to fall back on; maybe I should study to be a pizza chef or something.'

"Then I realized, when I was young: Screw falling back, I wanna fall forward if I fall," Black smiled. "I wanna fall forward on my face — rockin'! Quit your day job: Those are words to live by. Although I have to admit that I did have to go back and live at my mom's until I was 30."

Now the D are riding high, and it has finally brought Black and Gass a lifestyle appropriate to their rock-and-roll genius.

"What do we have in our contract rider?" Black asked Gass. "It's pretty spiritual stuff. It's not like a bottle of Jack Daniel's and M&Ms. But we've got pita bread. Lunch meats, tuna, cheese."

"You might say, well, what's the big deal with cheese?" Gass said, one-upping his partner. "Some places in the United States, they just don't have cheese. And I really like the flavored vodkas. Just any vodka with flavor, I like. Like lemon."

"Is that in there?" Black said, returning the serve. "I've never noticed that."

"You didn't?" Gass fired back, cracking up. "No, I was making it up for comedy."

When it comes to groupies, the guys insist that they have a similarly unorthodox rock attitude.

"Most of the D's audience is dudes, for better or worse," Black said, shaking his head. "It's mostly a sausage fest. But there are some ladies that come and are fans of the D, and I guess you can call them groupies."

"We call them Tenacious D enthusiasts," Gass corrected. "They're very enthused."

Once the group's outlook on rock and sex has been established, the only place left to go is to that other age-old rock staple: the drugs.

"Are carbs considered a drug?" Gass asked. "Because a lot of times, I feel like that's my drug. Onion rings. Anything with cheese. Just melted cheese. Cheese on a sandwich. Cheese in noodles. I just love cheese. Is that a vice? We did quit smoking for the movie, because we didn't want to be dead before it opened. So we're doing good on that."

If the movie is half as funny as spending a few minutes alongside Tenacious D, they're doing a lot better than good. Sometime next year, "Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny" will be bringing the manic sausage fest to a theater near you. We offer up three words of warning: hide the cheese.

Check out everything we've got on "Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny."

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