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In "Shark Tale," Jack Black provides the voice of a vegetarian shark named Lenny, but in real life the carnivorous comedian says he sometimes needs half a chicken to really get the job done on the set. Ben Lyons, co-host of MTV's new "Your Movie Show," braved swimming with the shark to get some answers about what it was like working with an all-star cast that included the oh-so-intimidating Robert De Niro.

Your Movie Show
Real people and their real opinions on the latest films.


MTV: So what is a Jack Black vocal session like? Do you set a mood with incense, wheat grass, music, belly dancers? What is the booth like when you get in there?

Black: Look, I don't need any of those frills and chills. I appreciate a couple of colorful candles. I just need to make sure that there's the proper food before I get to the mic. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a roasted chicken also. Like, can I get half a rotisserie chicken from wherever and some creamed spinach.

MTV: Tell us about your character, Lenny the shark.

Black: Well, you know, he's a vegetarian, but he's not vegetarian just because he doesn't like the taste of fish, but he's a vegetarian because he loves all animals, large and small. He's a very sensitive, caring human being ... fish ... fishing being. What do you call that? Not human being. Fishing being? And the thing is, those are great qualities unless you're a great white shark. Those are not good qualities when he's expected to be vicious, man-eating, bloodthirsty. So he has to hide it from his dad so that he doesn't get kicked out of the house.

Michael Imperioli, the voice of Lenny's brother Frankie, gives up the goods to Ben Lyons.

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MTV: There is such a great cast in this film — Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Renée Zellweger, Michael Imperioli, Vincent Pastore. Did you get to work with any of them, or did you do everything yourself?

Black: I did work with Will. I mean, I had the most scenes with Will, and the process is over two or three years of us recording stuff. Every couple of months you go in there and you record a little more. They couldn't get all of us together every time — that's just the way it is — but there's some advantages to not being with all those people. I like going it alone, because then it's all about whom? Me, buddy. Me.

MTV: But wouldn't it have been fun to go toe-to-toe with De Niro?

Black: I have not met the man, and I do not know that it would be fun. I'd be kind of intimidated. ... I'm just stoked that I am in a movie with him and that he's that shark and I'm that shark and those cartoon characters are having a scene together. That's good enough for me. I like that there's a poster that says Robert De Niro, Jack Black. That's all that I need.

MTV: Did you guys get the same treatment? Were De Niro and Scorsese treated the same as everyone else?

Black: I don't know if they had any demands. I might have been the most pain in the ass one, because you know, with me, with my food, any given day there would be a new thing I needed.

MTV: A lot of people might think this is the first time you've worked with Will Smith, but you guys did "Enemy of the State" together.

Black: Yeah, I was always doing my thing and we didn't hang out very much, and I remember on that movie, "Enemy of the State," I had a little tiny part, and so did a bunch of us guys, and we were all thinking how were we going to get a bigger part? And I came up with the idea that if anyone could improvise the title of the movie into the scene, then you will probably be in the trailer.

MTV: Very smart.

View the "Shark Tale" trailer, photos and more

Black: And I was thinking, "Man, this Will Smith guy, he's a handful, he's like an enemy of the state" — just, there's no way to fit it into a sentence.

MTV: As someone who's such a physical actor, known for physical comedy, is it a challenge doing a movie that requires just your voice?

Black: No, because you know what? They're filming you. When you're putting your voice down on tape, they are filming you with secret microscopic cameras, and you know that they are going to use your facial contortions and your body movements a little bit, it's going to influence the way that they draw the animation.

MTV: The characters really do resemble the people that voice them. Did you like the way that Lenny turned out?

Black: Yeah, I think he came out pretty funny. What are you saying, because he had the big stomach? I think he looks cool. I don't think he looks like me. ... They got my eyes, I think. Mine are closer together, but they got the shape of the eyeball.



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