Just try to imagine “Kung Fu Panda” with anyone other than Jack Black in the title role. Tapping into his Tenacious D persona, Black made each wisecrack snap like a roundhouse kick. On the strength of his appeal, the toon knocked out a boffo $631 million worldwide.
“I’ve always been kind of obsessed with animation, and I had fun working with DreamWorks Animation on ‘Shark Tale,’ so it seemed like a fun way to spend my afternoons,” says Black, who looks forward to reprising the character in the 2011 sequel. “They laid out an overview of the story for me, and it’s going to be great.”
Later in the summer, Black appealed to older auds as a drug-addicted actor itching for a “jellybean” fix in DreamWorks’ R-rated “Tropic Thunder.”
“Funny is funny, no matter what the age group,” the actor says. “Funny to me is what makes me laugh. My boy makes me laugh a lot, and he’s only 2 years old, so that’s obviously some G-rated stuff there. But it’s fun to go dark every once in a while.”
Next up is Harold Ramis’ comedy “The Year One” in summer 2009, followed by a lead role in future Fox tentpole “Gulliver’s Travels.”