Jack Black Wants To Do A Penguin Movie – And We Would Totally Watch It

18 December 2019
Culture, Film, Jumanji: The Next Level, Karen Gillan, Jack Black

A gritty, superhero cross-genre movie is there for the making

Sometime, my friends and I play a game: name a movie in which all of its stars haven’t appeared in a superhero movie. Try it, it’s next to impossible.

Up to now, one of the most reliable actors that would help you win, however, was Jack Black – unless you count his 1990s failed pilot Heat Vision and Jack, in which he plays an astronaut who gains superintelligence, but only in direct sunlight.

Black is actually something of an anomaly – a major star that has avoided live-action sequels throughout his career. That changes with Jumanji: The Next Level, a successful continuation of 2017’s reboot in which he portrayed a video game avatar for a teenage girl, already outpacing the previous installment at the box office.

His co-star, Karen Gillan, of course, has sequels coming out her ears.

“I’m always in sequels. I’m a sequel queen,” says Gillan.

Gillan is fresh off a key role in the highest grossing film of all time, 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, reprising the role of Nebula that began in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. With the third Guardians of the Galaxy on the horizon, written and directed by James Gunn and set for a 2022 release date, Gillen wants Black to join the star-studded cast that is already likely to feature Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and Chris Hemsworth.

“If he’s available!” says Gillan.

“Well, yeah, James Gunn. I’m ready to jump into the Marvel universe, dude. I’m thinking maybe Penguin. I know that’s DC, but I say we bend the rules just one time!” says Black.

“...And put the Penguin in the next Guardians of the Galaxy?” Gillan asks.

“Penguin’s in! This is such a bad idea,” says Black. “Wah wah wah! I’m travelling in space!” says Black, doing his best Penguin voice.

And then Black’s mental wheels really start turning. What he really wants is a stand-alone film in the style of Todd Phillips’ Joker (2019), the rare comic book film which crossed the billion dollar mark at the box office and is one of the projected favorites of awards season.

“I was thinking just ‘Penguin’. Just like Joker. ‘Penguin.’” says Black.

“I would watch that!” says Gillen.

While superhero movies are built from the get-go for endless installments and often get better with each, Jumanji: The Next Level is a much rarer thing – a comedy sequel that actually works.

“It’s like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes. We got all the nervous jitters in the first movie. Are we going to have chemistry? What’s it going to be like? Is Dwayne the Rock Johnson going to crush me and kill me? What’s going to happen?” says Black.

As talented as each of the film’s leads are, it’s surprisingly not Jack Black who is most likely to go off script and come up with new jokes in the moment.

I memorise my lines religiously. I’m really process oriented. I do throw in the occasional improv, but I’m not as freewheeling as Kevin. Kevin is the biggest improviser. He’s the exception to the rule. Every time he opened his mouth, it was something fresh and new.  You try to stay in the moment and react naturally, but sometimes it will throw you if you’re like, that’s not fitting with my next line! But you go with it and awesome stuff happens,” says Black.