BALANCE_DECEMBER_2019 - 22

J

ack Black is a special talent. The comedy actor possesses the sort
of lightning-in-a-bottle charisma that only comes along once every
generation. Is there an emerging comedy star who comes close
to Black's winning charisma, we wonder? It's why the world has
been in love with the 50-year-old since that show-stealing turn in
2000's High Fidelity. Then there's School of Rock, Tropic Thunder,
his Grammy-winning band Tenacious D, Kung Fu Panda and so much more.
What's more, Jumanji: The Next Level promises to be one of the cinematic
events of the year, given the global success of 2017 surprise smash Jumanji:
Welcome To The Jungle. After 20 years of success, you'd assume that
trademark confidence came easily. But you'd be wrong.
"There is a swagger and a confidence at times," the beloved star tells
BALANCE. "But there's also a tremendous amount of self-doubt and anxiety.
It's a strange balancing act between those two.
"If I feel like I'm kicking ass, I definitely get high off the feeling of a job
well done. But there's a lot of fretting and stressing on the way on the road.
When you connect with a character it's worth all the hard work and cold
sweats at night." So what does the great man do to combat the dark clouds?
"You don't want to focus on what can go wrong," he reveals. "You've got to
focus on what could go right. A little visualisation of weathering the storm
and coming up triumphant on the other side helps. A little meditation. A
little deep-knee rock squats. A little stretching... and, get a good night's
sleep if you can. Also just hunker down and do the work."
He switches into his comedy persona, adding with gusto: "But don't
overdo it! Don't work too hard! That's a weird lesson I learned recently.
There is such a thing as overdoing it. Strike that balance. Keep it fun."
BALANCE didn't think we'd get the sort of life advice that beats most
personal development books we've read from one of the funniest people
to ever walk the planet, but then that is part of his magic. As with many
naturally funny people, Jack's depth is apparent; during an hour-pluslong chat, he's capable of reducing you to hysterics one moment, before
causing you to pause and reflect the next.

LEVEL UP

Coming up very soon is Jumanji: The Next Level, with Dwayne Johnson,
Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, each again playing video game avatars.

22

"A LITTLE VISUALISATION
OF WEATHERING THE
STORM HELPS"
"Everyone is playing someone different at some point in the movie," Jack
says of the sequel. "And there's a lot of surprises along the way as well.
We're not always stuck in the same character throughout."
Indeed, a successful sequel has to up the stakes. "In the new one, we go
to some crazy new locales," Jack adds. "It's not all in the jungle. We travel
all around the world. We got some snowy mountain peaks, some desert
dunes, we got lots of different playing fields and maps."
A blizzard whipped through the set when shooting near Calgary in Canada,
and Jack says it nearly got too much for Dwayne Johnson's nipples.
"We all have snow gear and different costumes for that location," he says.
"For Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, the costume designer didn't get the
memo that it was going to be as cold as hell up there. He was in a skintight muscle costume in the icy tundra. I thought his nipples were going
to cut right through. They looked like diamonds.
"The poor guy. Still Dwayne prevailed like a champ." BALANCE is in
hysterics. And, to tip us over the edge, Jack adds in his own inimitable
style: "That was a cool locashe."
Jack is no stranger to the world of video games; there's his YouTube
gaming channel, JablinskiGames, while he got his acting break in a 1982
commercial for Atari. "I was there! I was part of that generation. There
was a game called Pitfall. Ironically in the commercial I wore a safari
hat, the same I wear in Jumanji. In a strange way, it was a premonition
of things to come." He adds: "I've been playing video games ever
since. I've been fortunate enough to watch it grow into this insane
industry that threatens to overtake the film industry, it's so big and
powerful." Jack predicts that the lines will continue to become increasingly
blurred between movies and video games, citing the seminal Red
Redemption 2 and Black Mirror episode, Bandersnatch. "The lines are
getting blurred." He pauses, before taking a shot at Robin Thicke's morally



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