Starring in The House With A Clock In Its Walls, Jack Black has found his niche with kids’ thrillers fit for adults
The versatile actor is bringing his signature quirk to the spooky new fantasy film.
There’s been a snitch-sized hole in our hearts ever since the Harry Potter franchise ended, leaving a big-screen void of kid-friendly magical titles -- until now. Enter The House With A Clock In Its Walls: the latest flick from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment that tackles the spooky and supernatural with a nostalgic, 80s-inspired twist.
The film, which is based on the 1973 novel of the same name by John Bellairs, is in good hands with mastermind director Eli Roth and scribe Eric Kripke ("Supernatural"), not to mention Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett. But its real secret weapon is the universally liked, kid- and adult-friendly Jack Black, whose niche in the kids’ horror realm continues to take root with the role of Jonathan Barnavelt.
The House With A Clock In Its Walls centres on 10-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), who moves in with his uncle (Black) when he is orphaned. But he gets more than he bargained for when his uncle reveals that he’s a warlock in a house full of magical things. While most of these (not-so) inanimate objects appear friendly enough on the surface, a clock within the walls eventually springs to life, opening a network of dark witches and warlocks who threaten to take over the town.
The Jack Black effect
This is the perfect showcase for Black, who has veered toward these goofy, mysterious, and undeniably eccentric roles over the course of his career. And while we could point to some of his more adult roles in which he plays the unexpected romantic lead (The Holiday, Shallow Hal), it seems like “quirk” has always been a selling point for a Jack Black-approved character. How else do you describe (ongoing) gigs like rocker Tenacious D or luchador Nacho Libre? With Black’s five-foot-six frame and his intense brown eyes (highlighted by those signature brows and grin), he never did fit the trope of Hollywood’s leading man.
But Black has the market covered for roles in need of a likeable dude who can appeal to kids while still entertaining adults. And lately, he’s graduated from straight-up kids flicks like Kung-Fu Panda and School of Rock to fantastical horror targeted at a more pre-teen audience.
It’s working for him, too. This latest role as the kimono-wearing, fire-throwing Uncle Jonathan comes on the heels of projects like Gulliver’s Travels, Goosebumps, and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (and its forthcoming two sequels), proving Black has carved out a unique place for himself in Hollywood after three-plus decades in the biz.
Get ready for all the magic and suspense when The House With A Clock In Its Walls hits theatres on September 21st!