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My Day with Jack Black

THE INDIAN LEADER - March 4, 2019 - 11:41am


In the summer of 2010 my casting agency, On Location Casting, booked me on an unnamed project that was filming in Bastrop, Texas.  I was cast as a criminal and later a prisoner.  Upon arriving to the location, which was a high school that was redesigned to be a prison, I was told Jack Black was on the set and that I would be working with him.  I was excited because I, like many people, know Jack Black’s work as an actor from movies like Tropic Thunder, Nacho Libre, and Peter Jackson’s King Kong.  I enjoyed him as a musician as half of the rock duo Tenacious D.  Jack was cast as the lead role in a story about a benevolent community man driven to madness to by an elderly woman in his community and ultimately murdering her.  The film was called Bernie.  

Initially, when I arrived on set I was sent to wardrobe.  I was given a white jumpsuit with random numbers on the back, designating my pretend status as a prisoner.  There was no need for make up as I was cast as an extra, which is essentially a background actor.  Examples of an extra are people on the street, dining in a restaurant, or walking through a park.  Extras fill up the background and add a layer of dimension to the suspension of disbelief that is present in any good film.  If you have certain qualities and the director likes you, one can be elevated to the status of featured extra.  A featured extra is paid more and usually gets more screen time.  Examples of featured extras are waiters, cab drivers, and clerks.  Being a featured extra is exciting because there is more of a chance of seeing yourself in the finished film.  I anxiously walked into our makeshift prison surroundings and looked for the star.

I was told no phones or pictures were allowed on set.  As a professional, I strictly adhered to the rules of the director, Richard Linklater.  Linklater had made films like Dazed and Confused, Waking life, and A Scanner Darkly.  I knew his work and watched him as he gave orders to the film crew with authority and professionalism.  Then Jack Black walked into the room.  He was wearing the same white jumpsuit as all of us extras and proceeded to shake all of our hands.  I watched him joke and goof around in real life as he does in his movies.  There was no difference!  When the camera wasn’t rolling he was socializing with the crew.  When we heard “Action!” I saw him switch into character.

During one of our breaks I walked up to Jack Black and introduced myself.  I addressed him as “Mr. Black”, to which he quickly corrected me and told me to call him Jack.  I felt so cool.  I told him how much I like his band Tenacious D.  He asked me enthusiastically if I thought they rocked!  I laughed and agreed they did in fact rock hard which pleased him. I sat next to him as he played on his phone and in that moment I could not help but wonder what phone numbers he had in that phone.  Which A-listers were a button push away for this top-tier talent?  The crew had finished resetting the scene and we were under the lights once again.  The camera slowly panned over each of our faces, eventually landing on Jack so he could deliver his lines for the scene.  To take part in the making of movie magic is truly an exhilarating experience.  We shot, reset, and shot some more. For eight hours we joked, conversed, and relaxed as a cast with Jack right there with us.  At one point one of the extras snuck a phone onto the set and asked Jack for a picture with him.  I watched this transaction and thought it amateur, and that Jack might be offended at the request.  To the contrary Jack told the man to wait until the director was not looking and he would gladly do it.  When the director shouted “Cut!” Jack and the man snuck behind a wall and began to take “selfies”.  I was jealous and resented that I had been so professional, but that’s show business baby.

At the end of the shoot I said goodbye to Jack and gave him a hug.  He was truly a joy to work with.  He was as real, friendly, and accompanying as you could want.  I left the set and boarded the transportation shuttle.  As we drove away, I thought to myself that my favorite place in the whole world was a film set.  I shed a tear.  I would never forget my time with Jack and that for a day, a celebrity like him and an unknown like me were co-workers, peers, and friends.  The following week I came back to “Bernie” as a criminal and spent an eventful day filming a scene with the mythic and mystical Matthew McConaughey, but that is a story for another article.


Native Sun News Today: Indigenous presence felt at Oscars ceremony

INDIANZ.COM - March 4, 2019 - 11:00am
As is the case in many of the Oscars over the years, Native and indigenous peoples get little mention for their contributions to American storytelling.

Tim Giago: Media organizations honor Teddy Roosevelt despite his racist views

INDIANZ.COM - March 4, 2019 - 11:00am
Racial prejudice is racial prejudice no matter when it occurred.

Over 2,000 Native American bones recovered from a “Collector”

POWWOWS.COM - March 4, 2019 - 8:28am

Over 2,000 Native American bones recovered from a “Collector”In an article released by CBS News, we learn about a man from Indiana, Don Miller, who was known to be a collector of “artifacts.” All of these artifacts were in fact stolen from native graves and other places around.....

The post Over 2,000 Native American bones recovered from a “Collector” appeared first on PowWows.com - Native American Pow Wows.

United South and Eastern Tribes pledge unity amid uncertainty in the Trump era

INDIANZ.COM - March 4, 2019 - 7:46am
'This is Indian land,' tribal leaders were told. But does the Trump administration believe it?

Comedy the vehicle for sensitive racial topics in new Saskatoon play

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - March 4, 2019 - 7:42am
Dakota Ray Hebert Nitannis Bear Native Studies 101 play

“A Nakota, a Dene, a Cree and a Métis walk into a Native Studies Class being taught by a Settler teacher. Who teaches who?" is how the play is described.

Mark Trahant: Navajo Nation confronts loss of controversial power plant

INDIANZ.COM - March 4, 2019 - 6:27am
Indian Country, like other rural parts of the country, is right in the middle of changing times.

Cronkite News: Native Republicans tie tribal sovereignty to conservative agenda

INDIANZ.COM - March 4, 2019 - 6:11am
The audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference had heard the message of low taxes and local control before. This time it came from Native Americans.

VIDEO: Rep. Deb Haaland addresses the United South and Eastern Tribes

INDIANZ.COM - March 4, 2019 - 5:17am
'I am here because of Indian Country,' Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) told tribal leaders.

Eskasoni Crisis Centre extends hours, services after rash of deaths in community

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - March 4, 2019 - 5:00am
eskasoni health centre

The Eskasoni Crisis Centre is expanding its hours and services following a rash of deaths in the First Nations community.

Twitter Recap: United South and Eastern Tribes open Impact Week meeting

INDIANZ.COM - March 4, 2019 - 4:58am
Leaders of tribes from Texas to Maine to Florida are meeting in the nation's capital this week.

MSU News: Powwow dedicated to missing and murdered indigenous women and girls

INDIANZ.COM - March 4, 2019 - 4:42am
The 44th annual American Indian Council Powwow at Montana State University will be held March 29-30.

Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation celebrates the women who make us strong

INDIANZ.COM - March 4, 2019 - 4:21am
Cherokee Nation is a matrilineal tribe, and reverence for women is deeply rooted in our culture.

Police hunted for secret church archives during probe of abuse allegations at St. Anne's residential school

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - March 4, 2019 - 4:00am
St. Anne's residential school

Police investigating widespread allegations of physical and sexual abuse at St. Anne’s Indian residential school in northern Ontario looked for secret church archives that would have contained sensitive information about priests.

RCMP watchdog's review into Colten Boushie case delayed

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - March 4, 2019 - 4:00am
Colten Boushie

An independent investigation into how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police handled the death of Colten Boushie — the young Saskatchewan man whose 2016 death plunged the country into a bitter debate on race — has been delayed.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe no longer being financed by backer of stalled casino

INDIANZ.COM (gaming) - March 4, 2019 - 3:48am
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe continues to see setbacks as it battles the Trump administration in court.

Student(s) of the Year

THE INDIAN LEADER - March 4, 2019 - 3:17am
Haskell Student of the Year Photo courtesy of Haskell Indian Nations University

Haskell Indian Nations University is proud to announce the 2019 Haskell Student of the Year, RaeLynn King from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Ms. King is a senior at Haskell, and will graduate this spring with her bachelor’s in Business Administration. She has demonstrated academic excellence through her four years at Haskell by consistently making the President’s List.

In October of 2018, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development presented her with the Lockheed Martin Native American Business Scholarship for her academic excellence, and commitment to her community.

She has been involved with the regional, and national, community by working a summer internship in 2018 with the companies Travois and Tepa in Kansas City. This internship gave her a chance to work directly with tribal communities, and gain a deeper understanding of her major. She was also a part of the Haskell Off-Campus club throughout 2018.

In addition to being a full-time student at Haskell, Ms. King works on the Haskell campus at the Bursar’s Office and in the local Lawrence community.

Please join us in congratulating RayLynn on her accomplishments, and bright future she has ahead!

AICF Student of the Year Photo courtesy of Haskell Indian Nations University

Haskell Indian Nations University is proud to announce the 2019 American Indian College Fund Student of the Year Lena MacDonald from Wasilla, Alaska. She is Athabaskan and a member of the Healy Lake tribe. 

Ms. MacDonald is a junior at Haskell, enrolled in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management. She graduated with her AA in Liberal Arts in December, and is now pursuing her Bachelors. 

Her academic excellence at Haskell is shown by consistently making the President’s Honor Roll the last four semesters. Lena works at the library on campus and has been involved with Haskell’s Thunderbird Theater. 

In high school she volunteered at Snowshoe Elementary School as a teacher’s helper. Other volunteer activities include: Cystic Fibrosis Craft Fair, Alaska Dog and Puppy Rescue, BPA Spaghetti Feed & Silent Auction and Mat-su Career & Tech High School Fall Bazaar.


Victoria city council to decide future of John A. Macdonald statue

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - March 3, 2019 - 10:14pm

Six months after its removal from Victoria’s city hall, the controversial John A. Macdonald statue has once again become a topic of discussion amongst city council, after money was set aside in this year’s strategic plan for it’s relocation.

Supportive housing units open in Vancouver's historic Strathcona neighbourhood

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - March 3, 2019 - 8:13pm
Nora Hendrix Place

Nora Hendrix Place has 52 homes available for rent at $375 a month, which is the amount provided for shelter by the B.C. government to people living on social assistance. It will prioritize housing for black and Indigenous residents.

Housing awards for three northwestern Ontario First Nations

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - March 3, 2019 - 3:10pm
First Nations Housing Conference 2019 image

Muskrat Dam, Weagamow and Wauzhushk Onigum received Housing Recognition Awards at this year's First Nations Housing Conference in Thunder Bay.


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