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Jack Black on His Christmas-Movie Rivalry and Those White Lotus Rumors

On the awards campaign trail for his Super Mario Bros. Movie song, “Peaches,” and fresh off an Emmy win, Black is hitting new milestones even more than two decades into Hollywood stardom.
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Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Jack Black is spending his December doing something he says he’s not all that accustomed to: working the awards campaign trail. As the performer and cowriter of the Super Mario Bros. Movie song “Peaches,” now a Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominee, Black has been appearing on awards season podcasts, doing virtual press conferences with the film’s directors, and finding new ways to talk about a 90-second song, written from the perspective of a video game villain, that became an unlikely viral smash.

But December has increasingly been a busy month for Black for another reason: his role in 2006’s The Holiday, the Nancy Meyers rom-com that, like so many Christmas movies before it, has slowly grown into a bona fide seasonal classic. “It’s become a staple of Christmastime, which I love,” Black says. What he most appreciates about the movie, beyond the master class in acting he says he got from costar Kate Winslet, might be the same thing loved by its legions of fans: Meyers’s legendary attention to detail. “She’s great with wish fulfillment,” Black says. “She’s so into the granular details of the houses and the furniture and the clothing, and everything’s just so idyllic and kind of awesome. She’s pretty rad.”

Playing a film composer in the movie, Black got the chance to shadow Hans Zimmer, who was The Holiday’s actual composer. Watching Zimmer’s process up close, the actor says, taught him lessons he continues to carry with him. “He’s got a cool community of composers that he works with, and they have kind of a free sharing of ideas and opinions,” Black says. “There’s power in that. You can actually get a little rocket sauce from your neighbors that way. It made me think about ways that I can open up my universe in that way too, and let other people in.”

Being in a holiday movie guarantees that you’ll be celebrated by audiences every year in December—but there’s a hierarchy to these things, it turns out. Black’s Tenacious D partner, Kyle Gass, has a small role in Elf, another modern holiday classic that has gotten even bigger in the decades since its release. “Kyle always reminds me that he’s got the biggest holiday movie,” Black says. “He’s able to lord it over me—his residual checks continue to roll in for Elf.” But if Black has his way, he might still win this contest: “Once in a while, I slide into Nancy Meyers’s DMs and say, ‘Holiday 2: Electric Boogaloo. Anyone with me?’”

Whether or not a Holiday 2 ever materializes, Black remains remarkably busy—he’s fresh off an Emmy win for his voice work on a Kung Fu Panda animated series, as well as a global tour with Tenacious D. But one place he’s probably not headed next, unfortunately, is a White Lotus resort. Though he’s still friends with his School of Rock and Orange County collaborator Mike White—Black brags that he knew about White’s talents even before his breakout film, Chuck & Buck—the actor has no choice but to deny some recent rumors that they might reunite for the upcoming third season of The White Lotus. “I’ll deny because that’s easy to tell the truth,” he says. “I have to throw ice water on that sweet, sweet theory.”

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