Tuesday, November 20, 2007


"To me, it didn't seem that much of a leap," says Noah Baumbach, about casting Jack Black -- the farcical doofus of Tenacious D and Nacho Libre -- opposite Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh in the crackling serio-comic family study, the great, unsettling, Margot At the Wedding.

"I understand how people, obviously, with Jack, bring certain expectations," says writer-director Baumbach, who nonetheless sensed that Black was his man to play Malcolm, a deadbeat quasi-songwriter who's engaged to marry Leigh's character, Pauline. And who almost immediately rubs Kidman's Margot -- Pauline's somewhat estranged sister -- the wrong way.

"He was the first person I thought of, in a way," says Baumbach. "I had met him — he had gotten in touch with me after The Squid and the Whale. We had lunch, he, Mike White and I had lunch. I just really liked him, there was a real sweetness about him that I connected to. And so when I was thinking about Malcolm, I wanted somebody who was funny and from Margot’s perspective could seem like not up to par, but at the same time that within this resigned, somewhat irritable quality that Malcolm has, that he would bring this gentleness to the role. And Jack was great. I love his performance."