Jack Black & Shirley MacLaine Join Richard Linklater's 'Bernie'
It seems like the past few years have seen director Richard Linklater being "dazed and confused" by the shelving of That's What I'm Talking About (his unofficial sequel to Dazed and Confused) and Liars A-E, a story following some girls on a road trip to President Obama's inauguration. But now it looks like Linklater may finally have a follow-up to Me and Orson Welles, the drama ambitiously led by Zac Efron. A month ago, Linklater revealed he was working on a Fargo-esque true crime story called Bernie. Now an extras casting call from Short Film Texas (via BleedingCool) reveals Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine will be starring.
Linklater's Bernie is a dark comedy about a fussy, but beloved assistant funeral home director as well as the town’s domineering "grande dame" who just happens to be a very rich 81 year-old widow. But I'll let Texas Monthly explain why this relationship goes awry and why this project sounds quite interesting:
This past August, however, Carthage captured the attention of the entire country when the news broke that the town's richest and snootiest widow, 81-year-old Mrs. Marjorie Nugent, had been found in the bottom of a large freezer in her home. What made the story peculiar was that Mrs. Nugent had been dead for almost nine months before people began searching for her. What made the story truly bizarre was the way many of the townspeople rallied around the 39-year-old man who had admitted to killing her and stealing her money — the soft-spoken, chubby-cheeked Bernie Tiede, the former assistant funeral director at Hawthorn Funeral Home who had gotten close to Mrs. Nugent when he supervised her husband's funeral.
Frankly I'm surprised the Coen Brothers didn't grab this story but there you have it. If anything, this is good news simply because Linklater is getting back in the director's chair, not to mention that the director worked wonders with Jack Black in School of Rock, a truly fantastic family comedy. This time around Black will have to be much more subtle and put on his big boy pants to star opposite the legendary Shirley MacLaine. As for the rest of the actors (including extras called for at Short Film Texas) Linklater says, "I’m trying to make as authentic a portrayal of small town East Texas life as possible, so I’m looking for the real deal – funny and interesting folks." So check out that casting call, and if you're from the area, maybe you could be an extra.