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Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine Topline Linklater’s ‘Bernie’

Richard Linklater is reuniting with the lead of his 2003 comedy (The School of Rock) and has tapped Shirley MacLaine to play a wealthy widow in Bernie — a dark comedy that is currently casting stand-ins and local actors (“interesting” looking folk) for the small town setting of Huntsville, East Texas.

Richard Linklater is reuniting with the lead of his 2003 comedy (The School of Rock) and has tapped Shirley MacLaine to play a wealthy widow in Bernie — a dark comedy that is currently casting stand-ins and local actors (“interesting” looking folk) for the small town setting of Huntsville, East Texas. Jack Black would take on the role of one Bernie Tiede, who transformed the town of Carthage with his generosity and who then, to the disbelief of Carthage residents, was arrested for murder..

Bernie Shirley MacLaine Jack Black Richard Linklater

Back in June, ThePlaylist interviewed the filmmaker and found out that he was putting a decade old script he worked on back on the burner – “it’s my ‘Fargo’ in East Texas, where I group up, so it’s crazy local with fifty characters. It’s about a funeral home assistant who befriends this old lady. It’s kind of a true crime story.” While this will not come close to the excellence of Coen bros. masterwork, a follow the money trail dark comedy in a backdrop Linklater is comfortable with sounds like a winner to me.

Scripted by Linklater and Texas Monthly writer Skip Hollandsworth who wrote the original 1998 article “Midnight in the Garden of East Texas,” from which the film is based on, is about a beloved assistant funeral home director and the town’s domineering grande dame – MacLaine might just be a perfect fit for the role.  

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at IONCINEMA.com (founded in 2000). Eric splits his time between his home base in Montreal, NYC, and is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. Top 3 from 2016: Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt), Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve), Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)

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