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The Envelope Screening Series

'Bernie': Jack Black wanted real killer's blessing [Video]

December 11, 2012|By Glenn Whipp

After signing on to play the title character of his black comedy "Bernie," Jack Black wanted to meet the real-life Bernhardt "Bernie" Tiede and ask a few questions as well as win approval of sorts for the project.

In this excerpt from the Envelope Screening Series, Black talks about the two hours he spent with Tiede in the maximum-security Texas prison where he lives.

"We thought it was important to get his blessing," Black said. "When you're telling someone's life story or a part of his life story, it feels like an important part of the process. You meet the person and try to get inside their head about the events that took place."

Black said he had one pressing question (and we'll caution here that the query includes a spoiler of the movie's taken-from-the-headlines story): Why didn't Bernie leave town after murdering his close companion, 81-year-old millionaire Marjorie Nugent?

"My takeaway is that it was very similar to a husband and wife relationship that had gone bad," Black said. "They were very close friends for years before it turned sour. It's just not so easy to leave sometimes. People get co-dependent with each other, and he was too nice. I think his main problem was he couldn't leave her alone and stand up to her. He'd just turn the other cheek and over time, he just built up resentment and then he exploded. It was a classic case of temporary insanity."


The Envelope Screening Series: "Bernie"

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Glenn Whipp

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