HBO TAKES BLACK TO THE BRINK
JUST the thought of Jack Black delving into the high- stakes world of Middle Eastern politics is enough to make anyone laugh. But when he starts to sell an audience of journalists on the idea, it is Hollywood heavyweight and his latest boss, executive producer Jerry Weintraub, who cracks up fi rst.
The scene is a media panel with the cast and creatives behind HBO’s new comedy series The Brink and Weintraub is giggling even before Black gets a word out, prompting the actor to ask: “What’s so funny? Did I say something? What did I do, Jerry?” who replies: “I just fi nd you funny.”
Weintraub, the man behind the Oceans’ Eleven movie franchise and The Karate Kid series, clearly saw the funny side of this project – written and directed by brothers Kim and Robert Benabib – which seeks to play for the same laughs in its fi ctional world as news satires like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart routinely skewer from the real political stage.
In The Brink, Black plays a lowlevel staff er working out of the US embassy in Pakistan who goes for glory during a tense political time, only to fi nd himself the trigger for what could be World War III.
The stellar cast also includes Tim Robbins as the over- sexed US Secretary of State, Pablo Schreiber ( The Wire) as a fi ghter pilot who tries supplementing his naval income by dealing drugs and The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi as Black’s Pakistani driver. It’s more Hogan’s Heroes than M* A* S* H, earning mixed reviews from US critics, with some arguing it misses its satirical mark.
For his part, Black says he was drawn to the script because it was “fresh and exciting”. He adds: “And I wanted to party with these guys. I had a great time, even when I was being water- boarded.”