The Crazy True Story Behind Jack Black’s New Movie

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The new movie "Bernie"

There’s a movie coming out called “Bernie,” and while it’s about a con artist, it has nothing to do with Bernie Madoff. And while it involves concealing someone’s death, it’s not a remake of “Weekend at Bernie’s,” either.

The film, directed by Richard Linklater, is based on a true story so crazy it couldn’t possibly not become an indie movie: In a small East Texas town in the early ’90s, a gay mortician (Jack Black) befriends a wealthy, elderly, very mean widow (Shirley MacLaine). Eventually, he murders her, keeping her death a secret while spending all her money.

In an excellent New York Times Magazine piece last weekend, the nephew of the dead woman, Joe Rhodes, wrote about the project, confirming the authenticity of most of it (He did denote that the prosecuting attorney character, played by Matthew McConaughey, wasn’t nearly as handsome as McConaughey in real life.)

Here’s the trailer:

Linklater likens the film to an “East Texas ‘Fargo,'” but it reminded me more of the sadly underseen “I Love You Philip Morris” from 2010, a completely insane true-crime comedy/thriller that starred Jim Carrey as a gay con artist and serial prison escapee and Ewan MacGregor as his lover. “Bernie” arrives later this spring.



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