Cover Story

'School''s In

Rollin' with ''Rock'''s wild man, Jack Black -- With his new, surprisingly family-friendly flick, ''The School of Rock,'' the class clown becomes a Hollywood superstar

Jack Black | JACK BLACK SLEPT HERE He eats pizza for breakfast, stays up all night, and likes to hang out in his underwear. Meet Hollywood's new leading…
Image credit: Jack Black Photograph by Michael Lewis
JACK BLACK SLEPT HERE He eats pizza for breakfast, stays up all night, and likes to hang out in his underwear. Meet Hollywood's new leading man
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He's said in the past that he cares less about being a movie star than being a rock star, calling the latter career path ''the one that I secretly love more.'' But after ''School of Rock,'' Jack Black doesn't think that way anymore.

Black is certainly spewing ammo in this month of ''Rocktober,'' to use the 34-year-old's mock-hipster terminology. ''There's no escaping me,'' he grins, proud to unleash a double dose of rock & roll spirit on the populace. But will both blasts be equally powerful, as Black hopes?

Fire one is definitely a direct hit: ''School of Rock,'' a formulaic, high-concept studio comedy that Black, along with screenwriter Mike White (''Chuck & Buck,'' ''The Good Girl'') and director Richard Linklater (''Dazed and Confused,'' ''Waking Life''), has given a deliciously unformulaic spin. The bull's-eye is both financial -- a $20 million No. 1 opening -- and critical, with praise nearly unanimous for Black's performance as a plugged-in Peter Pan. In the movie, Black -- previously known for his crazed-frat-boy roles in ''High Fidelity'' and ''Shallow Hal'' -- plays Dewey Finn, a wannabe lead guitarist and singer who gets kicked out of his own band, then scams his way into a substitute-teaching job to pay the bills. He thereupon transforms a class of prep-school fifth graders into a rocking ensemble and leads them to a hardcore Battle of the Bands competition against grown-up contenders.

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