Jack Black said that what inspired him to work on "The Big Year" wasn't necessarily the comedic opportunity to play a passionate bird watcher, but the film's dealings with the competitive spirit of mankind.
"What drew me to the story and to the script was the intense competitive nature of man, even in something as seemingly insignificant and as small potatoes as bird-watching," Black said in an interview provided by Fox 2000 Pictures. "The stakes are so low -- there's no money in it, there's no glory or fame really but to be the best, there's something very funny about that and it just seems to be a tiny microcosm of the plight of man. Something resonated in that silly little endeavor."
"The Big Year," which opened in theaters on October 14, follows three men on the same bird-watching path -- a quest to find the most species of birds in North America during a prestigious annual event. Stu Preissler (Steve Martin) is a New York businessman trying to pursue his lifelong passion before it's too late, Brad Harris (Jack Black) is looking for a purpose and Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) just wants to keep his winning spot.
The 42-year-old actor, who most recently portrayed a computer-animated panda in "Kung Fu Panda 2," was also really excited to go on location for the film, which brought the actors to Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens, Osoyoos and Tofino in British Columbia, Canada and to Yukon, Canada.
"We had some incredible locations on this movie and it's always great to be out of the studio and in the actual environment that you're supposed to be in, as opposed to a studio, where there's a painted background or a green screen," Black continued. "It makes it easier -- you don't have to imagine that you're in a place. Also, it's just nice to be in beautiful places."
The film was directed by David Frankel, who is best known for his work on "Marley & Me" and "The Devil Wears Prada."
"David Frankel approached me about this movie years ago. He had the book and he really wanted to make the movie, he had the script and I said, 'I'm in. I love your work and this movie is really funny and cool' and then I didn't hear from him for about three years," Black said. "I thought, 'What ever happened to that movie? Oh well. I wish it would have happened, that would have been cool.' And then all of a sudden, he called and said, 'The movie's on, we're doing it next month. You gotta get ready, pack your bags.' And I said, 'Whoah, whoah, whoah. I'm not ready! I didn't memorize! Okay!' But that's the way it happens in this biz, when all the planets align, you've gotta go now!"
Black is known for his work in films like "Kung Fu Panda," "The School of Rock," "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," "Year One," "Gulliver's Travel," "Tenacious D," "High Fidelity," "Nacho Libre" and "Shallow Hal."
Black married musician Tanya Haden in March 2006. The couple has two sons, Samuel Jason, 4, and Thomas David, 3.
Black recently starred in the music video for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' "Senator." Malkmus is also the front man for the popular '90s band Pavement. In the video, Black portrays a cocaine-addicted cad of a politician (Watch it here).
Watch a trailer for "The Big Year" below.