Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine want to make sure their theater audience know that their new film "Bernie" is based on a true story.
"Can I just make a quick announcement to anyone watching this broadcast?" Black asked OnTheRedCarpet.com in a recent junket interview for the film. "This is a true story - that will help."
"Bernie," which is slated to hit theaters on April 27, with a wider release on May 4, is based on the true story of mortician and convicted murderer Bernhardt Tiede (Black), who confessed to killing a wealthy 81-year-old widow named Marjorie Nugent (MacLaine) in 1996. Prior to admitting the crime, however, Bernie tried to convince everyone that she was still alive.
In addition to actors like Matthew McConaughey and Veronica Orosco, the film contains clips of actual townspeople who knew the real Bernie, who murdered Nugent in Carthage, Texas in 1996.
"Most of them were real people who knew Bernie and knew the whole thing and weren't actors, but there were also some actors mixed in there," Black said of the cast.
In order to make the dark comedy, Black met with Tiede, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1997. The actor said that his real-life counterpart said there had been no "hanky panky" between him and the widow.
Black said he did not discuss Tiede's sexual preferences during their discussion. According to the Amarillo Globe News, upon the arrest of the charismatic mortician, police found video tapes of him "engaging in homosexual acts" with local married men.
"It helped immensely [to meet Bernie] - just to hear him talk and watch his behavior and to ask him a few questions about his life," Black said. "Those things are big when you're playing a real person."
Meanwhile, it seems like Black and MacLaine had a little love affair of their own, bonding on set.
"When Shirley comes to the set, she comes with her legend but also with an incredible energy," Black said of his co-star. It was a joy every morning to get to work with you."
"It really was fun," MacLaine agreed. "That's what was great about Rick, he let us do our improvisational interaction. God, I don't know what would have happened if I had been working with... who is that terrible comedian in Vegas? If I had been working with him, it would have been a drama, not a comedy."
Watch a trailer for "Bernie" below.
Reporting by Cari Skillman of KABC Television, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com that also produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet"(check for local TV listings).