Role Daddy: An Interview with Jack Black

By Role Mommy West Coast Correspondent, Kristin Flannery
JackBlack_autograph.jpgWhen I first met Jack Black, who was promoting his new film “Gulliver’s Travels,” I expected he’d be wild and crazy, but instead, was pleasantly surprised to find a soft spoken family man who sat down and talked about everything from playing with dolls, to paparazzi hiding in the bushes, to shooting pictures of his kids at the park.
Jack plays the lead role and serves as executive producer of Gulliver’s Travels, which opens nationwide in theaters Christmas Day, December 25. Jack has two boys, ages 2 and 4 and says he’s tried to shield them from his fame but his older son is starting to recognize his voice in movies and recently asked “does everyone know you?”
Another interesting Jack Black tidbit…he’s not embarrassed to play with dolls. I admitted that at one point in the movie I really believed he was talking to the actors playing little people. “Well, it doesn’t sound like real professional actor preparation, but I do play with a lot of toys to get ready for the giant and tiny person relationships,” says Black. “Luckily I had a bunch of toys at home, because my kids have them everywhere.”
While he had not seen any of the Gulliver’s Travels films, Black says he read the classic Gulliver’s Travels novel when he was approached about the project by John Davis. While they incorporate the theme of the book in the film, Jack shares how they worked to expand on the book’s messages. “That’s a theme that we thought would be great that’s not really in the book. Since it deals with, a giant and tiny people, we thought it would be cool to have that insecurity theme about being a small person in a big man’s world and being, insecure about being lost in the shuffle. And I think that ties in really well with kids’ insecurities about being the little guys and wanting so desperately to be big, famous heroes.”
When asked if he would choose to live in the imaginary land of Lilliput, Jack was torn, “In a way, it’s an ideal society. But, as you said, everyone takes your word as truth. That’s why he’s able to get away with making up this elaborate story about himself, because everyone just says, “Yeah, he said it. It must be true.”” But, it’s a fun place for an adventure. But, no, I wouldn’t want to live there.”
Since every kid can’t be transported to a fantasyland, is there a way that people can reinvent themselves in their own lives? Black responded “It’s always a slow journey of self-discovery. That’s what it’s all about. The reason this role resonated with me was I remember being a kid and wanting so desperately to be special and wanting to be bigger than I was.”
Now that he’s a father, Black says he consciously chooses different movie roles. He says, “I do think about it more now that I have the boys. I think about having movies that they can see, you know, in the next 20 years as opposed to having to keep it on the shelf.”
While we thought Jack Black did an amazing job in Gulliver’s Travels, he ended the interview by paying our roundtable a huge compliment. “Man, I wasn’t ready for these great questions. You guys asked some great stuff.”


More fun interviews to come…in the meantime, check out theofficial Gulliver’s Travels website for more great previews! And comment now and enter to win an autographed poster from the stars of the film!

3 Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain Over the Holidays

AmazonImage.jpgAs someone who is still trying to lose 10 pounds before Christmas Eve (not gonna happen), this article by author Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. comes just in the (Saint) nick of time. Take a look…
3 Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain Over the Holidays
By Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.,
Author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals
The holidays are a difficult time for those of us who both enjoy eating and worry about our waistlines. Chances are good that if you overindulged a bit at Thanksgiving, you are now looking ahead to the month of December with a wary eye – – only too aware of the minefield of cookie platters, holiday parties, family dinners, and gift baskets that you will have to somehow navigate.
You know from experience that you cannot get through these trying times on willpower alone. So here are three very simple and proven-effective motivational strategies for ending up in your current pant size on January 1st.
Tip 1: Acknowledge That You Probably Can’t Have Just One. According to the laws of physics, bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, unless something acts to stop them. Well, the same thing can be said about human behavior, too – – including eating.
Your actions have a kind of inertia – – once you start doing something, it often takes more self-control to stop than it does to just avoid doing it in the first place. And it gets harder to stop the longer the behavior goes on. So it’s easier to be abstinent if you stop at the first kiss, rather than letting things get hot and heavy. And it’s a lot easier to pass on the potato chips entirely, rather than just eat one or two.
Stopping before you start is an excellent strategy to keep your need for willpower to a minimum. Consider cutting out all between-meal snacking over the holidays. The fewer times you start eating each day, the less you’ll have to worry about stopping.
Tip 2: Set VERY Specific Limits. Before you get anywhere near the cookie platter, the fruit cake, or the cheese plate, think about how much you can afford to eat without over-indulging. Decide, in advance, exactly how much of any particular holiday treat you will allow yourself for dessert, or at the Christmas party.
The problem with most plans, including diet plans, is that they are not nearly specific enough. We plan to “be good,” or “not eat too much,” but what does that mean, exactly? When will I know if I’ve had too much? When you are staring at a table overflowing with delicious snacks, you are not going to be a good judge of what “too much” is.
An effective plan is one that is made before you stare temptation in the face, and that allows no wiggle room. Studies show that when people plan out exactly what they will do when temptation arises (e.g., I will have no more than 3 cookies and nothing else), are 2-3 times more likely to achieve their dietary goals.
Tip 3: Savor. Savoring is a way of increasing and prolonging our positive experiences. Taking time to experience the subtle flavors in a piece of dark chocolate, the pungency of a full-flavored cheese, the buttery goodness of a Christmas cookie – – these are all acts of savoring, and they help us to squeeze every bit of joy out of the good things that happen to us.
Avoid eating anything in one bite – – you get all the calories, but only a fraction of the taste. Also, try not to eat while you are socializing. When you are focused on conversation, odds are good that you will barely even register what you are putting in your mouth.
Eating slowly and mindfully, taking small bites instead of swallowing that bacon-wrapped scallop or stuffed mushroom whole, not only satisfies your hunger, but actually leaves you feeling happier.
And that, ideally, is what holiday feasting is all about.
© 2010 Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals
Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, is a social psychologist, educational consultant, and most recently assistant professor of psychology at Lehigh University. She has received several grants from the National Science Foundation. In addition to her work as author and co-editor of the highly-regarded academic book The Psychology of Goals (Guilford, 2009), she has authored papers in her field’s most prestigious journals.
Dr. Grant Halvorson is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and was recently elected to the highly selective Society for Experimental Social Psychology. She received her PhD from Columbia University working with Carol Dweck (author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success), and her BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
For more information please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Tomatillo Salsa Recipe from Take Back the Kitchen

P1050806.jpgIt is COLD out here in New Jersey! Sometime I like to make a spicy salsa to warm up during these freezing evenings. Add black beans and rice and dinner is served!
Tomatillo Salsa:
6 tomatillos quartered -can get at many Latin markets
1 cup cilantro leaves, washed
1/2 a jalapeno pepper or small scotch bonnet pepper
3 TBS lime juice
tsp sugar
Puree all ingredients in a food processor
For more great recipes, visit Alma Schneider at Take Back the Kitchen