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Jack Black Shares Thoughts On Why School Of Rock Remains Popular Nearly 20 Years Later

Jack Black playing guitar with The School of Rock band
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

It’s been nearly 20 years since audiences were taught to “stick it to the man” in The School of Rock. It is, after all, Jack Black’s top-ranked movie for a reason. But what is the reason? Jack Black shares why he thinks The School of Rock retains its popularity nearly 20 years later.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, this comedic actor shared that he thought a lot about The School of Rock while working on another Richard Linklater collaboration film, Apollo 10 ½. Even though Jack Black felt like both films were different from each other, he still believes that Apollo 10 ½ still had the same humor, genius, and realism that The School of Rock had.

I thought a lot about School of Rock while we were making this movie, because that's a Richard Linklater joint as well, and that's when we first met. He brought that same kind of realism and humor and genius to both projects. Even though they're very different movies, there's that Richard Linklater DNA.

Did you know that almost no one wanted Richard Linklater to direct The School of Rock? Because Linklater had the reputation for artsy films, Black originally did not think this Slacker director would be a good fit for what was supposed to be a summer feel-good film. Even Linklater did not think this film would be right for him. You can thank producer Scott Rudin for this collaboration, as he believed in Linklater. Rudin saw potential in him to make The School of Rock the hit it became. Clearly that was a good call.

Jack Black also shared that what also made The School of Rock so memorable nearly 20 years later was that Linklater brought out a sense of realism to the film. Since this film was about the relationships a substitute teacher has with his students, it couldn’t afford to be “wacky” funny, but funny enough to be believable. 

He's got that specific style, and what he brought to that project was just wanting it to be believable and real. Even though it's this crazy story about this substitute teacher that goes rogue and takes these kids on a rogue journey, he wanted to keep it grounded, because that's where the real juice is. When it's real relationships, it's funny in, not a wacky way, but in a way that's believable. I think that's what made that movie last so long -- we still talk it 20 years later.

There have been many attempts to continue the legacy of The School of Rock. There were originally plans for a School of Rock sequel in hopes to reboot the summer classic. Then, it turned out that The School of Rock sequel was not going to happen and that the studios were too quick to release news about a potential sequel. What did end up happening was Nickelodeon developing The School of Rock into a TV show which lasted for three seasons. It kept the same theme of Dewey Finn returning as a substitute teacher with a few changes made to the student characters. It was even a Broadway musical with music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The truth is, The School of Rock does not need any sequels or spinoffs. The classic musical comedy is memorable just the way it is. Classic rock bands were taught to a new generation of audiences with some laughs, sentimental moments, and the lesson to always rock on. But knowing Hollywood, I’m sure there will be many more attempts to follow so that The School of Rock continues on. Be sure to watch Jack Black and Richard Linklater’s animated film Apollo 10 ½ on your Netflix subscription.