It makes me sad that the first I'm hearing about Bernie, the new film from Richard Linklater, is less than 48 hours before it opens. Perhaps that's on me, but I have to wonder what hopes a movie has if a guy who spends all day reading movie news online hasn't even heard of it yet. In searching for images for this story, looks as if a few sites have mentioned it here and there, but so far this thing seems to have flown pretty far under the mainstream radar.
But enough of my excuse-making! Check out the trailer for Bernie, the true story of funeral director Bernie Tiede (Jack Black), who befriended an old widow before shooting her four times and sticking her corpse in the freezer, where she sat for nine months before anyone even noticed she was gone (apparently she was not a well-liked gal). Shirley MacLaine plays the doomed widow, and Matthew McConaughey and a wig play the prosecuting attorney:
What do you think? The story is based on "Midnight in the Garden of East Texas", an article Linklater read in Texas Monthly fourteen years ago. The story so fascinated the director that he actually attended the trial (which was moved to another town, essentially due to the murder suspect being too well-liked by the community). The script is by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth, the author of the original article, and The A.V. Club has a really good interview with Linklater up today, discussing the film and the case.
I'm always rooting for Linklater, and I'm damn curious to see how the docudrama style on display in the trailer plays out across the film. The big hurdle here is, alas, Jack Black, but I don't know who to blame there. Linklater's nothing if not loyal, and this could be Jack Black's The Informant! (Meaning: he does really good work in an unconventional film and no one notices.) The good news is we won't have to wait long to find out. Bernie opens April 27th.