A HOT-DOG eating contest, beer bongs, heavy-metal karaoke: These would seem to be Jack Black’s definition of a good time, at least if you assume that the sort of vulgar, uncensored characters the actor has inhabited in films like “School of Rock” and “High Fidelity” bear some relation to who he is off-screen.
Anyone who has seen him perform as half of the debauched musical duo Tenacious D, in concert or in the HBO series about the band, knows that this wild-and-crazy guy makes Steve Martin look positively G-rated.
But on a recent night off from promoting his latest adventure, “Nacho Libre,” the $35 million comedy about the Mexican freestyle fighting sport called lucha libre, Mr. Black revealed another side.
At the organic vegetarian restaurant Real Food Daily he broke wheat-free bread with his friend, the cult screenwriter and actor Mike White. Even seitan worshipers would be hard-pressed to defend this as raucous.
Perhaps an explanation is in order. Mr. Black and his wife, Tanya Haden, a musician, were expecting a baby any minute (they have since had a boy) — hence his cellphone was at the ready.
And, for the record, he does eat meat. So that would imply the choice of restaurant came from Mr. White, a vegan. Never mind that Mr. White was suffering from food poisoning.
“I’ve been barfy all day,” he said, wincing. That didn’t stop him from ordering vegan tacos. Mr. Black, mainly concerned with eating something filling, copied that. “You can’t go wrong with Tac-o’ the Town,” he said, mocking the name of the entree and furrowing his Joker-like brows.
You’d think that these guys would be sick of tacos after the months they spent in Oaxaca, Mexico, filming “Nacho Libre,” which was released this weekend and looks poised to be this summer’s “Wedding Crashers.” Mr. Black stars as a Norwegian-Mexican priest who secretly swaps his frock for a mask, cape and tights and moonlights as a luchador — a fighter — to save the orphanage where he works. He flung his paunchy body around the wrestling ring with abandon, bravely performing most of his own stunts.
Mr. White wrote the film, along with Jared Hess, the director of “Napoleon Dynamite,” and his wife, Jerusha Hess. “Nacho” is also the first feature courtesy of Black & White Productions, the company the two friends founded after joining forces on “School of Rock,” which Mr. White wrote.
Over a vegan dessert of tiramisù and a chocolate confection that was likened to a “yummy Ding Dong,” the two discussed the reality show “Top Chef,” the online Scrabble-like game Literati and the likelihood that they would appear pretty lame if they ended the evening at a vegetarian restaurant.
Mr. Black suggested they go hot-tubbing at Splash. He was referring to a spa with themed Jacuzzi suites. Mr. White shot him an amused look.
O.K., that was obviously a joke, but what about playing Frisbee in the sculpture garden at U.C.L.A.? Or rather, in Mr. Black’s words: “Dude, you want to flip the ‘bee?”
Mr. White: “I hate exercise.”
Mr. Black: “But you don’t realize you’re running.”
Mr. White: “I’d probably still find a way to get hurt.”
They both cracked up. Alas, each had somewhere to go. Mr. Black needed to get home to his wife, who had apparently called Mr. White earlier that day to enlist him in keeping the evening under control.
And Mr. White? “I’m worried Starbucks is going to close soon,” he said, deadpan as could be. NY Times