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Actress Shirley MacLaine is taking on a role unlike any role she has played before.
MacLaine, 78, is set to play Marjorie Nugent, a mean and spiteful millionaire widow, in a new independent film entitled Bernie. Reuters reports that Bernie, which co-stars Jack Black, centers around the new-found friendship between Black and MacLaine. Black plays the town's beloved funeral director, based off a true story, Bernie grows tired of Marjorie’s bitter, spiteful ways and shoots her. In turn, the town rallies to Bernie’s defense because of the town’s distain towards Marjorie.
Black spoke of playing Bernie on the Today show. He explains, “It's heavy, but you know, we were pushing the envelope," he said. "We're going some places no one's gone before. And the truth is inside every story, no matter how dark, there's always going to be some kernel of comedy, I think. There's always a funny angle you can take on any story."
In order to fully take on the role of Bernie, Black headed to prison to meet the real life Bernie, who was convicted of the murder back in 1996. Black says of going to prison, "It was scary…I've never been to prison before, and there's a lot of rough customers, as you would expect -- a lot of face tattoos, a lot of violence behind the eyes. But the craziest part was just seeing Bernie there, because he's just such a soft, gentle guy. He doesn't really fit there and it was quite surreal."
How does MacLaine feel about playing Marjorie? She tells the Reuters, “Everybody hated her. I think she would drive Mother Theresa to murder. I loved experimenting with being absolutely horrifically irascible. I loved it like I loved it in Steel Magnolias. Maybe I'm rehearsing for my older age, but to me it's funny."
Bernie hits theaters this Friday. Check out the trailer below: