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Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

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Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by Katiedot on Sun Jan 30 2011, 12:24

From: The Daily Mail

The 73-year-old Oscar-winning actor talks about everything from mortality to drugs to heartbreak
'I would love that one last romance. But I'm not very realistic about that happening,' said Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson is in a grand suite in an upmarket hotel overlooking New York’s Central Park, enjoying the view – and, in a city with some of the world’s most draconian smoking laws, his 12th cigarette of the day. At 73 years of age, he is a man who remains implacably resistant to rules.
As he says in that mesmerising, molasses-mixed-with-gravel drawl, now wreathed in smoke, ‘It’s a hard-wired thing in me. I’m not good with being told. I just immediately start resisting the situation… I overreact to having my attention directed.’

And then his face slowly breaks into the iconic Joker smile.

Nicholson is everything you expect him to be in the flesh. He smells of expensive car-seat leather and nicotine. He speaks in strange, complex riddles. He allows a 30-minute interview to run on for an hour and 40 minutes as he talks about everything from mortality to drugs to heartbreak. He is charming, fascinating, funny, strangely vulnerable and completely original in every way.

‘I’m definitely still wild at heart. But I’ve struck bio-gravity. I can’t hit on women in public any more. I didn’t decide this; it just doesn’t feel right at my age.’

He pauses to get straight to the heart of his own theory of life.

‘If men are honest, everything they do and everywhere they go is for a chance to see women. There were points in my life where I felt oddly irresistible to women. I’m not in that state now and that makes me sad.

‘But I also believe that a lot of the improvements in my character have come through ageing and the diminishing of powers. It’s all a balancing act; you just have to get used to the ride.’

Nicholson has a presence that radiates right off the Richter scale, and even a simple request for ‘water, plain water’ carries some sort of profound import that makes the waiter tremble helplessly as he pours.

His face, with those roof-shaped eyebrows, the glint in the eyes, the teeth-baring smile, calls to mind all of his most famous performances: as the manipulative McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, mad Jack in The Shining, the drunken George in Easy Rider and commitment-phobe Garrett in Terms Of Endearment.

His latest movie, the romantic comedy How Do You Know, sees him star alongside Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd as a rich, selfish tycoon who sets his son up to go to jail for a crime that he himself committed.

While most actors relish blinding others with their presence, Nicholson does not.

‘I hate it. I don’t want to be treated like the Medusa or the Lincoln Memorial. People have an idea of me which is not the reality. On set I’m an actor like every other actor. Most times, for every part I play, I can think of other actors who would be better. I worry from the moment I take a job. I worry about how I’m going to do it, if I can do it. I try to work out what I have to do on set and how I do that.

'I get extremely anxious. I panic. I can’t get it. It happens every time, and I get myself into this state, and then I walk on set and the director says, “Roll”, and all of a sudden all of it disappears and it’s all happening, and I relax and I’m doing what I do and I’m not even thinking about it. And I relax up until the moment they yell “Cut”.’

Given that he rarely gives interviews, it’s surprising he has agreed to promote a romcom which showcases the talents of others. Nicholson insists otherwise, though.

‘It’s very important,’ he says. ‘I am from a different era of movie acting. My career doesn’t depend on explosions and pyrotechnics. What I liked about this script is that the same rules apply. It hasn’t got people flying off walls and lots of guns and yelling.

'It’s a movie that’s based on a good script and good acting, and it’s supposed to move you. It’s the sort of movie I want to be a part of. In these times people need to be able to laugh.’

As he talks, the actor begins to relax. Initially he resists talking about Jack Nicholson, the legendary womaniser, drinker, drug-taker and party animal, batting off questions with responses like, ‘It’s a conceptual point of view, not always the reality’.

The day he flew into New York from his LA home, he headed straight to a private party to meet up with his old friend Keith Richards.

I remind him of Robin Williams’s joke that Nicholson is the only man in the world to whom Richards would say, ‘I have to go home now, Jack.’

He laughs.

'It’s funny, because he’d already left the party before I arrived… But contrary to opinion, however sated I got, I always looked after myself. I’ve woken up in trees, I’ve woken up almost hanging off cliffs, but I’ve always known how to sort myself out.

‘Keith would stay up seven nights in a row. I stayed up late, but I slept in late, too. I always believed in taking care of myself. There was always a discipline within my partying structure. I’ve never kept a camera waiting, and in all my career I only missed one day of work, on The Shining. I put my back out.

‘At the time I thought it was down to a scene where I had to throw this ball. In fact, the reason was that the movie was filmed in London. I loved British actors, and the fact there were these wild guys over there, and I wanted to show them what Jack the Waggle could do.

'The reality was that I was annihilated emotionally by the separation from Anjelica (Huston). That was probably the toughest period of my life'

'I wanted to work like a beast and then go out and be all over London like a fire, the wildest of the lot. I rented a house next to the Thames that had a big high wall, and I’d come home most nights without my keys and I’d climb this wall. The first time I had no memory, and the next day at work I did in my back after this ball scene.

‘A few nights later I was out again, climbing the wall, and when I landed I knew exactly how I did my back in – it was no ball.’

It’s true that Nicholson’s face doesn’t betray his past like Richards’s does. Yes, he has a hedonist’s paunch and greying hair, but he has few lines and could easily pass for a man 15 years his junior.

‘I haven’t had surgery. I don’t want to be judgemental, but some of the things you see these days in Hollywood are a bit horrifying. I mean, I don’t know what’s going on here, but I don’t want to scare people.

‘I’ve never been comfortable about surgery. I was on the receiving end of one of the very first chest augmentations. When I touched what felt like polythene, that was it. The fuse went out. Maybe it’s childish, but I couldn’t cope with it.

‘I mean, if someone can fool me with a new chest or lips, then I’m happy to be fooled. But I have to admit I have a prejudice against it. I’m not worried about wrinkles, in myself or in women. I find them interesting. I can’t see so well, so sometimes I look in the mirror and I see how I was as a young man. But a few years back I noticed I don’t have any hair below my sock line, and I thought to myself, “Jackie, that’s an old man.”’

Born in New York, he was raised as a Catholic by his grandmother, who he believed was his mother. He only discovered the truth, that his older sister June was in fact his mother, years after both had died.

‘I was raised entirely by women. My grandmother ran a beauty parlour and I spent most of my time there. She taught me manners and I learned how to be around women, what women liked. I am insanely well mannered and polite, and because of that I have nothing but gratitude for my upbringing.’

A rebel at school, after moving to Hollywood he initially worked in MGM’s animation department, but his ambition was always to act.

‘I was recruited as a mathematician after school, then I used to read law biographies, and at one point I thought about being a sports writer, but to be honest I don’t think there would have been any other job that I would be good at.’

His big break came with Easy Rider, a cult classic starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper which is infamous for its behind-the-scenes debauchery, and which brought Nicholson his first Oscar nomination (he has now been nominated for 12 Oscars, of which he’s won three).

Hopper, a fellow hellraiser who became one of his closest friends, died last year. Nicholson’s face visibly clouds as he admits to having to face up to his own mortality.

‘One of the toughest parts of ageing is losing your friends. At first it starts quietly, then pretty soon it’s every month, and you can’t help but think, “When is that bell going to go off for me?” And on top of that you feel this constant loss. At this time of life, you feel just a sword’s point from death. It’s frightening – who wants to face God and the clear white light? I know I definitely don’t. Yet.’

There’s an unexpected honesty to Nicholson which makes him entirely different to the politically correct Hollywood A-list of today. He casually throws out pronouncements like hand grenades (he worries afterwards that he has ‘probably been a bit too open’). He forged his reputation as part of the free-loving, rule-breaking hippy generation. He lives in the first house he ever bought, on Mulholland Drive, where in his younger days he hung out with Mama Cass, Jim Morrison, Warren Beatty, Joni Mitchell and Marlon Brando.

‘I bought the next two along from me and I also acquired Marlon’s house. It seems a little dinky, because people don’t get that it all functions as one house – many of the women I’ve been with have said, “Go and find a better place, find a mansion” – but it’s the best place and I love to be where I always was.’

These days the hard drugs are gone, but he continues – against the Hollywood grain – to smoke cannabis. ‘I don’t tend to say this publicly, but we can see it’s a curative thing. The narcotics industry is also enormous. It funds terrorism and – this is a huge problem in America – fuels the foreign gangs. More than 85 per cent of men incarcerated in America are on drug-related offences. It costs $40,000 a year for every prisoner. If they were really serious about the economy there would be a sensible discussion about legalisation.’

His home is stuffed with art by Matisse, Warhol, Tamara de Lempicka and Picasso; the collection is estimated to be worth over $100 million. He flicks a match to light another cigarette.

‘Now I’m at home so much more, there are these moments once in a while when I think, “Jesus, look at all that.” Those pictures actually intimidate a lot of people. I’m totally solid with the “truth is beauty/beauty is truth” idea. But if I’m around it too long I start to feel trapped in this material world. I think I mustn’t get owned by my possessions, I mustn’t fall prey to materialism. Sometimes I think, “Hell, I’m going to burn them all.”’ Again, the slow Joker smile.

Nicholson – whose lovers have included actresses and models such as Michelle Phillips, Bebe Buell, Lara Flynn Boyle, Anjelica Huston and Rebecca Broussard – was once described by the actor Peter Finch as a ‘very social loner’. It’s a surprising description for a man who has reportedly slept with 2,000 women (‘Hell, I don’t count’), yet it’s one he has come to agree with.

‘My life has changed. I don’t enjoy the things I used to so much. I don’t go out to nightclubs, I don’t like clubs any more. I don’t go out raging, looking out for women; now it’s just a game that isn’t worth the candle.

‘The last three times I’ve been in New York filming, I didn’t leave my hotel room for one single night. People won’t believe that, but it’s true. But you adjust your life to your circumstances, and I can spend a lot of time on my own. I think of myself as social, but my friends are always telling me, “Jack, you need to get out more.”’

There is nothing in his life he regrets, but one thing he yearns for. A lasting relationship with a woman.

‘I’ve had everything a man could ask for, but I don’t know if anyone could say I’m successful with affairs of the heart. I don’t know why. I would love that one last real romance. But I’m not very realistic about it happening. What I can’t deny is my yearning.

‘I’ve been in love in my life, but it always starts with obsession that lasts exactly 18 months and then it changes. If I’d known and been prepared for that, I may have been able to orchestrate the whole relationship thing better.

‘But when I’m with someone I’ve often defied every one of my conventions. I’ve been so struck I’ve said, “Come on, let’s go, let’s get married.” But no woman has ever recognised what I say as being legitimate. They think of my reputation, Jack the Jumper. I’m damned by what people think. Now I think I have a gap I won’t ever cross.’

He has five children – Jennifer, 47, from his only marriage, to actress Sandra Knight; Caleb, 40, whose mother is actress Susan Anspach; Honey, 29, the daughter of model Winnie Hollman; and Lorraine, 20, and Ray, 18, from a relationship with actress Rebecca Broussard, which ended his 16-year romance with Anjelica Huston. Nicholson says his heart was broken by Huston, despite the fact that he cheated on her (when he told her Broussard was pregnant she beat him up).

‘The reality was that I was annihilated emotionally by the separation from Anjelica. That was probably the toughest period of my life.’


Asked if he wishes he could turn back time, he shakes his head. ‘I may have made a mistake, but I don’t want to go back and correct it. I would rather deal with it.’

He clearly dotes on Ray and Lorraine.

‘They’re great. I was never what you call a hands-on sort of father, but I’m lucky my kids have turned out the way they have. Parenthood is all about being in the lap of the gods. All you can do is your best.’

He shakes his head.

‘I would never complain about my life, even though I really would like to have a mate. It’s not like I’m starved for company – I have a few very good lady friends – but there’s only a certain amount of times a woman wants to see you and never go out for dinner. I got tired of arguing with women about going to have dinners, so I hired somebody to cook. The food is better at my house.’

He laughs.

‘I had a very late eureka experience not so long ago. I was up around where I live and I looked out at the blue skies and the clouds and I realised that this was paradise.’

He leans back in his seat, stubs out his cigarette and gives a final Nicholson chuckle.

‘And that’s something pretty big to hang on to.’



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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 30 2011, 13:01

I love this man, what a great interview.

Really, I see no comparisons between him and Clooney. The big difference between him and the relationships he's had is passion, Jack has loved his women, he's vocal about it, and at least his relationships have been with 'grown-up' women for the most part. Clooney lacks all that. I've never once gotten the impression that he's cared enough about any woman in the sense that Jack describes. I love his honesty here. And I hope he gets that final lasting relationship.

I'm not sure Clooney would ever be capable of that same honesty or reflection.

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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by melbert on Sun Jan 30 2011, 15:19

You are so right Caged! As I was reading, there were moment I could replace Jack's name with George's. However, as I read along, it became evident, to me, that Jack had/has passion. We don't see that with George. I've seen Jack on a few carpets with a couple of his women, and you can see there is love. Not so much with George. I think that George truly has "liked" alot of his relationships, but I don't see love. Believe, I'm NOT an expert. Just my opinion!

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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by Lighterside on Sun Jan 30 2011, 16:22

‘I’ve been in love in my life, but it always starts with obsession that lasts exactly 18 months and then it changes. If I’d known and been prepared for that, I may have been able to orchestrate the whole relationship thing better.


‘My life has changed. I don’t enjoy the things I used to so much. I don’t go out to nightclubs, I don’t like clubs any more. I don’t go out raging, looking out for women; now it’s just a game that isn’t worth the candle.

I have a feeling that both Jack and George have the above two statements in common. I think in the last couple of years we've seen George start to slow down a little with the partying, especially this past year. And I don't think that has anything to do with Betty. I think he's slowing down a bit on his own. If anything, I bet it's a bit tiresome for Betty but that's just a guess on my part. She's still young and into the club scene when she's on her own in Italy, so being with George has got to be a bit boring I would think. But that could be just me, reflecting on myself at that age a little and projecting I guess.

But when I’m with someone I’ve often defied every one of my conventions. I’ve been so struck I’ve said, “Come on, let’s go, let’s get married.” But no woman has ever recognised what I say as being legitimate. They think of my reputation, Jack the Jumper. I’m damned by what people think. Now I think I have a gap I won’t ever cross.’


What should concern George about the future is that these stories that he never wants to get married again, which in my opinion have sometimes been strategically placed in order to get the message across to whomever about the marriage rumors will eventually backfire on him. When and if the time comes for him to actually want to marry again who's going to believe him? And who would take the chance that he wouldn't revert right back to form again? That could come back to haunt him eventually.

@ Caged, I seriously doubt that you would have gotten that kind of reflection from Jack either at George's age. Aging has that effect on people, when you see your friends dropping like flies it's pretty hard not to start reflecting at a deeper level. I would think it happens to everyone eventually.

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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 30 2011, 17:11

Lighterside wrote:@ Caged, I seriously doubt that you would have gotten that kind of reflection from Jack either at George's age. Aging has that effect on people, when you see your friends dropping like flies it's pretty hard not to start reflecting at a deeper level. I would think it happens to everyone eventually.

I'm sure that's true, but that wasn't really my point, Lighter, it was about the disparity between their lives as far as their relationships with women go. Jack's loved passionately and given it his all, and can look back on that as a life fully lived, where women were a big significant part of it. Clooney imo would not have that to look back on simply because he's never come across as having had that kind of all-embracing passion and has lived imo a 'smaller' life to reflect back on. Apart from the men I know who rate/love/value women, I look at actors like eg. Jeff Bridges, Daniel Day Lewis, Javier Bardem, Matt Damon, and Jack N here, and they all just seem that bit more rounded and interesting, not because they're happily married, but because they all acknowledge how much a good relationship and a high regard for women enhances them. I'm not sure Clooney would ever see or acknowledge that. But you know, JMO. Smile

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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by Lighterside on Sun Jan 30 2011, 17:30

I'm not sure Clooney would ever be capable of that same honesty or reflection.

Sorry Caged I should have copied the sentence above which was the only part of your post that my comment was based upon. Not your summation of Jack's life of passion and romance versus George's lack thereof. On that I would agree.

I was simply saying that at age 49 I don't think you would have gotten the same type of reflection and maybe not even the depth of honesty in assessing his life as you did at his present age and in it you're indicating that you don't think George would be capable of this at any age unless I'm misreading your statement. And of course we won't know that until George has had the chance to catch up to that age. That's all I meant.

Let's hope he's matured by then! LOL

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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 30 2011, 17:52

Lighter, yes, sorry, of course you're right on the age/reflection thing, I should have been clearer in that last sentence of my earlier post. What I meant is that I believe, because of his 'lack of passion' in that area, he would have a smaller (and poorer) frame of reference upon which to reflect!

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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by Atalante on Sun Jan 30 2011, 21:56

2000 women and now Jack can't find a mate ??? How about Diane Keaton ? Basketball

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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by playfuldeb on Sun Jan 30 2011, 22:14

The author did a great job with this article. When reading the quotes from Jack, you can hear his voice in your head as he was saying it right to you. I never realized that Jack was so sensitive. Prob bec of his reputation as a player, I thought he regarded women as trifle things. My favorite part of the article is when he said he cant see well, so when he takes off his glasses and looks into the mirror he sees a younger Jack.

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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by it's me on Sun Jan 30 2011, 22:31

obsession

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Re: Is this George's future (apart from the children bit)? Jack Nicholson interview

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 31 2011, 01:39

Insight into Jack I had never expected to read and am delighted to have found.

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