Jack Nicholson Interview
Jack Nicholson is the guy that every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with. Most people have lost count of his Oscar winning films and to guess the number of women he’s had would keep a team of mathematicians busy for weeks. But when you actually meet Nicholson the man, he is completely removed from the bad boy, egomaniac image that he’s been given by the media. Geoff Bartlett spoke with the one and only Jack.
Geoff Bartlett: The director of one of your films, As good as it gets” was James Brooks. He is also a creator of the TV show, The Simpsons. Any chance you might make an appearance on the show?
Jack Nicholson: No, I’ve got my jacket and that’s all I want.
GB: One of your co stars in that film was a dog. How’d you two get along?
JN: Actually, it’s kind of fun working with dogs. They’re very unpredictable. If you can get the trainer to back off a little bit, they give you a lot to react to.
GB: You were in the acting business for a while before you started cracking the choice roles. Was that frustrating?
JN: After the fact it is, yeah. You tend to sit around with a certain amount of venomous jealousy toward people who are going by you. But then you watch them slide back after about two years, and you learn what they did wrong, and I think that maybe gave me some solid footing.
GB: These days though you get offered every role under the sun. Was there ever a screen role you always wanted to play but didn’t get?
JN: Oddly enough, I always wanted to do the film “Sabrina”. I was saving that up for my middle age, if I still qualified. I thought it was one of Bogart’s best characters. In fact that did scare me a little bit, that a younger guy like Harrison (Ford) snuck between me and it.
GB: You never have to make another film again if you don’t want to. Is it hard to find a reason to keep doing them?
JN: It’s seasonal for me. I thought to myself ‘I’ve had two years off, maybe that’s it.’ But then a film like this (As good as it gets) comes to you. It’s rare, and it’s very exciting. But I know I can’t play Greg’s (Kinnear) parts any more, no matter how commercially interesting they may be.
GB: It’s common knowledge that you’re fanatical about the LA Lakers. Would you swap your acting career for one playing in the NBA?
JN: No, no way. What I do is much easier work.
GB: Jack, the multitudes are screaming to see you in another Batman flick. Any chance?
JN: Well, now that they’ve run this billion dollar industry into the ground, I think they may be ready to come back around.
Jack’s Top Films
1. EASY RIDER: comes alive with the electrifying entry of Nicholson. “You boys don’t look like you’re from this part of the country.” Nicholson’s sardonic, irreverent performance put Hollywood on notice.
2. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST: Jack’s first Oscar. Nicholson enters an asylum to avoid a jail sentence and becomes an inspiration to his fellow patients.
3. FIVE EASY PIECES: Jack shows his sensitive side as a virtuoso keyboard muso who tosses away his career to work on an oil rig. The film also contains Nicholson’s now immortal “chicken salad sandwich” scene.
4. THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK: Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Cher try to conjure up their perfect man using sorcery and get more than they bargained for. The role Jack said he was born to play.
5. CHINATOWN: Superb mystery with Nicholson as a sleazy private eye caught up with a classy dame in a complex murder case in 1930’s Los Angeles.
6. AS GOOD AS IT GETS: Jack is brilliant as the obsessive compulsive, romance novelist who can create true love on the page, but pisses everyone off in real life. Female fan: “How do you write women characters so well?” Jack: “I think of a man, then I take away ‘reason’ and ‘accountability’.”
This interview first appeared in Ralph Magazine.