• December 8th, 2006

    Sexual vitality is one of the reasons that I'm lively

    Sexual vitality is one of the reasons that I'm lively That was Jack Nicholson, turning 70 next year, sharing the formula for his joie de vivre and longevity. Wearing his trademark dark glasses and that grin (or smirk, depending on how you look at it), Jack was in a mood to talk one recent afternoon in LA. “My answers are very long,” he admitted. “I’ve been up in my house alone for a while so I’m a bit talkative.”

    “A bit talkative” was an understatement. The winner of three Oscars and five Golden Globes gave such a long answer to my question on turning 70 that I was afraid his reply would take up the whole time allotted to the press con. “I’m never finished,” he quipped to one reporter who had asked if he was done replying to her question.

    After replying lengthily to another question, he admitted, to much laughter, “I don’t even [remember] what the question was.” He was very animated. He could have gabbed on and on and no one would mind. After all, how often do you hear that voice (hoarser than usual that afternoon) in person? Although we do see the rabid Lakers fan at his ringside seat whenever we watch his favorite basketball team at the Staples Center.

    Nicholson, one of this generation’s greatest actors, is probably also one of the few men in America who still carry a handkerchief. He wiped his nose with a hankie several times during the interview.

    Back to the subject of “sexual vitality,” This was part of his discourse: “Physical and sexual vitality is one of the reasons that I’m lively. I noticed the other day that the LA Times agreed with me -- more sex, not less, as you get older.”

    Ladies’ man

    Known to be quite a ladies’ man, Jack has been linked to such women as actresses Anjelica Huston and Lara Flynn Boyle. His daughter with actress Rebecca Broussard -- Lorraine Nicholson, 16 -- was named by our group as this year’s Miss Golden Globes. Given to daughters of Hollywood folks, the title has been bestowed to Laura Dern, Melanie Griffith and Linda Evans who grew up to become actresses themselves.

    Jack also has a son with Rebecca -- Raymond Nicholson. With set designer and actress Sandra Knight, he has another daughter -- Jennifer Nicholson -- who gave Jack his first grandson, Sean, in 1996. “Gramps still disturbs me a little,” he said of his new title. “I’ll admit that one.”

    Guaranteed part of the Jack Nicholson lore was the instance when a Time magazine researcher, who was helping prepare a 1974 cover story on the actor, revealed that the woman whom Jack had always thought was his older sister was actually his mother. And the one he grew up knowing as his mother turned out to be his grandmother.

    When a reporter asked him to comment on his old quotes like, “You only lie to two people in your life -- your girlfriend and the police. Everyone else you tell the truth to (Vanity Fair, 1994),” he quipped, “Imagine a man silly enough to say that in public. Nobody in his right mind would want to be defined by it (that statement), certainly not if they have a girlfriend. But I know it’s good copy.”

    Also good copy was how unpredictable he was in Martin Scorsese’s Best Picture forerunner, “The Departed,” a movie he almost ran away with. But the equally fine performances of his younger co-stars, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg prevented Jack from stealing all the scenes. In our interviews with Leonardo and Matt, both talked about how Jack surprised them with props like a sex toy or gun, or a burning piece of paper during their scenes with him.


    Asked to comment about his on-camera unpredictability, Jack cited another icon. “Marlon (Brando) was pretty unpredictable when I worked with him,” he said. “We didn’t know what he was going to do next. What they talk about in most acting classes is that what gives a performance a smack of reality is when it has that same quality that life has -- unpredictability.”

    Buzzed about as a lock-in for many nominations during this awards season, “The Departed” is the first time Jack and Martin Scorsese worked together. Why it took them so long to gift us with a collaboration is a puzzle but here’s wishing they will make up for lost opportunities and team up again as soon as possible.

    Asked for his opinion on why American cinema is not shy about showing violence (there’s plenty of it in “The Departed” since it’s about the Irish mob and it’s directed by Martin) but coy about sex scenes, the actor replied, “There’s a paradox in the sense that you have to accept what’s real -- that a movie audience is more uncomfortable watching sex than violence.”

    Acting thin

    Is there anything that this brilliant actor cannot do? “While I can do a lot of things, I can’t act thin,” he said with a laugh, recalling his initial rejection of Warren Beatty’s idea to cast him as playwright Eugene O’Neill (who was slim) in the latter’s film, “Reds.”

    We were originally scheduled to talk to Jack in New York but a salivary gland ailment landed him in the hospital and prevented him from flying. He graciously rescheduled a press con in LA. This last confinement seemed to have given him a new perspective on aging and mortality.

    “I always felt it was my job to be peppy and upbeat,” he said. “Well, during my last stay in the hospital, when I walked past all those quiet men in their rooms, I had a very different attitude.”

    In answer to my question on turning septuagenarian in April next year, the actor who appeared in “Easy Rider,” portrayed acid trips on-screen and had his share of that wild life said, “I’m very proud to have lasted as long as I have. I think very few people are that fortunate.”

    When the subject of a contemporary, Dustin Hoffman, was brought up, Jack declared, “Survivors, he (Dustin) calls us.”

    He added, “I’m lucky -- let’s say that. And I’m aware that I’m lucky.”

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(4285 views / 1 replies)
patrick - Saturday, 9th Dec 2006 @ 19:19

you has completely reason and I hope that will continue. do not change!!!!!!!

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