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News movies & tv series 03 July 2024, 03:39

“What If I Can't Get Back to Me?” Jack Nicholson Was Terrified by The Role for Which He Was Nominated for An Oscar

Jack Nicholson was terrified because of his one role. So much so that he began to fear that after it, he would no longer be who he once was.

Source: About Schmidt, Alexander Payne, New Line Cinema, 2002

Jack Nicholson has played all sorts of roles, including even a psychopath. But this wasn’t the one that made the actor terrified at the thought of playing it. No, such feelings were triggered by something else, namely how he must have looked playing the character in the 2002 film About Schmidt.

The actor, looking at himself in the mirror, began to fear that he would be stuck in the role and be as dishevelled for the rest of his life as the Warren Schmidt he played – a newly retired man who can't cope with this less active stage of life.

Nicholson shared his concerns during an interview for Irish Independent.

I really got myself into a mess for that picture as well and every day I would look into that mirror and think, terrified: “What if I get stuck in this character? What if I can't get back to me?” Then, I guess I have always looked kind of extreme up there. In my whole career there was only one time when a director said to me: “OK, come right down the pike and just look beautiful, Jack.” That was Ken Russell on Tommy.

Despite the actor's fears, it doesn't look like this happened. Nicholson hasn’t remained a neglected old man either in private or on screen, having had the chance to play the charismatic Edward Cole in 2007's The Bucket List.

And his dedication to his role in About Schmidt paid off for him – as it earned him another Oscar nomination in the Best Leading Actor category. Although he didn't win the award, the nomination itself is quite an appreciation of what he did as the neglected Warren Schmidt that terrified him.

Edyta Jastrzebska

Edyta Jastrzebska

A graduate of journalism and social communication as well as cultural studies. She started at as one of the newspeople in the films department. Currently she oversees the Gamepressure movie&TV newsroom. She excels in the field of film and television, both in reality-based and fantasy themes. Keeps up with industry trends, but in her free time she prefers to watch less known titles. Has a complicated relationship with popular ones, which is why she only gets convinced about many of them when the hype around them subsides. Loves to spend her evenings not only watching movies, series, reading books and playing video games, but also playing text RPGs, which she has been into for several years.