JACK NICHOLSON (Harry):
Youve been doing a lot of comedies recently. What does comic timing mean to you?
I've been doing this long enough that I can kind of decide like a regular, other kind of artist, This is what I'm going to do, and the shock effect on me of 9/11 just made me feel immediately that I didn't want to do anything too challenging or depressing. I've done that. I just felt like I wanted to comedy. I want to uplift not only people, but myself, and once I got started with it, it's very difficult, comedy. I'm now in the Oscar Wilde school of dying is easy and comedy is difficult.
How delicate a balance is it when, as a character, you cant know what youre doing is funny, but as an actor, you do know that?
It is a delicate balance, and what you find with this movie, the guy has a brush with mortality through having a heart problem. In drama, you would play that heart problem or you'd heavily underscore the performance with it. In comedy, I found in As Good As It Gets, the more disease, the less laughs. That's why comedy is more difficult. You can look at scenes when you're doing a drama like, Maybe it works, but in comedy, when you're doing it, either it works or it doesn't. You have to keep doing it until it does, and the requirement is more. That's why, as I say, I've been studying it actually four out of the last five movies that I've done, but the last three were specifically that. I don't want to be too heavy.
How does finding love late in life resonate with you?
One of the common conversations that I have with friends of all ages, once again, particularly mid-life people, is that whatever their situation, if they're not in it, they all yearn for one more really romantic experience. That exalted, wonderful feeling that you say that you'll never do again when you're not in it, but nothing stands in the way of this. That's what I think that this refers to.
It's interesting to talk about this movie because it's hard to articulate. She's so classically simple in the way she shoots a movie, Nancy Meyers, and it's hard to describe why it's a unique movie. I know it's a unique movie because the script was so good. I almost didn't work for like two years in a row. I didn't want to work, but this was a script that I'd never seen, number one. It's a fabulous script, but I knew it was sort of what I was looking for. About Schmidt is a black comedy. Adam Sandler's picture, Anger Management is kind of antic, a goon comedy of a kind. But this is the thing, one of the things about movies that I've always liked the most. I mean, Nancy worked for Billy Wilder, one of everyone's heroes - or with Billy Wilder - and this is really what America does like no one else, and what I've always loved. I mean, these are my favorite directors.
How was working with Diane Keaton?
I've always had tremendous affection for Keaton. I think so does everyone else so there's nothing new in that. She really gives me tremendous energy working with her because like me, inside, she's pretty wild about fooling around. You can saying anything to Diane. I've told other reporters because it just sticks in your mind, but sometimes, her preparation, I'll walk up to her and she'll look me in the eye and say, You're disgusting. What? You're disgusting. And it makes you laugh. She's a very original thinker, too, as a person.
We have a past relationship of affection and like one another very much. So it makes that part of the day, the down hours, certainly that part is very interesting. She's nothing if not fascinating, and working with her, she's very unpredictable, which I like. She's very disciplined about it all. She approaches a script sort of like a play in that she has the entire script memorized before you start doing the movie, which I dont know any other actors doing that. In fact, it's almost a craft axiom that it's best if you learn it day by day and then forget it.
Whats the craziest thing youve ever done for love?
(Laughing) Well, I've made a few unexpected appearances. I've jumped through people's windows and stuff like that. I'm always afraid it will disturb someone if gifts are too extravagant, but I've thrown a few out. I've hidden on a roof.
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