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Legends: Nicholson's Wisdom, Marley's Reggae Life, TV vs. Film for Femme Superheroes

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood February 3, 2011 at 8:46AM

- Jack Nicholson sat down with The Daily Mail's Louise Gannon, who calls him, at 73, "a man who remains implacably resistant to rules." He mostly talked about aging and women: "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."
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Thompson on Hollywood


- Jack Nicholson sat down with The Daily Mail's Louise Gannon, who calls him, at 73, "a man who remains implacably resistant to rules." He mostly talked about aging and women: "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."

Of acting then and now (in his latest, the critically slaughtered How Do You Know), he says: "I get extremely anxious. I panic." It happens every time, but 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.’" Seven more Nicholson nuggets are below:

- Kevin Macdonald (docs One Day in September, Touching the Void, A Life in the Day and The Eagle) will direct the first authorized documentary of Bob Marley's life with executive producer (and Marley's musician son) Ziggy Marley. Both Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme (Rachel Getting Married) tried and failed a few years ago to give Marley lift off. Marley will shoot on location in Jamaica, Ghana, Japan, the UK and the US and will premiere late this year. It's been 30 years since the iconic Reggae singer's death. Macdonald says "I am grateful to the Marley family for entrusting me with their heritage." And while "What made Bob tick is probably unanswerable," the film will allows audiences to "feel that they know him a little better."

Thompson on Hollywood


- HuffPost's Scott Mendelson investigates the history of female superheros on TV vs. film. He argues that Wonder Woman is a much better fit for television because it has been "a gold mine for three-dimensional female characters for the last twenty years." He considers the successes of Marg Helgenberger on C.S.I, Mary Louise Parker on Weeds, Gillian Anderson on The X-Files, Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Jennifer Garner on Alias. Compared to Garner's Alias success, her silver screen Daredevil and Elektra were disasters and Kristen Bell's flops compared to her Veronica Mars TV hit prove Mendelson's bottom line:

"In the cinema, Wonder Woman would be held up as some kind of groundbreaking feminist standard, a big-budget superhero adventure starring a female heroine. If the theoretical film turned out to actually be good, it would be a ground-breaker of a whole different sort. The big-budget action adventure films starring women are few and far between, but the good action-adventure fantasies starring women are almost non-existent. Men get Batman Begins, Iron Man, Blade, and Men in Black. Women get Catwoman, Electra, Tank Girl, and Barb Wire. With the exception of the Alien franchise (starring Sigourney Weaver) and the handful of action pictures starring Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider, Wanted, Salt, etc), there has never been a truly female-driven action franchise, let alone a successful female comic book superhero franchise…On the big screen, Wonder Woman would be judged as a gender experiment first and a film second, analyzed within an inch of its life for its feminist qualities or lack there-of. On television, [Wonder Woman] is just one of the gals, standing with pride alongside the likes of Buffy Summers, Dana Scully, and She-Ra."

More from Nicholson:

"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."

"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."

"One of the toughest parts of aging 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."

On smoking 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 legalization."

On his $100+ million art collection: ‘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.'"

"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 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."

[Photos: Nicholson - Carlos Serrao; Original Wonder Woman Concept Sketch in a letter by illustrator Harry G. Peter to William Moulton Marston via Heritage Comics]

This article is related to: Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Hollywood, Stuck In Love, Daily Read, TV, Comics, Biopics, Action, Bloggers


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.