Two weeks ago, the Internet did as the Internet does best—widely spreading around a vague report that memory issues had forced Jack Nicholson out of acting. This, it turns out, wasn't true. However, in a candid interview with Britain's The Sun on Wednesday, Jack did say that he has de facto retired, simply because he doesn't have the drive anymore to work.
"I'm not going to work until the day I die, that's not why I started this," he said. "I mean, I'm not driven. I was driven - but I'm not, I don't have to be out there any more.
"In fact, there's part of me that never really liked being out there... You get older, you change."
Jack said that the current style of popular film—the big, Michael Bay-esque, explosion-heavy movie—has never interested him. And he's not really bullshitting: Since Batman in the '80s, Jack hasn't taken the big tentpole movie roles like many of his contemporaries (Morgan Freeman, Ben Kinglsey, etc.) have cashed in on. His last movie came three years ago.
But, anyway, this is the most interesting part of the interview to me: Jack, who's now 76, said that getting old has slowed down his partying ways, which are so legendary that Keith Richards once told him to go home. (Just think about that for a second.) Nicholson even refrains from "hitting on" younger women now, saying, "There were points in my life when I felt oddly irresistible to women. I'm not in that state now, which makes me sad. Now I don't have any hair below my sock line, and that means you're getting old, Jackie boy. It comes out of my ears instead. I mean, how many times have I slashed my earlobes?"
This is something you kind of knew would happen—Nicholson isn't the guy at LIV beside Rihanna at 4 a.m.; he's long asleep by then—but, still, it feels like an end of an era. Hollywood's most famous womanizer is out of the game. And he knows it, which makes him sad.
Jack ends the interview by giving sort of the ultimate Players' Lament, something that most—okay, none—of us will be able to say about the world's most beautiful actresses.
"I would love that one last romance, a real romance, but I'm not very realistic about it happening. What I can't deny is my yearning," he said. "No woman has ever recognised what I say as being legitimate. They don't trust me. They think of my reputation, Jack the Jumper, so I'm damned by what women think."