Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Jack

So Jack Nicholson is 70. Wow. He's the daddy, an absolute hero in just about every respect, a man of devillish performances both on and off screen. His characters have touched me many times and once, I nearly touched him.

When he was doing Batman, which was filmed in England, a large part was shot in the St Pancras Hotel, now being refurbed as urban lofts to adjoin the new Eurostar terminal. He stole the film as The Joker and one day was swanking about the set, smiling and looking for fun. He wandered into the extras room, where the guys who earn downwards of $100 a day were playing cards. Jack swaggered in, his broad grin fixed in place, and flopped down onto one of the chairs.

As he swung his legs up onto the desk and crossed them, talking to no-one in particular but addressing the entire room, he attempted a little camaraderie.
"Ah well" he began, "Another day. Another Fifty thousand dollars".

He was wearing The Joker's costume - a double breasted purply lilac number - which was knocked up for the wardrobe department by the late great Tommy Nutter, Savile Row's rock and roll tailor who at the time was also kitting me out in more sober attire. As an act of generosity Tommy let me touch the suit one day. Thankfully Mr Nicholson wasn't wearing it at the time, otherwise life might have suddenly taken a very different course, but as a piece of fandom it always struck me as worthwhile. Although having seen him a couple of times in Los Angeles restaurants since I've never felt the need to go up and say "Hey Jack! I touched your pants one day!" Doesn't quite do it for me that line.

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