For our 40th anniversary, the editors of Rolling Stone have interviewed twenty artists and leaders who helped shape our time. We’ve been debuting exclusive audio clips from the Q&As, giving you unparalleled access to some of the most important personalities in history.
Today we present the coolest man alive, three-time Oscar winner and legendary lothario Jack Nicholson. A rare breed of actor, Nicholson is the kind of guy whose actual persona is even bigger than the iconic characters he’s played, whether he was the maniacal Jack Torrance in The Shining, The Joker in Batman or Jake Gittes in Chinatown. He’s also probably the only non-blind person who can pull off wearing sunglasses indoors. In his interview with David Wild for our 40th anniversary issue, Nicholson reminisces about the 1960s (what he can remember), his ten favorite songs, hanging out with neighbor Marlon Brando and dropping acid. We bring you three excerpts from that interview, and for the entire no-holds-barred chat with Jack, pick up your copy of the issue, on stands now.
In the ’60s, Jack hung out with the Beatles and Bob Dylan. He just doesn’t remember it: “I saw this documentary with a scene of me and the Beatles out in Malibu, and I just couldn’t remember it. Of course, I could tell from the film I was a bit loaded — no doubt about that…”
Jack, the notorious Casanova, will fight for his right to party: “Free love is usually the root and the vitality of the movement. Once you deny that normal, simple, organic sexual flow, the country is going to move right…”
When it comes to talking politics, Nicholson is Switzerland: “I’m one of the actors who’s not ashamed of only being an actor…I don’t have a place to put my toe in here. I’m incapable of hating a president of the United States.”
Check back tomorrow for another installment of our twenty-part audio interviews, featuring some of the most iconic and influential pop culture figures of the last 40 years. Want a hint at tomorrow’s interviewee? What former presidential candidate said this about our current president:
“He’s terribly incompetent in managing the ship of state. He doesn’t know where to begin — Karl Rove and Dick Cheney are calling the shots. I don’t think he has a glimmer of reality on the big issues before the country: global warming, the escalating arms race, the war, the environment, education. He’s a disaster…”