Nick Nolte appears in the January issue of GQ with a long, rambling interview that discusses all matter of drug-related subjects and his run-ins with the law. The man just might be flat out insane after his many years of “liquid ecstasy” (which he habitually mixed with cranberry juice) use, but he’s winning much praise as a possible Oscar contender for Warrior, which sees him portray an alcoholic father and a man who’s a thousand days sober. Here are a few excerpts from the interview (which might be worth pursuing in full), within which Nolte reveals his life experiences and drops a few details of what we didn’t know about his wild-man “mug shot” that is proudly displayed on his own website, NickNolte.com:
On Aging: “When you start thinking about death more than sex, you know you’re getting old. At 70, you crest that hill. In the sixties you’re still thinking you could do something about this slow disintegration of the body. As Katharine Hepburn used to say to me: ‘Aging, Nick, is boring.’ Now I know what she means.”
On His Big “Return” In Warrior: “All of a sudden, it’s this rediscovery thing.” Nolte says this quite amiably, in the accepting tone of a man who has watched such tides go in and out long enough to know what little influence he has over their motions. “I never went away, you know,” he shrugs.
On The Value Of Not Winning “You don’t learn anything from success. You know, it’s comfortable, it’s nice, it’s warm, but success just leaves you kind of feeling a little bloated.”
On Whether He’d Like An Oscar “I can’t say it doesn’t matter to me…,” he says, and leaves this hanging there for a moment. “But it doesn’t matter to me. I can’t say that, but that’s what I’m going to say. Because it doesn’t really matter in the final end. Especially as you get closer to death, it really doesn’t matter. If I do have a chance to get it, I’d like it to be before I’m ten days to death. Because that’s going to be an ugly picture.”
On His Infamous Wild Man Photo: The common misconception about the freak-haired-wild-man photo taken that day is that it was Nolte’s police mug shot. It was not. (He did pose for a mug shot, but that has never leaked.) At the hospital where Nolte was taken for a blood test, a young officer asked him if he could take a Polaroid. “I said, ‘Come on, you don’t really want to ask that, do you?’ ” Nolte recalls. But he did. Nolte figured that the officer had been talking to the others about how this might be worth having, and so Nolte made him agree that, if he posed, the young officer would share any proceeds with his colleagues. “And I let him shoot the Polaroid.”
On Becoming A Father Again At Age 66: “You’re just so much more aware, so much more present. Your time is precious now. I’m basically overall healthy, but at this age you just don’t know, so it’s really been a treat. A real joy.” Sophia was born in a water pool in the bedroom right here, three midwives in attendance, and spent her first forty minutes resting on top of her mother before the umbilical cord was cut. “If you can let her stay attached for a long time, those stem cells build up,” Nolte explains. “We didn’t see a doctor until the next day. It was a great experience.”
The guy is as nutty as a pot-laced fruitcake, right? He’s got a known history of studying his own blood under a microscope and readily admits that he’ll one day take GHB again (but only if it’s “medically supervised“), and that thing about the umbilical cord stem cells building up, well, it sounds wacky, to be honest. Does anyone know if there’s something to that theory?
Here are some recent photos of Nolte on the set of Gangster Squad. You thought it was just some Ryan Gosling movie, right?
Photos courtesy of GQ and Fame