Is Jack Nicholson Really Retired? Director James L. Brooks Doesn’t Think So

The actor’s last role was 13 years ago in Brooks’ “How Do You Know?”

during the NBA All-Star Game 2018 at Staples Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Jack Nicholson hasn’t acted since James L. Brooks’ 2010 feature “How Do You Know,” but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of people who would love to see him on the big or small screen again. Those people include Brooks, who famously worked with the actor previously on the 1983 film “Terms of Endearment” (and secured him an Oscar. In a recent interview with TheWrap celebrating the 40th anniversary of “Terms,” the director said he doesn’t believe Nicholson is retired.

“I don’t think he’s retired,” Brooks said. “I don’t buy that he’s retired.”

“I remember there was once a friend of mine who one of these raging, alcoholic-driven arguments [with me] about who was the greatest actor at the time,” Brooks said. “This was at Dustin Hoffman’s height and everything like that. I’m saying Jack Nicholson. He’s saying Dustin Hoffman.”

“I went with him because I said Jack could play either in ‘The Odd Couple,” he said.

Nicholson was not originally meant to star in the film. Burt Reynolds was originally slated to play the role of Garrett Breedlove. After he dropped out, Debra Winger gave the script to Nicholson. “We never would have gotten Jack without Debra, who got him to read the script,” said Brooks. “She was the world’s greatest associate producer.”

Nicholson has never officially retired. In early November, producer and good friend of the actor Lou Adler told the “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast that these days, Nicholson is “doing whatever he really wants to do.”

Brooks went on to say that “Terms of Endearment,” focused on the life of a mother and daughter who experience ups and downs in life, is a movie of a different time. “I don’t think it has any pretension to be anything but what it was at that time,” he said. But that’s not to say the shoot was easy. The film has famously been cited as have a contentious production, specifically with Winger and actress Shirley MacLaine not getting along.

“There was passionate stuff happening,” Brooks said. “There were moments that were embattled. There was shots going on, you didn’t know what it was about, you’re trying to get the pages. But it was miracle casting.”

“Terms of Endearment” is now available on 4K DVD and Blu-ray.


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