He is the highest paid actor of all times. With three Academy Awards and 12 nominations as best actor he holds the record amongst his male colleagues. An international star whose career started on a theatre stage and whose life is all but ordinary.
He grows up in a strictly catholic household. The woman who little Jack believes to be his sister, is actually his mother and had born him out of wedlock. His supposed mother, on the other hand, is in fact his grandmother, and tries very hard to protect the family‘s reputation. Only in 1974 a Times Magazine reporter reveals the family’s secret to Jack Nicholson.
The young rebel and class clown is enthusiastic about acting from a young age on. He performs in high school plays and with 17 moves to Hollywood to live with his sister, who actually is his mother and who makes a living as a show girl. Due to his talent in drawing he gets hired as an animation artist.
But his real passion remains acting. With his salary he pays for acting lessons, which he takes in his spare time. Finally, in 1958, he scores his first acting part
in ‚The Cry Baby Killer‘. Throughout his career he will play various other psychopaths, in films like ‚The Shining‘ (1980) and ‚Batman‘ (1989) that will make him world famous. But his acting career starts slowly. He is almost at the point of giving up.
A fist fight between director Dennis Hopper and the actor Rip Torn, who gets fired as a consequence, finally helps Nicholson to break through. He gets Rip Torn’s part in ‚Easy Rider‘ (1969). A star was born.
Suddenly a Hollywood without Jack Nicholson is no longer imaginable. He wins his first Academy Award in 1975 as best leading actor in ‚One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest‘. His Grin is his trademark.
Nicholson was not only famous for his movies but also for his wild parties and numerous affaires. He drank, he smoked, he took drugs, he had five children with four women. One affair followed the next and he became known as ‚Jack the Jumper‘. In 1994 he batters a car with a golf club in a blaze of anger.
On the occasion of Nicholson‘s 80th birthday, this documentary aims to show his life beyond Hollywood. It is the story of a lonely star that wrote film history.