Jack Nicholson is also “abstract” to communicate with
Tim Burton may have danced with the devil in the moonlight while filming 1989 Batman, but that doesn’t mean he understood much of what he said. While working with Jack Nicholson, Tim Burton said that the Oscar-winning actor was far from easy to communicate with on set.
In a new interview with Tim Burton in Empire, the director reflected on working with Jack Nicholson. “Jack has a very abstract way of speaking. So he’d say things to me and I’d go, ‘Yeah, I get it,’ and then I’d go to somebody, ‘What the fuck was he just talking about?’ So there was this strange communication: non-linear, non-connective…But it was very clear to me. I felt like we had a good caveman style of communication. “
However, Jack Nicholson supported Tim Burton in ways that would prove far more important. “[Nicholson] I protected and nurtured, I kept going, by just not getting overwhelmed by the whole thing. I felt really supported by him in a very deep way. I was young and dealing with a big studio, and he just quietly gave me the confidence to do what I needed to do. And he was a very supportive voice to the studio. He got me through the whole thing. It gave me strength.”
All in all, it changed to great success, like Batman went on to pull in over $250 million, making it the highest-grossing film of 1989 and one of the biggest hits of the entire decade. Jack Nicholson’s performance as The Joker in Batman certainly a major reason for this, and his turn stood for a time as the most iconic take on the character (to Heath Ledger), helping to give the franchise a much-needed reboot and foundation wider fans for the actor.
Of course, Tim Burton is not the only one who recognized the special presence of Jack Nicholson. As Michael Keaton said, “The same thing happened when I did the first one Batman yes, I was very nervous and self-conscious about being with Jack, because he’s so strong on film.” One wonders if Pierce Brosnan would have felt the same way…
What do you think of Jack Nicholson’s performance in Batman? Where does he rank on the list of best Joker actors? Let us know in the comments below!