It’s been a few days now since GQ published their profile of Nick Nolte, and I apologize that I wasn’t able to get to it sooner, but there’s just so much pure gold in it. Better late than never. Nick Nolte is what every celebrity should be.
First, the quote that says it all:
In his living room, next to a cage for the crow Nolte and his son recently adopted, are a basket of didgeridoos and a multitude of drums and bongos.
“Hey, shitass, put the bong back in the didgeridoo basket where it belongs. And make sure not to disturb the crow.” I cannot get enough of this visual. I like to imagine Nolte “adopted” the crow after he found it in his sock one morning.
Among other revelations are that Nolte wasn’t drunk for his infamous DUI arrest, but rather high on GHB, which he’d dissolved in some cranberry juice that he was drinking. It doesn’t say this in the story, but I like to imagine the cranberry juice was to “clean up my piss hole after I got into some bad whores.”
“They use it to make your workouts big and full. It helps volumize the muscles—it’s a known fact. I mean, I was cut and buffed and in great shape.” But as the morning progressed, he sipped a little too much. Recently that had been happening more and more often. “I was thinking about stopping,” he says.
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.
As he was talking to the doctors during the admission procedures, Nolte sipped from his cranberry juice. Just one last hit. But he overdid it, and as he spoke to them, he passed out. He woke up in a hospital bed with an uncomfortable sensation that he slowly realized to be caused by the catheter in his penis.
“Phew, I thought I was just itchy from the bad whores,” I like to imagine him saying.
Meanwhile, Nick Nolte being hardcore doesn’t just stop at his drug and alcohol tolerance. He also detailed why he and Scorsese don’t talk anymore after an incident at the 1999 Oscars, when Nolte refused to applaud Elia Kazan.
When he lost [the best actor oscar] on the second occasion, to Roberto Benigni, it was the year Elia Kazan, genius director of landmark movies like On the Waterfront but also someone disparaged for naming names during the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s, was controversially given a lifetime-achievement Oscar. Debates raged beforehand about who in the audience might not choose to applaud. Nolte knew where he stood. “And then Marty and Bob brought him out,” Nolte remembers. Scorsese and De Niro, with whom Nolte had recently made Cape Fear. “I didn’t know that they were presenting him. Not that it would necessarily change my decision.” It was said afterward that Nolte sat on his hands, though he says that he simply folded his arms. “Those that wanted to be safe,” he says, “sat in their seats and went like that [he mimes polite tepid applauding]—and you can name those guys: Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and those guys, they’re not going to get in trouble. But Ed Harris and myself, some, just weren’t going to applaud.” The consequences persist to this day. “Scorsese won’t have anything to do with me,” says Nolte. “Ever since then.”
I respect the hell out of Nolte and Ed Harris for making a statement by not applauding. But you know what would’ve made an even stronger statement? Dismissive wanking. I like to imagine Nolte at Elia Kazan’s funeral, a stern look on his face as he dismissive wanked along to that name-naming son of a bitch’s casket being lowered into the ground.
Finally, Nolte discussed the incident when he ended up at a late-night coke party with his assistant’s boyfriend during the shooting of Warrior (which we previously covered here).
And so a chain of events was set in motion, with Nolte an enthusiastic participant. “That ended up at maybe five o’clock in the morning in some Pittsburgh apartment with a guy with nose rings and big muscles and tattoos—this is another guy—a bolted door, and this big table of illegal stuff. Cocaine and booze and all that.”
And did you partake in everything?
“I was just me.”
“Did you really do all those drugs and booze?”
“I was just me.”
It should be pointed out that here the reporter asked no follow-up questions. Because it goes without saying that “I was just me” is code for “hell to the yeah I did all those drugs. I didn’t show up to a tatted-up musclehead’s apartment in Pittsburgh at four in the morning to NOT do drugs.” And that is why I love Nick Nolte.
[the full profile]