Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Terms of Endearment’ Director Hopes to Lure Jack Nicholson Out of Retirement

‘Terms of Endearment’ Director Hopes to Lure Jack Nicholson Out of Retirement

Terms of Endearment director James L Brooks is hoping to lure Jack Nicholson out of retirement. The Hollywood legend has famously stayed off the silver screen for over a decade, last appearing in Brooks’ 2010 film, How Do You Know.

After also collaborating on films like 1983’s Terms of Endearment, 1987’s Broadcast News, and 1998’s As Good as It Gets, director Brooks expressed his desire to work with Nicholson once more. “I keep on thinking he’s going to get itchy and scratch it,” Brooks recently told People about Nicholson returning to acting. “My theory is [How Do You Know is] not his last movie.”

The filmmaking duo still talk frequently. When asked as to whether Jack had expressed an interest in playing another role, Brooks seemed positive. “That’s what I’m hoping for,” Brooks said. “He’s the man.”

Brooks met Jack Nicholson while making 1983’s Terms of Endearment. The director said the film, which turns 40 this month, “began my relationship with Jack, who’s one of the great people I’ve met in my life”.

Jack Nicholson Wasn’t the First Choice for ‘Terms of Endearment’

Brooks had prior experience in television, having worked on series such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show. However, he had not yet ventured into the realm of directing movies until Terms of Endearment came along.

Of course, Jack Nicholson was eager to lend the budding filmmaker a helping hand. “At the end of the day, you’re just sweating bullets just getting through the day,” recalled Brooks. Still, Nicholson enjoyed giving Brooks notes, telling him, “You want to know the best direction you gave today? You want to know the worst direction you gave today?”

However, Brooks loved getting critiques from the Hollywood legend. “It was just so great,” he explained. “I am in love with the guy. America’s in love with the guy. He’s a lovable guy.”

Brooks credits Debra Winger, a star in Terms, for his introduction to Nicholson. Initially, Burt Reynolds was supposed to play Garrett Breedlove, the former astronaut who enters a romantic relationship with Shirley MacLaine’s character, Aurora Greenway, in the film.

According to Brooks, Reynolds withdrew, and Winger handed the script to her friend Nicholson. “When we started to talk about the part, she got me Jack. I don’t think I could have gotten Jack to read the script without Debra,” Brooks recalled.

Nicholson later garnered an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Garrett Breedlove. This marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between Nicholson and Brooks, spanning several decades. Their creative partnership continued with the critically acclaimed film As Good as It Gets, which earned Nicholson his second Oscar. On Tuesday, Terms of Endearment will be released on 4K Ultra HD.