He gave one of the most restrained performances of his career in ”About Schmidt,” but Jack is definitely out of the box in this one. Nicholson plays a seemingly mad psychiatrist who uses unconventional methods (stopping traffic on the Queensboro Bridge to lead a sing along of ”I Feel Pretty,” for instance) to treat co-star Adam Sandler, who has been sent into court-mandated therapy after being accused of starting a fight on an airplane. ”I’m practically wearing a fright wig in it,” Nicholson says. ”It’s a completely antic movie.” ”It is antic,” agrees John Turturro, who plays another of Nicholson’s patients. ”The first day on the set, I asked Jack what the tone of the film was. He said, ‘There is no tone. I’m all over the place. Just do whatever feels right.’ It made me feel a lot better.” Actually, it took some convincing to make Nicholson feel okay about his part; a month or so before filming began, the three-time Oscar winner almost changed his mind about starring. ”He was looking for a handle on the character – he wasn?t sure if he was supposed to play ‘Jack’ or some other character,” explains director Peter Segal (”Nutty Professor II: The Klumps”), who spent weeks with Nicholson and Sandler reworking the dialogue until they were able to win Jack back. ”We didn’t have anybody but him in mind for the part. We had put all our eggs in the Jack basket. So we basically customized the part for him.” One person Segal didn’t have to customize a part for: racket-tossing tennis star John McEnroe, who has a brief but enraged cameo as himself. (April 11)
(Anger Management: Phillip V. Caruso)
Posted February 7 2003 — 12:00 AM EST
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