Can Hollywood handle the truth? There’s a second Nicholson generation ready to mark her mark.
Lorraine Nicholson – the 21-year-old daughter of acting icon/mega-movie star/Lakers fan numero uno Jack Nicholson – has her first major supporting role in “Soul Surfer,” and she tells PopcornBiz she’s not counting on her last name to make her an instant star.
“My grandma always told my dad, 'Don't toot your own horn,' which means let your achievements speak for themselves and be honest and modest,” she says. “And so I've kind of tried to apply that mantra to my life, I guess.”
Nevertheless, her co-star Helen Hunt, who acted opposite Lorraine’s dad in “As Good As It Gets,” sees a lot of parallels between them. “They're both charismatic, smart, and excellent,” says Hunt. “And I immediately was like 'Can't take your eyes off of her!' – Makes sense.” Hunt says Lorraine displays a similar kind of on-screen magnetism. “Definitely – I don’t know if it came from him, but she's got it.”
Lorraine also worked alongside Dennis Quaid, who’s “known Jack all of my movie life –he was one of my hero actors when I was deciding to be an actor,” he says. “In fact, my brother was doing a movie with him, 'Missouri Breaks,' when I first went out to Hollywood and that was the first movie set I was ever on. I got to watch Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson work, and Jack's house was like the hangout. He would hold court and was a very generous person, especially for me, a young actor and he's full of advice – just really a great guy. And then cut to thirty-something years later: it's Lorraine's first movie set, so I took special attention to her just to help her out any way that I could. Not that she needed it! She's very savvy and very talented and very much her own person.”
The younger Nicholson – her mother is actress-model Rebecca Broussard, Jack’s companion in the late ‘80s and early 90s – says throughout her life she tried to dodge trading on her famous lineage for advantages both large and small. “I was definitely reluctant to do that,” she says. “That's sort of embarrassing to me. I never tried to namedrop, but I'm not naïve. I know that probably sometimes in my life I've gotten some advantages because of who my dad is. But that's just sort of the reality of the situation. And I do try to shy away from it as much as possible and blaze my own path.”
Along with Hollywood, her own path has also led her to Providence’s Brown University and a “really refreshing” academic existence outside of showbiz-obsessed Los Angeles. “I'm really happy that I went to Brown because it sort of gets you out of that LA bubble that I didn't even really realize was there until I left, if that makes sense. So it's been a really fulfilling experience. Los Angeles, obviously, is a one-industry town. And it turns out there are things outside of the show business. Shock!”
“I'm really concentrated on my scholastic endeavors,” she affirms. “There's no way I'm not finishing, and that's that. It's what I've decided.” But the Biz is indeed in her blood, leading her to a Literary Arts coursework, “which is a combination of creative writing and literary theory sort of. I love it. I'm studying screenwriting, so I hope to contribute to that part of the process. I'm sort of trying to find my voice, and it's really fun writing all these different kinds of things: some dramatic, some off-kilter, some funny – in my opinion, anyway. And I learn a lot about scripts that I read, even."
She admits she’s yet to be mentored by any of Dad’s accomplished screenwriter pals (Robert Towne, Mike Nichols, James L. Brooks, Nora Ephron and Nancy Myers among them). “No, not really – Sadly. I mean, I wish! I hope one day that one of my dad's friends will pull me aside and tell me all about writing. That would be beautiful.” The actors she admires include Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Katharine Hepburn, who's her "number one acting idol”).
And, yeah, maybe there IS one major bonus of being Jack’s Girl she’s enjoyed. “Going to the Lakers games have been a pretty fun thing to do since I was really small,” she admits. “There are pictures of me and my brother Ray when we're both so young and we're sharing one chair at the Great Western Forum. It's just something that we've all gotten to do as a family, which is really nice.”