NEW YORK, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Hollywood icon Jack Nicholson says he was happy to reunite with his dear friend James L. Brooks on "How Do You Know" because Brooks is an excellent filmmaker who just happened to direct Nicholson in two of his three Oscar-winning performances.
Nicholson, 73, won his Academy Awards for his work in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," as well as in Brooks's "Terms of Endearment" and "As Good As It Gets."
"It's a privilege to work with Jim," Nicholson told reporters at a recent New York press conference.
"He's probably one of the best screenwriters in the world and you just get great material and he can always cast wonderful actors," the actor explained. "Just look at us all. That, plus, you rarely get to work with, accent the adjective, a dear friend. And a couple of Oscars didn't hurt in cementing the relationship."
Nicholson's latest collaboration with Brooks is a romantic comedy in which he plays a high-powered businessman whose shady dealings might land his son in jail, just as the younger man meets the woman of his dreams. The film co-stars Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson.
Told by a journalist the best way to describe his character might be as a "cuddly shark" because he is a shrewd businessman who genuinely seems to love his son, Nicholson agreed with the assessment.
"Well, he's a dad," the actor reasoned. "He does honestly feel what he says. It's against the law to piss on the sidewalk, but this is spitting on the sidewalk. You go to Egypt, you bribe the Egyptian. That's it. So I think he thinks he's doing the right thing for the things that he loves, including sending his son to jail. That was a little tough for me. He thought that he could get out of it. There was a speech in there, if you don't mind me saying, incidentally, where he says, he sort of tells what he's doing: 'You hire a schmoe lawyer. I could've used money to get, to make it too expensive for them to prosecute. That's the way it's done. You just outspend the government.' So that's kind of where I got the keys of reality from the guy. He really didn't think that he was doing that much wrong. I'm glad that you found it unique. I was a little worried about that myself since I feel like I am a lovable shark."
Asked what it is about the business that he still loves after all these years, Nicholson replied: "Travel. Beautiful women. Excellent compatriots. Drinking pals.
"It's very exciting. It's just an exciting business. We've all been doing it a while," he added, referring to his co-stars. "I think we all get nervous. We get wild and that should be all I say, I think."
And when he's not working, what does he spend his time doing?
"It's a press conference and I like to give great answers, but I just like getting up sometimes between 11 and 1 o'clock," Nicholson revealed. "It's not movie hours unless you're doing night movies. Play golf. I have a couple of kids in college and so I'm on the phone a lot. I see my pals. Chase women around. Talk to my congressman. Go to funerals."
"How Do You Know" is set to open Friday in U.S. theaters.