Jack grew up reading Batman comics as a kid, so when he got the call from Tim Burton saying he would play the joker in the 1989 Batman film, it was a dream come true. He reportedly made somewhere around $80 million from the job, and he used some of that to buy his $70,000 Joker outfit from the film.
Nicholson’s breakout role was in the film Easy Rider back in 1969. Rip Torn, the actor who played Zed in the original Men in Black series, originally had the role, but director Dennis Hopper and Torn had a falling out at a dinner. The two reportedly got pretty physical and a knife even became involved. Hopper ended up firing Torn and replacing him with Jack. At the time Nicholson was just a rookie actor and only earned $329 a week for the job.
The drugs in the film Easy Rider weren’t all fake. Nicholson was quoted saying:
“We were all stoned the night we shot the campfire scene. The speech about the UFOs looks improvised, but it was actually almost verbatim from the script. The story about me smoking 155 joints – that’s a little exaggerated. But each time I did a take or an angle, it involved smoking almost an entire joint.
After the first take or two, the acting job became reversed. Instead of being straight and having to act stoned at the end, I was now stoned at the beginning and having to act straight, and then gradually letting myself return to where I was – which was very stoned.”