Nick Nolte is the first to admit that his role in A Walk in the Woods opposite Robert Redford would have been completely different had it’s original co-star, the late Paul Newman, lived to play the part. He’ll also riff on the idea that “aging is irony” and that he’s surprised he isn’t dead yet. Such is the pleasantly unfiltered stream of consciousness you get from a brief interview encounter with Nolte.
Screen Rant recently caught up with the Oscar-nominated actor to discuss the film and its themes of friendship, living life to the fullest and exploring nature, a conversation during which Nolte revealed his thoughts about being in the right place at the right time, how sugar is messing with our life spans and why his early experiences in nature directly influenced his career path.
Speaking with Mr. Redford, I love that he was so committed to making this film. Why do you think now is the right time for it to come out?
When you find good material, there comes a time, especially now, when everything is right. The financing is there, the actors are there, it just happens and it only happens for a brief time and you’ve got to jump on it quick. He thought this material was excellent for Paul Newman and Bob, and it would’ve been, it would’ve been but Paul died. Paul was a good ten years older than Bob, he really truly came from another generation. I didn’t realize that so this was this kernel of [the right] time and he nailed it.
I read in the press notes that you like giving directors a bit of a hard time and you think aging is irony?
Well sure it’s irony, it’s not true. Our idea of age right now is 75, that’s the average American, but they say [we have the potential to live] to 120, so we’re not living anywhere near our potential of life and we never have, so that’s kind of, maybe you’ll experience in your lifetime, I don’t know.
Well the movie sort of celebrates that, living.
Well you know it’s expanding all the time. I should be dead right now but I’m alive. Well, I’m at the age, the average American age. Women live longer than men, there’s no real reason for that except you’re double covered. Men are only singularly covered and but still, there’s plenty of genetics there, there’s plenty of vitality left, we’re just dying from indulgences, bad good. Got way off with the sugar, it can’t be helped.
You’ve got to take a walk in the woods right? To take your mind off it?
Yeah, or stay in the woods. Or be close to them. I grew up ten minutes from woods in any direction, so it was very hard, they couldn’t get me to go to school. I had plenty family that were professors, but that was the problem, they didn’t like each other. I said, “I don’t want to be around Academia.”
We’ll call that early research for this role then?
A Walk in the Woods is directed Ken Kwapis off a screenplay by Rick Kerb and Bill Holderman and stars Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Nick Offerman, and Kristen Schaal.
In this comedy adventure, Robert Redford & Nick Nolte star as old friends who make the improbable decision to hike the 2,200–mile Appalachian Trail, and that’s when the fun begins. Based on Bill Bryson’s bestseller, the movie co-stars Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Nick Offerman & Kristen Schaal.
A Walk in the Woods opens September 2, 2015.