Jack Nicholson’s grandson Duke Nicholson has had quite a year for one big reason–Lana Del Rey recruited the Hollywood scion to appear on the cover of her Grammy-nominated album Norman Fucking Rockwell. He was a fitting choice; Del Rey’s entire persona revolves around a fascination with 1960s and 70s California iconography, and the singer described him as “like family.”
But Nicholson isn’t just a cover model. He’s an actor who had a small role in Jordan Peele’s Us, and he’s about to break through with a role in Nicholas Jarecki’s “drug epic,” Dreamland, in which he plays a fentanyl dealer. So, what better time for the 20-year-old to break his silence, and give his first-ever interview to The Hollywood Reporter
Nicholson, son of Jack’s daughter Jennifer Nicholson, a fashion designer, and retired professional surfer Mark Norfleet (they met in high school in Hawaii, where they were classmates with a young Barack Obama), revealed some aspects of the Nicholson family dynamics. He was fresh off attending Thanksgiving celebrations at his grandfather’s Mulholland Drive house, and deflected any notions that Jack is in poor health, saying that the venerable movie star is “doing great.” They like to watch sports together.
The younger Nicholson originally planned on becoming a director. “I made one short [in high school] called The Happy Fisherman, but I never show it to anyone really,” he told THR. “It was about a fisherman who gets his dick bit by a fish.”
But once friend and fellow Hollywood heir Jack Kilmer introduced him to music video director Grant Singer (who has worked with everyone from Taylor Swift to Ariana Grande to Sky Ferreira to Troye Sivan), Nicholson started getting cast as an actor and model–he’s 6’1. When Peele cast him in Us, he wasn’t aware of the actor’s family background, and coincidentally told him to channel Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
But while he’s earned roles through auditioning, a lot of things do come easily to the descendants of iconic movie stars–like the NFR cover. “Lana is a friend of mine and she called me and said, ‘Hey, we’re doing the album cover tomorrow. You want to be on it?’’ said Nicholson. “I just went with it. I don’t try to analyze things too much.”