Thursday, November 3, 2022

On Jack Nance as quoted by Cyrus Shahrad for The Quietus, 2013

The whole Hollywood system wasn’t made for Jack. When I met him it was like he was changing from a leading man into something way more interesting, and that ‘way more interesting’ is something I’ve never found anywhere else. Jack was the first person I looked at for Eraserhead, but even if I’d gone on to look at ten million others I would always have come back to Jack.

I just love every single part of Henry that came alive in Jack. I don’t know how to put into words what Jack had, but it was a combination of things. He was a deep thinker, for one. He had a way of revealing the absurdities of life, for another. Yet he also seemed outside of life in a way, and you felt he carried a lot in the interior.

Jack always told me that he’d be real easy to kill. And that phrase stuck with me after what happened. He wasn’t a fighter, he wasn’t strong in the physical sense, but he was surly, and he would say things to get a reaction. And he said something to these guys, and one of them hit him so hard that it broke his glasses, and he developed an excruciating headache the next day. I think if he’d gone to hospital they could have found out what was happening and relieved the pressure, but instead it was allowed to build and build.

There was just this certain thing that Jack had and since he passed away I haven’t found a single actor that could give the same feeling. It was just the most beautiful fate to find Jack, and to be able to work with him. I love him like a brother, and he’s really, truly missed.


On Jack Nance as quoted by Cyrus Shahrad for The Quietus, 2013

He fought it hard and he would go sober for long periods of time, but he would always break down eventually because his body was craving alcohol. We were married for eight years, half of which we spent on Eraserhead, and I think that became a distraction of sorts from the reality of what was going on in our personal lives. I truly loved that man, but alcoholism is a disease, and in the end the disease got in the way of our relationship.

I’m just so happy to have had those years with him. He was a very kind man, even though he was very dry in his sense of humour. He was very sweet, very pulled inward – he kept his feelings to himself. And part of what was delicious about loving him was that occasionally I felt privy to some of the secret parts of Jack. Just not very often.


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