Nick Nolte on the ‘emotional experience’ of starring opposite his 10-year-old daughter in ‘Head Full Of Honey’
The legendary actor insists Sophia Lane Nolte ‘is the best thing in the film'
Nick Nolte had no idea that his young daughter Sophia had any ambition of becoming an actress.
But when writer and director Til Schweiger accidentally bumped into 10-year-old Sophia at Nolte’s Malibu home during his visit to discuss the legendary actor playing Alzheimer sufferer Amadeus in an American adaptation of his German comedy-drama “Head Full Of Honey” he instantly saw that she would be perfect as Tilda, Amadeus' granddaughter.
“When he knocked on the door Sophie answered and said to him, ‘You’re Til Schweiger. I have seen your movie. Pretty good.’ Then she walked away,” Nick Nolte recalls.
“When he came back, he said, ‘Who is that creature?’ I said, ‘That’s my daughter.’ He was like, ‘Do you think she could play your granddaughter?’”
Four hours later, after convincing Sophia’s mother, she was cast. But even though she has a three time Academy Award nominee as a father, Nolte insists that she never once asked him for any advice.
“A 10-year-old doesn’t take advice. You can give it, but they’ll brush it off and won’t accept it. Usually their instincts are better than yours. She was totally comfortable with it. Frankly, I think she is the best thing in the film.”
But while Nolte is extremely proud of Sophia’s work in “Head Full Of Honey,” he is also beyond grateful for the intimate opportunity that the pair were given by working on the film together.
“I didn’t really know she was ever interested in acting. Then it came out that she always had been. And she enjoyed it greatly. For me, I had an experience with my daughter that most people don’t get an opportunity to have.”
“It created an intimacy. If you say, ‘I love you,’ to your daughter. She says, ‘Come on, dad. You don’t need to say that.’ Or she doesn’t want to hear you say that. But on the film I had to say that.”
Nolte believes that their familial connection translated to the big-screen, too, especially as Schweiger, who starred opposite his own daughter in the German version of “Head Full Of Honey,” knew exactly how to manipulate the required emotion from Sophia.
“The advantage was I was her father. So that closeness was there. If Til was doing a close-up he would have me go away and then talk her through the scene. He is so good with working with children.”
Sophie’s performance is all the more impressive because of how heavy “Head Full Of Honey” is, although Nolte is quick to insist that the film mixes “wickedly funny humor” with the “darker side” of how “dealing with a debilitating dementia disease impacts the whole family.”
Nolte doesn’t know if Sophia will continue with acting or if, just like his son Brawley, who after debuting as a 10-year-old opposite Mel Gibson in 1996’s “Ransom” lost passion for the profession, she will bow out before adulthood.
For the time being, though, Nolte can rightfully bask and reflect in the glory of both his and Sophia’s work in “Head Full Of Honey,” which hits theaters on November 30.