During his Esquire magazine encounter with Sean Penn, Scott Raab follows the director-writer of Into The Wild into the Beverly Hills hotel and encounters Jack Nicholson, and they all retire to the lounge for drinks. Penn mentions that Emile Hirsch, the star of the Paramount Vantage release (and who gives his finest performance of his relatively new career), lost forty pounds over the course of Wild‘s eight-month shooting schedule,” Nicholson “chuckles” and says, “I just played a guy dying of cancer and I didn’t lose an ounce.”

He’s talking about Rob Reiner‘s The Bucket List (Warner Bros., 12.25) , and like I said a few days ago, playing a well-fed cancer patient doesn’t work all that well. My 8.14 posting said that “the closer you are to the end the thinner you tend to be, [and that] even cancer copers with another year to go tend to look a little bit drawn and under-fed.” But that’s Jack for you. The chuckling, I mean.