NY Mag has a piece featuring actors talking about what the late Mike Nichols meant to them. Natalie has a lot to say and wow, I was quite taken aback at one very honest story in particular. An emotional moment in Natalie’s life that, given the timeline, probably refers to the end of her relationship with Gael Garcia Bernal. It’s clear to see why Nichols held such a big space in her heart.
“I remember Meryl Streep took us all to this Russian place to celebrate the opening [of The Seagull in Central Park]. Mike turned to me and said, “You know, someone at this table almost died of a drug-induced heart incident in the ’80s. Can you guess who it is?” And I was like, Chris Walken? No. John Goodman? No. Phil Hoffman? No. And I went around the entire table—Meryl?!—and he said, “It was me.” [Nichols spoke publicly about his addiction to the sleep aid Halcion.] He was so open about his flaws and his mistakes. I think it was part of his mentorship. Oftentimes, people are so ashamed of their mistakes they want to hide them and pretend to be perfect. He was the opposite. He was perfect, and he had to humanize himself.”