Nolte: I'm Still Drawn to 'Criminal' Ilk

Monday, March 24th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Nick Nolte, who made headlines last year when he was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, says he's now clean and sober but still finds himself drawn to ``criminal'' characters.

``I'm not a fan of real life,'' Nolte told the New York Daily News, adding that he has publicly ``fabricated'' many stories from his private life. ``Real life's got some strange kind of rules.''

Nolte, 62, who has appeared in nearly 50 films and received two Oscar nominations, is trying to mend his career with a starring role in a remake of the 1955 French film, ``The Good Thief.''

Nolte says he gravitates toward characters who reflect his antiestablishment persona.

``Socialization is difficult for me,'' the actor explained. ``I'm not comfortable with a lot of people I don't know, so I'll pick out the criminal and go talk to the suffering one.''

Nolte readily admits that he has long struggled with drug and alcohol, an addiction made public in Malibu last September when he pleaded no-contest to charges of driving under the influence of a date rape drug.

``I always said I had substance abuse problems,'' Nolte said. ``You deal with it. You keep it under control. Sometimes you don't. Withdrawal is tough, so you go to a hospital... You learn to wash your own underwear. After 30 days, you're clean. Now the trick is not to relapse.''