Jeff Bridges' Best AMA Answers: On 'The Big Lebowski,' 'Iron Man,' Bagels and Love
Note: For more on Bridges — and his latest film, The Giver — check out our Comic-Con coverage.
Reddit AMAs with actors can be a mixed bag: The quick-response format can reveal some satisfying answers, but leave you desperate for a follow-up answer that never comes. And sometimes the subject does not play ball at all, failing to give even the illusion of caring. (Witness the great Woody Harrelson AMA debacle of 2012.) But it is rare that you get a session as rewarding as yesterday’s back and forth with Jeff Bridges, there to promote his upcoming adaptation of the YA classic, The Giver. Bridges wasn’t gossipy — no trashing of past movies or co-stars — but he seemed incredibly engaged with the whole process. Whether he was asked about Iron Man, The Big Lebowski, his thoughts on the secrets to marriage, or his favorite foods, he was equally thoughtful, detailed, sensitive and revealing in his answers. In true Bridges tradition, it was like a sit-down with a Zen master, revealing the secrets to making a blockbuster and the perfect bagel. Here are his most fascinating answers. (Many bonuses for Lebowski fans.)
The chaotic filming of Iron Man made him crazy, until he accepted it as the world’s most expensive student film.
Playing villain Obadiah Stane in the 2008 blockbuster, he was shocked to show up and discover the script was being changed on the fly by director Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., and the Marvel team. “It was unusual because it was very expensive, close to $200 million or something, and you would think that a movie that had that high a budget, they would have had their script tighter. But that was not the case. And we would very often find ourselves, at the beginning of the day, going into our trailers with little tape recorders with the suits from Marvel & Jon & Robert, and we would try to come up with what we were going to shoot that day! We would trade parts, I would play his part, or he would play my part, Favreau would be calling up writer friends of his, and meanwhile the crew is tapping their foot, waiting for us to come back to work. That was very frustrating for me, because I like to be very prepared and let it go in front of the camera, so that you know your lines and stuff, and it was very frustrating for me, until I made a small inner adjustment that was: realizing we were making a $200 million dollar student film. And just to relax and have fun, do your best, don’t worry too much, and I think that the film came out terrifically! And again, that’s largely because we had Robert and Jon onboard.”
He was inspired to make The Giver years ago, when Lois Lowry’s 1993 book reminded him of his dad, Lloyd Bridges, who passed away in 1998.
"What initially drew me to it was the desire to direct my father in a movie, because my kids were quite young, and I wanted to make a movie that they could see, and so I was reading children’s book catalogs, and I came across this photograph of a cover of a book, with an old grizzled guy on the cover, and I thought ‘Oh, my dad could play that guy.’ And I also noticed the big Newbery award stamped on the cover, and I thought it was a must read. So I looked at the book, and found it to be a wonderful children’s book, but it also really affected me as an adult… I thought it would be quite easy to get made, but that turned out not to be the case. Probably because a lot of the financiers were concerned about the darker aspects of the book.” It took him years to finally get it made (he produced it but did not direct), and took the role of the wizened Giver meant for his father.