Exclusive: Oscar Nominee Jeff Bridges on Crazy Heart - The RT Interview

The Iron Man star on his latest awards-friendly turn.

by | March 1, 2010 | Comments

RT Interview: Oscar Nominee Jeff Bridges on Crazy Heart

With an impressive career spanning 50 years, Jeff Bridges started out as a young whippersnapper on his dad’s 1960s TV series, The Lloyd Bridges Show. Since then, he’s starred in classics such as Tron, Bad Company, The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Last Picture Show, for which he was Oscar-nominated. But he will continue to be best remembered for his iconic turn as The Dude in the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski.

This month, Bridges received his fifth Oscar nomination for Scott Cooper‘s Crazy Heart. He stars as down-on-his-luck country singer “Bad” Blake and is favourite to take home the statuette for a brilliantly vanity-free performance. RT grilled him about the role, and about the forthcoming Tron Legacy and True Grit.

Crazy Heart


Congratulations on the Oscar nomination. How important is it to win this time?

Jeff Bridges: That’s not really important to me personally. But it would be great because the more attention I get for this role, the more attention the movie gets.

In your Golden Globe acceptance speech, you thanked your dad, actor Lloyd Bridges, for getting you into acting…

JB: My dad loved showbiz and he encouraged all of us to go into it. One of the toughest things in acting is getting your first job so I’m a product of nepotism, basically. As a kid, I didn’t enjoy having a famous parent. But, looking back, I’m glad I listened to the old man. If I hadn’t, I might have gone down the music path because that’s what I loved.

Were you tempted by the Bad Blake lifestyle?

JB: Very much so. I put an album out a few years ago, called Be Here Soon. It’s wasn’t quite like Bad Blake, but my Beatle moment was when I played the Lebowski Fest. It was wild: I played to a sea of Dudes. Very surreal, but it was wonderful.

Did you enjoy putting on weight to play Bad Blake?

JB: It was a double-edged sword. Obviously it’s fun to let yourself go and eat that pint of Haagen Dazs, but being healthy feels the best. Sobriety and health is the greatest thing. I’ve got to watch my back, so I can’t put on too much weight.

Crazy Heart

Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart.

Did you get drunk for the drunken scenes?

JB: No, I never drink while I’m working. But one of the ways I prepare for a part is to think about what I put in my body. So I would definitely have that second drink the night before. A little hangy would work for the role. It was great being able to have that input because Scott Cooper is a first-time director. His directing style was very inclusive. He even allowed me to come in during the editing process. Not that he would just roll over, but he was very open to our ideas.

Would you like to direct?

JB: I have thought about it, but I might be too lazy. Directing takes a lot of time. You spend three or four times as long on a film as an actor does. And I feel that I’m getting my vision realised in my acting already, especially working with guys like Scott who let me have a lot of input. If I find something that really grabs me, maybe I’ll do it.

What was it like working with Colin Farrell?

JB: He was a joy. I met him the day before we started filming and we’re supposed to have had this long relationship so we had to establish that. There are some actors that want you to call them by their character’s name and they have no relationship with you outside of the character. But I like to get to know who I’m working with so that we can relax together, and it’s more fun. Colin works that way too.

Crazy Heart

Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart.

How much does award recognition affect your decision when choosing a script?

JB: I don’t think about it in those terms. In fact, I’ll try my damndest not to do a movie because I know how much effort it is. Work takes me away from my wife, Sue, and my life in Santa Barbara. I realised the other day that, last year, we were apart for 11 months. But I was offered four movies that were just too interesting to turn down. It’s like that line in The Godfather: “make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Sue agreed that I couldn’t turn them down but it is hard being away from her. So, usually, I do my best to not work at all. That’s the Dude side of me.

You certainly have some exciting projects coming up. Tell me about True Grit.

JB: It’s really terrific to be working with the Coen brothers again. They’re masters. They make it look so easy. They’re doing a Western, which is something they’ve never done before, and I love making Westerns. It’s a great cast too: Matt Damon and Josh Brolin. I’m really excited about it.

And, before that, we’ll see you in Tron Legacy. How was the experience of making it different to making Tron in 1982?

JB: It couldn’t be more different. Like the original Tron, it’s all about cutting edge technology and we used some of this motion capture thing. You have to dress in a leotard with sensors all over it, with 200 dots on your face and a helmet. You don’t have the benefit of costumes or location: it’s all in your mind. Then everything is done in post-production. I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. With King Kong in 1976, I was acting at blue screen so you don’t really know what you’re reacting to. But this is like a whole new deal. It’s getting weird, man. It’s just crazy.

It sounds like you weren’t that comfortable with it…

JB: You just have to work with your discomfort. Being pissed off that you don’t have a costume is counterproductive. It’s challenging, but you have to dance the dance that the band’s playing. You can’t say: “I came here to Cha Cha and they’re playing a Waltz, godammit!”

Crazy Heart is released on March 5th.

Tag Cloud

Showtime streaming harry potter VICE TV Land Mystery romance cinemax CBS Mary poppins Quiz Spectrum Originals DC Comics Valentine's Day LGBTQ Pixar Toys CBS All Access adaptation Esquire SXSW justice league casting Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pet Sematary Brie Larson adventure 2015 APB Spring TV police drama El Rey Walt Disney Pictures E! binge Martial Arts Trivia Apple richard e. Grant Sony Pictures Lionsgate USA Network based on movie Warner Bros. Awards Tour SundanceTV Year in Review crime MSNBC elevated horror American Society of Cinematographers travel 21st Century Fox boxoffice sports teaser Countdown San Diego Comic-Con Opinion thriller biography Premiere Dates Marvel transformers TBS National Geographic Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Food Network Super Bowl Comics on TV Paramount Network zero dark thirty Polls and Games USA singing competition sequel Drama hist Interview crime drama SDCC docudrama History Women's History Month NYCC ABC Family NBC FX GLAAD Shudder discovery true crime Sneak Peek E3 Superheroes Certified Fresh Reality Competition Trophy Talk anime social media dc crime thriller Crackle Extras Election YouTube Red unscripted ITV 45 YouTube Premium PBS TNT award winner Nickelodeon TIFF See It Skip It Star Trek ABC blaxploitation Mary Poppins Returns dceu politics Teen jamie lee curtis Horror Disney Channel BBC Reality Adult Swim serial killer Black Mirror Acorn TV Western Lifetime dragons aliens cults Comedy zombies X-Men Winners Winter TV Hulu RT21 medical drama Red Carpet Marathons witnail Box Office dramedy comic TCM green book supernatural Dark Horse Comics Schedule cooking IFC Films New York Comic Con Infographic Mindy Kaling miniseries MCU Holidays Animation Tumblr DC streaming service Musicals Netflix Amazon Prime spider-man Comic Book 24 frames spy thriller sitcom Cosplay Mary Tyler Moore doctor who CMT VH1 Paramount Musical finale golden globes Britbox Epix Set visit Sundance Now psycho HBO period drama Sundance 20th Century Fox Lucasfilm Captain marvel CW Seed Calendar 2018 BBC America Kids & Family TCA Photos Ovation Pop YA Bravo Rocky what to watch Columbia Pictures The Arrangement crossover Music Spike RT History Anna Paquin facebook Stephen King zombie Masterpiece composers political drama Summer robots Emmys Podcast Cartoon Network GoT natural history DirecTV Biopics Character Guide Ghostbusters television Rom-Com First Look Video Games Mudbound comiccon Rock TCA 2017 historical drama Thanksgiving Amazon FXX Syfy The CW Country Fall TV Sci-Fi 2019 anthology Song of Ice and Fire Fantasy MTV ESPN festivals cops PaleyFest AMC TruTV 2017 nature Action Superheroe Writers Guild of America 2016 Grammys Ellie Kemper psychological thriller BET Shondaland Comedy Central GIFs FOX Trailer Awards war Creative Arts Emmys Logo Oscars Best and Worst talk show DC Universe vampires Nat Geo Starz OWN cats Christmas DGA TV diversity IFC 007 Fox News Nominations Freeform TLC WGN theme song Tomatazos Universal Watching Series mutant Star Wars Disney technology ratings President Pirates mockumentary CNN A&E science fiction