Speaker So I was actually saying to Mariano and waiting for you to come, I actually said last night and read, I didn’t realize that on MTV there’s loads of dialogue out of Lebowski. There’s loads of quotes and they’re hilarious. Of course, the amazing script, when you read it and realize doing it, you know, it’s extraordinary. It’s quite it’s quite different. I know. So here you guys are. You have the bulk of the movies. You’re in the bulk of the scenes together.

Speaker They hired these trained actors. They fired them and they got us. Not we I think we have the luxury of a two or three. Am I still speaking or should I wait for the light? I’ll speak now. All right.

Speaker We had the luxury of about a two or three, third through three did about two or three week rehearsal period, which was sick gas.

Speaker It was a lot of fun. And I don’t even remember where it was now. But we just get together every day, start reading the script. And then Jeff would start picking it apart with annoying questions. Very detailed stuff.

Speaker He’s very curious, lad. Now, he just wanted to know everything. And then we’d get into it and read, just read, read, read, read, read, read. And when you see one, he just wished he was.

Speaker Details that I would overlook. I’m just stuff that I wouldn’t even think to ask about. He had this curiosity about and.

Speaker Just pick stuff apart, really detailed stuff, you know, is annoying.

Speaker But if his dog was if it was helpful for Jeff, it was going to be great for everybody.

Speaker I mean, it’s just my brain doesn’t work that way. But I’m glad his does.

Speaker So, OK, so we’re going to continue on about the. So you did these long weeds.

Speaker Yeah, it does. And, you know, I wound up paying off because people still come up to me and ask me how much was improvise, which, of course, was nothing. The only line that I recall that the Coens didn’t write in any of the films that I’ve worked with them was Jeff. I think he called The Big Lebowski Human Paraquat, and he did that in rehearsal. And I put it on.

Speaker It’s lovely. Did you think, having done so much with the Coens yourself? I mean, this is one of things I think is always so extraordinary about them is their own range, their own eclecticism in terms of just their own filmmaking. Did you do it yourself? Did you sense what this film was going to sort of be in terms of the resonance it just has had since?

Speaker No, absolutely not. It just it just looked like, you know, on a march, the Raymond Chandler in Southern California and hippies and pot. We were with some Vietnam stuff thrown in it. It was a funny script, but I didn’t know it would be a cult classic.

Speaker And the two of you together in this script, I read something about. I don’t know if this is true or not. I was given an article by someone who claims to have been the dude that there are many dudes.

Speaker There are many Walters.

Speaker Yeah, but this guy wrote an article about it and he said that when he first heard about the film being made, he wasn’t sure which of you were going to play that part. He didn’t know it was going to be Jeff. But listening to you and it was really interesting thinking about that, too, because you could you were it was rather interchangeable and yet not at all.

Speaker Oh, man. I can’t even see that at all. Jeff, as Jeff was Jeffrey Lebowski Junior, I mean, my one of my favorite part, favorite parts of all of it.

Speaker I’m not sure it’s the scene with Jeff in it. Is it is your, you know, role on Chavez.

Speaker Role on Chavez?

Speaker Yeah, he was he converted to Judaism to impress his ex-wife, and he seemed he stuck by his guns. He’s a serious Jew.

Speaker So in the process of it. So you did this long rehearsal, then you’re then you’re in the scenes themselves do feel very improvisational. The whole thing, the whole thing feels almost like there was no was really Lucy Goosey, you know what, beside me as a theater guy.

Speaker And to churl.

Speaker You know, you’re kind of the old con guys. You guys have done a lot of stuff with him and Jeff hadn’t.

Speaker Yeah, yeah, yeah, we do. John and Totaro and Steve and myself had been in previous Coen films.

Speaker And when they said the way things are set up there, you you wandered off the street, did you? You feel pretty much at home. It’s just the way that they set things up with with the dialogue with everybody else of working together as a team.

Speaker You you’re you’re one of them. You’re right in the mix.

Speaker Do you have any I mean, is there anything. And I say this, the Coens casting process.

Speaker They wrote it for me. That’s it. That’s what they told me, you know, like a year or so I heard about, Ethan would be telling me, well, we got something for you. And I think I wrote a draft earlier. And I was just gung ho for it.

Speaker Did you have a sense then who were the best asked be?

Speaker No, absolutely not. I know that The Big Lebowski. They wanted Marlon Brando.

Speaker I would have anything that would have would still be working on me. With all due respect for Marlon Brando, he’s one of my heroes. But he’s got to be a little difficult.

Speaker So when you’re doing it with Jeff, was the first encounter that you had in working with you?

Speaker I’ve loved him ever since he was one of the Beach Boys. Yeah, I would. I was always blown away from by him because he changes so much from picture to picture, and yet he retains that essence.

Speaker The quality of honesty and earnestness.

Speaker He’s an amazing guy. He’s chameleon like to the point where after the picture was wrapped about nine months later, I think we did we did a photo shoot for Esquire magazine.

Speaker And.

Speaker Jeff showed up and I didn’t know. I was told he was deaf. Jeff Bridges, actor. I just it was a new guy and it kind of hurt. It just can’t. Where’s it? Where’s the dude? You know.

Speaker Is the guy. No, just he just wasn’t there. He was on to something else, I guess, but it just, you know, cleaned up real good and.

Speaker Mr., do you hold onto these characters in your own heart?

Speaker Well, you can’t I can’t hold onto the characters forever. I’d like to, but, you know, things will go on and get a little weird if I let the two of you.

Speaker You’re a very chameleon, like you have an extraordinary range yourself. So there’s an interesting that’s interesting coming coming together at that moment. And it was an excellent coming together at that.

Speaker Yes. It worked out well, I think. I thought we were pretty good together. We did another film called Mascot Anonymous that Bob Dylan wrote when Larry Charles directors and the last night of shooting. It was I mean, it was getting on to maybe five in the morning. It was really late. We had to pull the plug and we’re trying to do way too much stuff for the time we had left. And Jeff, we’re all tired. And Jeff started. Call me Walter. Walter, come on. We got to just try to hold on to that. I just dropped my head laugh and Sluggo and he.

Speaker And you think this is inadvertent?

Speaker Oh, you. Absolutely advertently. Yeah. They just we were too tired to be screwing around.

Speaker Isn’t that lovely? Yeah. Fall back into that. Which is it. Which is an athlete and yet real camaraderie. Yeah. That was great. That’s lovely. This is a great time.

Speaker Tell me about Miss Nana was a little bit because it is such a glorious mess to me. I just think it’s a great.

Speaker It was. And Bob Dylan wrote it, as you know.

Speaker I’m not sure what it’s about, but I was all over it. Yeah, I had some nice dialogue and really good actors. And plus, I get to hang around and listen to Bob.

Speaker Bob always had music going on in his ear. He had some kind of radio gizmo in his ear. And he’s also listening to music and. Money wasn’t big, he’d hang around and settle out and just play guitar by himself and just hang around, listen to him and that great band he had at the time. Man, it was two hours of chaos and really good people, Jeff was with Penelope Cruz.

Speaker Let them do a tour together, not together, together, but I would assume that Jeff is pretty into the music as well.

Speaker Yeah, I don’t remember. I’m picking up an axe and playing. He might have been old, intimidated. I doubt it. Ataman man. I remember good things about doing that film.

Speaker The the I guess is, you know, the obvious thing that I just wanted to learn about this or find from you is this process between the two of you just even even in in the basket, certainly. But even then. And you’re you don’t have any scenes together then. It’s not the same kind of intensity of scenes together.

Speaker And it was totally different. Is a different animal. But Lebowski.

Speaker We both wanted the same thing, which was to. To make this the scene sparkle on, and it’s a state entirely.

Speaker I mean, we are entirely in that character all the time.

Speaker No, no, I don’t do that. I am uncomfortable doing it. Jeff, though, maybe was on another level.

Speaker I mean, he was.

Speaker You know, everything that we did was related to for the good of the project. It was just we were in pitchin together. And I think that’s why everything we did.

Speaker It felt great.

Speaker Did you did you have anecdotal aspects of this thing together, too? I mean, was there a friendship that evolved?

Speaker No, not really. We weren’t unfriendly. But. It just never evolved into that everything was pretty much on camera.

Speaker The relationship, did you I mean, you had to love the script, though, because this story is.

Speaker Slippers. Thank you, sir. When Walter Payton said Pittances.

Speaker You and I are trying to, you know, not trying to create something that wasn’t there. But I just I’m trying to get it. It feels so natural. Every bit of it felt so natural. And it did feel like it was a great abiding friend. Dude abides.

Speaker There was a great really abiding was a real friendship because Walter was such a pain in the ass and, you know, you’d be good. Dude had to love them just to put up with them. And most of the other guys in the flow, my dude just gets by, the dude abides. That’s what the truth does. It just because of Jeff’s nature, the way I work as an actor.

Speaker And the script and all showed up on screen. Everything was there.

Speaker I just hate when it falls off someplace else and never kind of gets.

Speaker Yeah, wish. There was no waste, though, are we, because of the rehearsal process.

Speaker And I just think because chuffs intensity and. There was no waste.

Speaker Well, it’s an extraordinary film kind of in the canon of modern filmmaking, I think, you know, although it was not critically acclaimed and it was well, you know, that thing it these are in really enduring characters. Dude, of course, is an extraordinary lifeforce character. But marijuana and.

Speaker Yes, it was it was a great play and the part.

Speaker But I mean, just that alone in just, you know, looking at your own of looking at the two of you have kind of got a long, long lot of films that you’ve made. This one is a real. It it’s great. On top of it, it’s great. It even holds up. And you look at it again. I hadn’t looked at it since it actually was.

Speaker I watched it for a while either. Now I want to watch it again. But it’s it’s a lot to be said for Joel and Ethan. The mishmash of styles that came together in the film, the detective stuff. Stay out of Bay City State or Malibu or whatever it was.

Speaker And.

Speaker He’s one of the authors of the you’re on his background as a radical.

Speaker If it’s true, he might have been a bit a writer, forgot about it. I don’t know. And as avid bowling skills, it’s a hell of a character. It really is. And he.

Speaker He really breathe life into it, ran with it. And the fact that it just cracks you up like this right now.

Speaker Well, it’s just so. It’s the hope. All of our hopes that the 60s wind up on the floor of a place and ballots will sitting in the bowling files.

Speaker At Whale Music in the best. Oh, man. And the introduction of the Balmond into the birth of a man, that’s Mark. That was of a Chris Christie character for all time. I think whatever happened to us, the American dream.

Speaker I must tell you, I had exactly when I sat and read this last night. I was laughing at sort of the same way I said, that is so hilarious to read it. And it must have been so, obviously so hilarious to do it. Yeah. How do you start from this like.

Speaker It was horrible. The most horrible time was. You didn’t wanna crack up. I don’t want to crack up in front, Jeff, because he’s such a pro show. Any weakness. But when two TERl was walking around with a sack full of birdseed between his legs.

Speaker In the tight pants.

Speaker And just like a I couldn’t look at him, but, you know, I forced myself. And that was hardest part to tour. Almost killed me. I think he took four years off my life.

Speaker I can’t. I can’t. I think. I think you’ve done it.

Speaker I mean, I no thanks. I just. I got nothing else to say except Regitze.

Speaker Anything that Jeff does, I’ll watch because he is a true actor’s actor and he’s been that way since the first time I saw him was in Fat City.

Speaker And I just and I want to be this guy. There’s no agenda, no background. He just he loves on film and it’s it’s it’s a wonderful thing to say. And he’s all the guy, right?

Speaker I know. I know a bit about that. Citizens, you bring it up because it’s an amazing, amazing thing to have that be the first. Yeah. I love the film.

Speaker And we had Soozie Tyrell was in the Best, an anonymous movie that she lost. She’d lost her legs. And Jeff, there was a first time, Jeff Sarr, since its early.

Speaker That must have been there. Yeah, it was. It was sweet. Did you see that?

Speaker Yeah. What was the first time that Jeff saw Susie Tyrell since Fitz said it was a massive. No one listened.

Speaker It was a sweet little reunion years in our city. How are you liking that performance of Jeff’s? What was it like?

Speaker I just think I’m playing emptiness and hopelessness. We’re surrounding him and the hope that he brought to everything. Just heaven. Candy Clark, that wide eyed optimism, everything’s gonna be all right. And then at the end of the picture, was still fighting a little bit. But he’s you know, he’s he’s got looks like he’s got both of his feet on the ground. And Stacy Keach is such a wreck. But. It’s it. Yeah, it’s a good blow to the solar plexus. It’s a great movie.

Speaker He told an interesting story to us about Candy Clark and Candy Clark were romantically engaged in that story in that at that time. Let’s hear it. Yeah, as last year he was telling us a little story the other day about Houston adenosine. Houston was kind of I didn’t realize at that point to Houston, this with his emphysema machine. Wow. That far better now. But, you know, he then didn’t have it and then he must have had it again.

Speaker So it must have come up and then throughout his life. Yeah, I know. I got to quit smoking. Yeah.

Speaker But he was telling a story that Houston was kind of always a little bit just like they were, you know, how much he was really paying attention, which I think Houston was also renowned for that, that he was really kind of one who let after. Yeah. And so he apparently had done to see that the producer didn’t think was great between Candy and Jeff. So afterward, I guess he sort of sent them to laugh at themselves and don’t tell John. Don’t tell. They kind of went back and did the scene again but cried.

Speaker That was a friend of mine worked for free Houston. I won’t mention the movie with a friend of mine, but the producer forced them to do a retake on something that they just finished. It was a perfect scene. It’s a cut. Let’s get out of this. I said let’s do it again. Houston Hotel.

Speaker Yeah. Yeah. Thank you, John.

Speaker Thank you. Thank you, American Masters, this from Christian and our American mistresses.

Speaker The Bluff’s scene with the Ashes. Yes. Is that improvised? All right, Nips. Nothing was improvised. There’s no no improvisation. That’s all out of Ethan and Joel, north of St.. San Pedro. We did. Yeah. There’s another line.

Speaker I thought Jeff improvised, but I can’t remember what it is. Is my brain being what it is? The Coens don’t mind it. No, it’s in rehearsal. You know, I be really sticklers for that. Do they really watch this? They go with it. You’re not going to do better than what’s on the page. It just not nobody’s that good. You can bring it up in rehearsal. But, you know, they don’t dig it. They won’t go or come up with an idea for me. Why bother? It’s everything. Everything they put on the page is gold.

Speaker Yeah. Yeah. And you went with.

Speaker Oh, yeah. I mean, I turned Ethan on to the Charles Portis.

Speaker Character in the name of the novel. But he’s just the guy that wrote True Grit. This was he 15 years ago. Yeah, I get a read there again, but it’s a lot better book. I remember.

Speaker I mean, I mean, it’s kind of interesting, we used to have.

Speaker Yeah, well, Henry Hathaway and Joel Coen. That’s weird. This is going to be where it’s going to be fun.

John Goodman
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
"John Goodman , Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides" American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). August 5, 2010 ,
(1 , 1). John Goodman , Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"John Goodman , Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides" American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). August 5, 2010 . Accessed November 27, 2022


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