Transcript:

Speaker No, he's. I mean, it's the thing I love about he's fearless. He's absolutely fearless, number one.

Speaker But there's a darkness there that broods. And that was the first thing when I first met him. Again, it was like, OK, on to exactly how it worked with with with with Fisher King. Names are being thrown at me, blah, blah, blah. I couldn't make up my mind and I was on a plane flying across. I think the States and Baker Boys was on the plane and I couldn't wait to get off the plane. I said, it's him. It's got to be Jeff. I'd always been a big fan of Jeff, so it's fantastic. But that was I said, there's nobody else in the world.

Speaker And I got off the plane and had to go through the layers of bureaucracy. And finally, you know, a summit meeting was arranged at Jeff's house. But what I liked about it is that it. I had to go to him. He had control of the situation. Interesting. I mean, he's the sweetest man on the planet, but that there was the box that I'm in that box. And what was interesting when you went into the studio, couldn't have been sweeter. Couldn't be nicer. Couldn't been more. Just genuine guy. And then he says, you ever seen this?

Speaker And he showed me a book of photographs by Joel. Peter Witkin. You know this book, joking? Well, this is the book with Black Book with a silver thin cross on it. It's I camera what is called angels or something. And you open the book and you fall into the abyss is what you do, because it is, you know, people missing limbs, heads that have been chopped up and most beautiful, disturbing, horrifying, magical photographs I've ever seen.

Speaker And it was terrifying. And that was the first thing Jeff offered me. And so here's this sweet, all-American lad suddenly in this in the depths of the most disturbing, frightening, painful, beautiful. And I thought, wow, you impressed me. Then he gets out of the good times, are playing a country song. Wait, that's something. Give away. This other side is the thing. So you sit there and, you know, he's always struck me as his golden boy.

Speaker I mean, there are moments I remember Fisher King. There was a moment when he and Mercedes in rehearsals, first kiss. And I looked into said, this is what the gods give us. This is why they're chosen. These the gods mark them for us to all look up on that big screen and say, oh, if only.

Speaker And and yet he's always thought that he was the the arrest, the noble. He was the prince in Hollywood. That he chose to go his own route. And he gets punished for that. They punish him a lot for that. He's the guy. And yet he has American Heart. Does thing or Thailand.

Speaker These are the things that the guy doesn't do.

Speaker Say, oh, you know, so I do. Yeah. So you were saying you are.

Speaker Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean, with, you know, Fisher King was actually physically was wonderful. We were. I was looking for contact sheets a couple days after we'd shot the scene where he's breaking into the mansion at the end and there's a shot. And I thought it was me in the shot and it was Jeff. And it was just burned out enough that we actually looked like brothers, probably more like brothers. And he and Bo actually looked like at the time. But that was that's beside the point. I was just one of those things I thought. Here's the guy that couldn't bring dignity to my silly ideas. He's just he gives weight to my my absurdities. He grounds them. And, oh, there's there's the future Jeff and me and so on. Twelve Monkeys. I wanted him to play the lead. And I won't name the head of the studio. It was Universal Studios. You can work it out. And he said, no way.

Speaker Is that what you mean? No way. Jeff is the V, if not the best American actors to American actors. The heart of America is there in that man, and he's brilliant. Every woman loves him. Every man is not threatened by him. I mean, it's just. Yeah. He's the he is the guy. And the head of the studio says, no, he's a jinx to movies.

Speaker Now, I didn't ask for a long explanation, but there you go. Somewhere in the mentality there is that I have a theory about this and my theory goes something like this.

Speaker It does Fisher King physically was a big hit, though. OK? And then he does. The Mirror has two faces with Barbara Streisand. The film tanks. Can you blame Barbara? Of course not. Who gets the blame? Jeff has to take the bullet. I think there's something in that. It had me off McNulty with Julia Roberts because of the way it went down.

Speaker Nick took the bullet. So that's just the way Holly was. We've got a couple women. Star is they've got to be supported at all costs. I can't think of any other reasons except that his past has not been a straight path. He chose us after well, after Fisher King does. American Heart little film in Oakland. I mean, in Oregon. What was the Sadlier little film in Seattle? You can fix that. Anything. You just get the stuff. Take them out. It'll be fine.

Speaker But I think Robin Williams put any words. You we used to talk about this.

Speaker Yes, I know. I know we will. But then what is this? There's just.

Speaker And I think his path, being his own man is what's bothered him. They haven't been able to control him. They should have been you know, they put him in stars. I mean, in huge films, Jagged Edge, I think by Jagged Edges always. I just found was amazing. At the end of that film, when the mask comes off and he's revealed to be the killer. The audience didn't believe it. In a lot of the screenings, they just refused to believe it. How could Jeff Bridges be a killer? He loved that moment.

Speaker Well, I think we I also talked to who is giving me some of the same way he did when he cast him in against all odds. Yeah, he was middling there. I mean, one does sort of forget that or one. Yeah, but it was true. He has when you look on MTV and his movies, just to look at them, just read the damn filmography and you just kind of go dancing. Who's here, who is why I'm kind of here now that this is anything that's definitive. I mean, they all going to get that six stars. No, you know, I do really great. Yeah. Now you're in the sort of middle. And you're very memorable.

Speaker That's what's good. He chooses films that are about something that's his key. I mean, it does take a paycheck occasionally. But like everyone does. But no, I just think he he's very cautious. He's very slow at deciding things about even.

Speaker I mean, when we we began working on on on Fisher King in rehearsals, you know, Robin and everybody's fast, you know, Amanda and Mercedes, the theater people. So there Jeff just sat there very slowly, deftly write things and notes, very meticulous. Well, that's what intrigues me. What he does on screen is so easy to flow. You don't think there's any acting involved.

Speaker It's all very, very carefully noted down, worked out, thought about it was only after towards the end of a two week rehearsal period that there was just one moment. And it's always that moment. I was talking about when the gods gave us these two people to kiss on screen.

Speaker And it was that and I guess and suddenly he was there. The character got at that point. And that's what intrigued me during this process. Of course, I was worried. I'm always worried because I, I make choices and then get worried because I doubt my own. Well, I don't taste my own opinions, everything. So, yeah. You say what's going on here? Because when I cast him in that besides just I wanted to work with him and seeing him, that was very important that he became an anchor in that whole movie. Particularly for Robin myself, because Robin and I float off into the stratosphere. You're just full of hot air both. We're gone. And Jeff is the thing that grounded it and grounded Robin totally. Because Robin, how funny he was. There's Jeff, this anchor, its feet just so solid on the ground. And Jeff can be so ridiculously funny as well. His comic timing is spectacular, but it it comes out of out of reality and not out of fantasy that the way Robin either talked about with me was him.

Speaker Robin is in a coma and that he'd been fighting. Robin might be saying little things to him. You're not allow him to keep you.

Speaker No, no, no. Robin respected Jeff so much. I just used to watch the two of them and say Robin's watching him the whole time. He's learning. He's trying to understand how you ground yourself in that way. And I think I think the film works because of that. It really is. I think, again, it's funny when you see films like that, you know, Mercedes, you see the Academy Award, they talk about Robin. They hardly mentioned Jeff. He is the movie. He is the thing that makes it work. And you were talking about his arrogance. I mean, when he's dancing. The scene where we've got is hair is out and he's spinning around is the coolest, hottest thing on the planet, was just it was shocking to watch him because he's always so controlled and reserved. And Sunny was just out there and terrified, absolutely terrified and wonderful. There's another scene in the film is absolutely extraordinary because it's a scene where he's after he's recovered, he's got his job back and he's got this new girlfriend wearing this big hound's tooth check outfit big. She comes into his studio and they have this scene and he's talking to her and he's kind of unbuttoning her top.

Speaker Just this is she kept blowing her lines and take em for take us what's going on here.

Speaker And I said it was getting close there today. So let's just cut it and we'll bring it up to monitor what happens.

Speaker The minute he touches me, I go blank.

Speaker I got the power that was just coming off him, not as Jeff as the character. And he has dark glasses on. It was terrifying. I remember he walked on the set the day that he was transformed into the Jack Lucas at the beginning at God. He was beautiful. He was just terrifying. It was a terrifying kind of beauty. It's like there's a character called the Metro Tom, who is the voice of God incertain cosmologies. And he's this golden figure that just stands there.

Speaker And it was like, Jeff, God, I wish I was gay because this is the guy there was these moments that I just.

Speaker And it's scary because he's doing nothing that you can see. But it's all it's just coming out from a very deep source that he's somehow found down there. And there's nothing big about it. Nothing ostentatious. It's just there. Is. You're the face of something. You're looking at the face of something extraordinary.

Speaker He said he felt was he the right guy for this? And it's true because in one sense, first of all, he said this thing about you being an American after I couldn't love one another in my part.

Speaker But he is.

Speaker Yeah, he is the quintessential American actor. He's the one you said to be the biggest star on the planet right now.

Speaker Out of all, if Hollywood do what it was doing, he when he said that this is a New York New York guy is an edgy guy in your right. He does have a blast with the way he looks at the beginning because it's so.

Speaker And he's in and he's.

Speaker Impenetrable, somehow you just see this veneer on you. And I thought that was interesting, too, because he said he sort of felt himself. God, this is a New York guy. And he's that this is a surfer guy.

Speaker Yeah, I know where he spent only our first meeting. He spent his whole time trying to talk me out of cast again. I mean, he because he didn't believe it either. What we did. There's a secret. There's a guy named Steven Bridgewater who's worked with a lot of a lot of my films, is the first film he worked on. And he basically worked with Jeff Trading. And Steven is an ex deejay. And he would put because Jeff doesn't ad lib, he'd never adlib before. He's always very script or guy. He expands things, but it's there. And Steven worked on the voice, the delivery, the timing, all of those things. And then he even said it one day, put Jeff in it in a radio station. And people were calling in their actor friends who would call again. And he had to ad lib the show. He had to do the show like that. I think it was that kind of work and he worked very hard at it. And it is such a fantastic. Love doing that. Yeah, well, he did speak faster. He did he use everything, all of his skills. And so and yet when you see it, it's just. Oh yeah. He's always been like that as me. No, he'd never been like that before.

Speaker You, by the way, aware of the fact that people are Hendaye people that he does ads for, did a knock off of the world scene in Central Park.

Speaker No, I know, but I'm watching. Many people have done this.

Speaker Back off of it is the singular with the most. Is it seen as pretty good? It's pretty good. Watching it again. And what.

Speaker And by the way, that camera that's I mean, I will it so lovely when you start, you realize that accused Robin and here isn't getting this. And you're watching them through this crowd.

Speaker It's just so Hasidic Jews that you go to. I'm with me now because when you're doing this and he's all over television with the ad, well, that's funny. So I'm hearing his voice every time I turn around.

Speaker And here's his ad suddenly with the street just opens up and everybody starts to dance and then off they go again.

Speaker At least somebody is being a little good in that group. Good to know about life. Really sad news that. No, because I'm sure he just goes in voices. Oh, that's funny. Yes, no question about it.

Speaker I like you're sort of the dynamic of Robin because you are that used to say that I also when was so completely serve the balance. And as you start watching him through a number of films you're seeing, it's it's you know, when does it realize that the power of that in and of yourself, that people are kind of moving off him jagged edges? One of them is very, you know, cut his way.

Speaker Cut his ways. Fantastic. And cut his way. It's a great film. I think it's a great film, too.

Speaker But when you really watch that film, the performance that you would that you have to identify, as you know.

Speaker And yet now, Jeff, is in that sense the most sort of gracious, generous actor out there. He never draws attention to himself. He just does the thing. And that's what amazes me because, I mean, clearly, he has an ego in there. But when it comes to acting and and being in a group, he never, you know, forces that he doesn't draw attention to himself. I think there may be something of that that comes from his relationship with Bo, because when he was younger, he always thought Bo was the great actor and he was just now just the good looking guy who was lucky enough to get the parts moving. And so there's there's a kind of younger brother quality that's in there and and also just respect. He has such respect for his parents, who is raised very well. And. And so it's not the normal kind of showbiz performer ego. It's at work there. It's a craftsman. I think it's what it is. Who's saying this is my work. This is my craft. I get this right there. And that's. And to me, it just becomes the anchor. It holds the whole thing. Wherever it goes. He's there. And it's it's a very self-effacing way of working.

Speaker Another thing that was mentioned by John Goodman actually talking about asking was how inquisitive he is, how curious he is.

Speaker And users seem to see things. Notetaking is new. Yeah. And so I said to Goodman, I said, what was that? Great. Actually, no, it's completely annoying. It's a pain in the ass because he kept asking questions. Yeah.

Speaker I know. There's there's there's quality there. I mean, the first time I began to think that, Jeff, I thought, here's this guy and I don't understand him anymore because he's saying he's perfect. He's got everything going. And yet he keeps nit picking at all these things. And I don't know if it's if it's coming from some kind of insecurity that's in there that that he doesn't see himself, maybe. And if he can find enough details of the character that he's supposed to be playing, then that's it. And he doesn't exist. I don't know. There's I've never talked to him about it. But I mean, we were doing tidelands. His work on how a junkie reacts to as is the heroin. Hits him. He just worked with a guy and on the days we shot him shooting up, the guy was there who's now in Mexico. And he said, oh, God made me feel what it was like. I just I just wanted to hit again. I mean, he really it was so convincing that a real junkie just couldn't believe it. Because Jeff just was imbued with the whatever the drug does to you. I mean, I know nothing about heroin except I just saw it. Jeff did. And I believed every second of it. And it's like. But it was that. It was that it was it was the ex junkie on the other side sidelines. I want to fix it.

Speaker Feels that good. Bradfield is a corpse in.

Speaker I have to say, Wendy.

Speaker When you watch that film and you saw it, you sort of think to yourself, Yeah, why couldn't you just keep Maroun? Where are these people?

Speaker I mean, I know you love your dad like that. I mean, everybody I just knew last year and I could have beaten up, you know, got him lacher him up.

Speaker But this stuff is very kind of thought out.

Speaker I mean, that was it when I said, Jeff, that I can't remember. I said of the Book of the Scriptures. And he was just there because it actually I think it dealt with this.

Speaker Peter, what can Joel Peter Witkin world, the very dark, twisted side that's in inside there, that Kajang needs an outlet and some. This is perfect. And he I mean, he was so happy. I mean, is is because we made a dummy because I didn't know if he really would sit there through all of that. And, you know, again, like always, oh, we've only got X number of days because we're paying no money for the thing. He's got other things. But once Jeff was there, he wasn't the dummy. It's Jeff sitting there and he like detail about I think the tongue should be more bloated, you know. And there was a false tongue in it. All of his stuff. It is. I think what I really loved was doing these takes because they were quite long, long takes and the girls crawling all from he's wearing his shirt that's open here so you can see his chest. And I said, you can't it can be any movement. It's going to be no eyes, nothing. Everything has got to be absolute still. Otherwise, we'll. And he would do. I mean, he's takes would be like a couple minutes long at least. And he'd come out of them like a deep sea diver.

Speaker Oh, that was interesting that time. It's like he'd gone into some Zen place, some other world, that he was so calm. And I just loved watching him do this. Hey, I don't know. I think we all Jeff is one of those actors that the whole crew sits there and their jaws keep dropping because it's not showy. It's just he's it's real. And in a situation where you're shooting, where everything is artificial, false equipment, and that's just real, he just that was a real moment. And it's always like that with him.

Speaker What is anything is interesting, too. He's always up against the great actors. I mean, on one hand, when you say he's kind of boring, one doesn't sort of go, wow, he's a great actor.

Speaker No, I think that's it. I think great actors tend to be people who let you know their acting is what they do. I mean, showy parts. I mean, I remember the Fisher King Robin when we started out. He was very unhappy because he had done the film The Narrow Awakenings and he thought was the best performance he ever done is very controlled. And, you know, of course, DeNiro got the notice because he had the tics, the twitches and all that. And I said, Robin, here's your chance. You get the tics in twitches. And that's what you're gonna get nominated.

Speaker And it is true. I mean, was it would you would you would often, I think. And yet, look, who it is is different doing tics and twitches. Is it Robin Williams? It's yeah.

Speaker It's Glenn Close.

Speaker It's you know, interestingly enough, that you speak about bigger voice. I mean, Michelle Pfeiffer, I guess, was the one in that one. That was to me, Jeff as well. Yeah. But she was the one who got Jeff. Oh, brilliant. Absolutely. Again, this very you know, this various constant line of him against extraordinary forces, I think a lot of times in these films.

Speaker But see, that's why if we were in Hollywood, you know, 50 years ago or earlier, it would've been different because he's he is that he anchors all of this.

Speaker You could put him in anything and he'll take you through it. He's kind of our guide. He's our alter ego that is there.

Speaker And we don't notice him because we're in the middle of the movie thanks to him. And he's not there because we're there. And it's a I think that's what happens. But he he used to just always make me laugh because physically he does things. I mean, it's it's not just from inside or dialogue. What effect? His whole body acts. And there's moments in Fisher King where, you know, Robin is scurrying around plays and Jeff is going to follow me, does most subtle and funny physical movements. It just had me in hysterics.

Speaker And he's also completely and that's how that guy would have been. That guy's kind of I'm convinced he's got this madman on his hands. And then he realized, oh, my God, this is because of me. So he's got this he does have this kind of weight. Yeah. And he also had some dread. And yet some wanted to make it right. Wanted to get redeemed here. And you're right. It really shows in his body language is as it interesting.

Speaker And I think, again, moment at the beginning of the film, we're talking about him dancing. And also when he's in the bathtub covered with sort of green facemask with cucumbers on his eyes. A lot of his ideas, he's just going for it. And then the moment when, boom, he realizes this, this massacre is his fault. The look on his face is just you gasp because it hurts you.

Speaker It's absolutely true, because when you suddenly look at this and go, this just blew him out of that one. It wasn't this guy's a mess. This was I did this. It was exactly at the moment of everything. At the end of it, it's over there. And so there that you don't know. Yeah. He even he didn't act like you might have expected him to act.

Speaker And he realizes you realize this is his own demise.

Speaker Well, I think that that was the fun with with with Fisher King.

Speaker I mean, putting that that cast was extraordinary because they all pulled in very, very different ways. It's a forehand. Well, five, four, two 1/2. And Michael Jaedicke is stealing stuff.

Speaker This is that was my goal, which is brilliant. May give much stage as well. So York. Yeah, he is.

Speaker So you have this kind of perfect storm of people.

Speaker And I know I know. The thing about them is they all were deeply scarred people. They were all flawed. And and I just want to stretch and pull the pain and still at the same time make a Hollywood movie. You know, it's still got full of life and everything.

Speaker But and and so to me, it's just stretching the limits, what a character does from these heights to its depths. And and that and that was the fun part. And everybody was, you know, agreed to do it and everybody supported each other in that little game. And that was that was one of the nicest films I've ever worked on because of that. Because it wasn't full of facts and things. Big things. It was just for. Really great actors together.

Speaker And he also, I think, feels in his sails a number of times now in my conversations with him. What really works for him is the feeling that he can do that. He's in an environment where he's welcome and exploiters, certainly, or he's open to all of it. And so he finds, I think, that he's also using the most fertile field is when his window when he can actually find himself in that.

Speaker Oh, it's funny, though, is it? Because maybe they cast Jeff because, you know, sort of solid, safe guy when in fact he's actually very dangerous. And that's what I like about him, because. Because he's fearless. I mean, if we've got to go there, let's just go there. I don't care what happens. Let's see what when we get there, we'll find out that there there's no question.

Speaker I mean, we've I've seen evidence of that, too. We did. It isn't the kind of fun with him. He's you know, he's an artist. You know, he also embodies all of these other rather remarkable traits. And I've been wanting to do that sort of copying that Mr. Picasso thing with plexiglass.

Speaker And he and I think he was saying, hey, how are we going to do that? I mean, he has been the same way with me, the extent that he would be in this. And we actually created this shot. We could we set it up. And he at first I thought what I'm going to do is ask him, you know, how these little characters are doing. I thought, well, at first I'm just going to have him do this and we'll animate the character off of this thing. And your character can kind of show up and listen to people and be kind of the guy throughout the film. Suddenly he takes hold of this thing. He had drawn me first elaborate, which is one of his most beloved.

Speaker Sort of what I want to call it, motifs or something conceits.

Speaker Then we wipe it all off and we sort of start again. I sort of said, well, see?

Speaker Thank you, didn't give me then I thought, why am I doing this? Completely give it out. Somebody starts throwing paint on it. Really?

Speaker This thing went in and became I know you totally became involved with it, using his arm, using his elbow, using his hand.

Speaker And it went from sort of drawing a line before his body was doing this kind of strange. Still ends up being his whole family risk family.

Speaker You know, it was really something about watching you do it.

Speaker Well, it's like watching anything with Jeff. I mean, we work on costumes, Jay Fisher King, for example. I mean, same thing with Tyler. We take days. We try on this. We try. That is just slowly trying to find out who this guy is, what the character is.

Speaker The clothes start telling you things about them. I mean, there was a moment in Fisher King. We'd gotten mostly clothes set up and hit his hair, pulled back in a bun, but a bit hung down.

Speaker And I said that we keep that. And so it's it's this very mannered thing that you'll see it. It's like that. He immediately got the idea that just. Oh, yeah, this is really mannered little character.

Speaker I would have I in this TV thing. Let's see these guys hear me in here. We did first upset because of what you're saying.

Speaker I wouldn't have been with them a couple of years and I just kind of wanted that. Jeff, natural bit of clothes. You look good. You know, don't worry about don't over worry this.

Speaker Next thing I know as he watches you make it. Which is great. You know, to Mars, by the way. To Mars. No. Buster Keaton. That was the first to sit down. And then this time I was on a movie we had to else. So we're there. She's very carefully. We start to do this, paving things. She's standing here and he. Same thing. Not as long as here with the hair found when she walked over to him.

Speaker No, no, no. Don't touch. We enough. So now you understand that this is of course. So artistic. Exactly.

Speaker His is it. I think what I loved about Crazy Heart that he gets out of the station wagon, the beginning in there is his got hang out and his belt undone. And that's got to be Jeff. I said you just won the Academy Award. That that moment, because it's that kind of observation was a bet that wasn't in the script. I bet that was him. You're driving. You're in the thing. You're. You got it. Got speed belt. Okay, listen, you take the top button's off. And he walked out of the car like that. And I just thought, oh, God, you're wonderful.

Speaker Really? Without vanity works where I. Yeah.

Speaker Anybody play? He'll go against it. He'll go both ways. I think it's about, I think the big, bigger artists that he probably would say I'm an artist now. No artists are ego maniacs and all that.

Speaker So why not go for it? It's he is what is wonderful about his is is is utter technical brilliance because there's it at the end of a Fisher King. He you know, there's a moment where he comes up, say sorry to admit this, basically to Mercedes and it's a profile. And he says, you know, because God says, don't worry, I'll just suck it up. And he does. I mean, so he can be so into the moment and yet have the technical, you know, observatory working up there. It's like, oh, hold that in. Well, I'm doing everything else. And he loves that. It's almost there is another thing about him with with Marc. I thought he would like a Zen actor.

Speaker Here is another thing with with Jeff when you're shooting. No, normally if someone's talking frame is this is the frame and blah, blah, blah. They talk like that. You don't normally put people like that. The French do, but the rest of the civilized world does this talk like this? Bye bye, Bob. And then when you turn, the cameraman normally adjusts. So it's like that. Hello. Goodbye. Hello.

Speaker Goodbye. Jeff would do it himself. He made it up and he would go there. The cameraman never had to move the camera. He knew exactly the frame. It's like when he takes his photographs is his big 180 degree once he's up like this.

Speaker And then you look at the picture that somehow he saw the image, even though it was like this doing it, that this we would know a shot where he's gonna say, us run, run fifty feet and stop on a dime, use wide angle lenses and you've got to be really precise. Otherwise it distorts and it's awful. He would hit his mark like that and he'd be running at full pace and hit a mark like that. And that's what's extraordinary to me, to be that utterly brilliant with the technical side of filmmaking. And he will cheat. Does all sorts of wonderful chemical cheats and things. And with some not going, don't talk about any of these things. I might talk about drugs. I'm talking about things you can do makeup wise and all. And they're just. He knows them all.

Speaker Well, I think. Say he will use it. Is he going to let me make this film?

Speaker I think there is a perfectionism in him that you're. I think he does not want this to be. He wants to control that. He doesn't want to be a decimal point off anyway way. And if he and if if he can be the person to take care of that, he's sure to do it. He doesn't want to. I think. Yes.

Speaker That's right. And I think because I think he's been probably over the years put in positions where he's, you know, things have the wrong cut there. And he knows it. And you get like that after a while.

Speaker Hit me with that shooting. This because he's been using this for failings of cameras. We've been using actually two canons and then a white check camera with him. And one of them, we've been shooting infrared, which, by the way, if you need any type of tidelands remakes, he looks dead. And these. That's good. That is so weird. But we make we may pull a comb out because it can look kind of black and white issue.

Speaker But we were there and, you know, even in this. He says and, you know, Alan is his great friend. I want to talk about a bit also about the Goodwin Kulunga. But he said he to me. You sit here and believe me, I'm the first person to say I could never be doing what I ask of people, anybody. And he and he's because every time anybody would move, the focus is going crazy. And this happens in both situations. And he said, I can't move. You can't do this because I'm seeing it all and it's distracting me. So I sat down and he's in all of this. And he said, if anybody moves here, I see it here. I see it. And so it is it's extremely important for him to be sure that in no way is he betrayed by any of that.

Speaker Correct. Yeah. I think it's how we developed all these skills is what intrigues me.

Speaker I mean, obviously, with a father like Lloyd Bridges, he was had all of his father watched it all. His mother is a very strong lady, both being older. You know, Bo was a football player, everything.

Speaker And Jeff is that it's hard to imagine. I can just see Jeff is the little kid. You're looking at all of this and winning one day, maybe be something, you know, maybe half as good as any of them. And he saw he work twice as hard.

Speaker I gotta tell you something quite exciting. And he said that he is here with you actually to just talk to people. And apparently this had been in the original introduction. You must think it out about how he felt that he never wanted to eclipse his father. I think that's right. He always wanted to go back to the photography, the painting, a lot of things that didn't even the music allowed and then sort of out he didn't do until after death, after Lloyd had died. And but, David, you actually said that he had already eclipsed you.

Speaker Yeah, I know. My dad ever been. Yeah. Except nobody doesn't remember Lloyd Bridges. Nobody does it. No. See.

Speaker It's all on the other hand.

Speaker And this isn't to me that Lloyd always felt that he kind of never quite achieved it, that he never quite well, that Lloyd didn't achieve or Jeff didn't achieve it.

Speaker Lloyd Wright, it always felt he didn't ever quote you to people who as well. Lots of rules, no things.

Speaker But it's it's interesting now to be us in this.

Speaker I can see that. I mean, Lloyd, as a movie star, was never a TV star. And then he ended up in all the airplanes, which is wonderful. He's brilliant. So and then Jeff became a movie star, a bigger one than his father.

Speaker Bigger one than his brother. Yeah, I know.

Speaker So it puts Jeff in a very interesting position, having not wanted any of that. And it's he's achieved it by not wanting it. That's isn't that nice.

Speaker I think one could just say what you said. People have got. Well, that's what we did.

Speaker Yeah. You can't. And any just now. Oh, look at that. This has got to be up there and say no. And why was it cut his way? Was that what we're seeing? The other one was Clint Eastwood, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Oh, that was the one that actually.

Speaker It was a big leap in my appreciation of Jeff in that movie. I was just blown away by what he had done. It was so it was such a painful movie to watch. And they were both wonderful in it. But Jeff just broke my heart. It's just amazing.

Speaker Did you see about this? True Grit. And when we started talking about Clint, because I'm going to get him in. And then we went, oh, it was Jimmy. You do it. Then you might be thinking.

Speaker Can you imagine, Jeff? Yeah.

Speaker I mean, if Clint had done two great times, are doing this to would not be making it first film, but then you have this sort of kind of filmmaking that Clint is never directing and which is to me that's really it really hasn't is right.

Speaker It's really funny. It's funny. But like I actually thought Clint had directed it. That's what's weird. I just Pale Rider was on last night.

Speaker I was watching a movie. Did you guys do anything to it? How much of the.

Speaker But some of those I think you'll see that's the thing. What's direction? I mean, I don't know what direction is mean. You're mine. My thing is that I have an idea to try to get it up on film. You bring all these people together. But the way things happen in a film, especially for the actors, is a combination of who you put them. We have how it all works. You don't say I didn't direct Jeff. I directed a movie that Jeff was in and he was taking from Mercedes, from Rob and everything and giving back. And and that's in this dialogue between all of us that make the thing happen.

Speaker So, yeah, I'm sure Clint had a huge effect on Jeff's performance and Thunderbolt and Lifebook had to say yes at that time of his life.

Speaker I know totally. I mean, had they done Heaven's Gate yet at that point, know Heaven's Gate followed, was it? So then we obviously got with Camino like true enough to do that. You think I mean, there's a whole vast array of films that people have all forgotten about The Jeffersons.

Speaker I mean, it amazes me how once we start talking about I think I also think about these films that now come around several years later, you said, wow, this is an. Some of this was that know of recent shackled with all the superstitions of Hollywood and how what happens on a film that the artistic merits and what actually ultimately ends up there. But the other interesting thing that I do know is that, again, I think this is when you concentrate to screen this stuff.

Speaker He has five Oscar nominations. Three first time directors and last picture shows only Bogdanovich's second film, really. And John Carpenter is the one veteran and their star man. So you think about that. That's kind of interesting. Odds just approved. That's just amazing.

Speaker Yeah, well, it's obviously people. Well, let's assume for your first time director, you're taking a chance or you make your film is going to be more. It's not gonna be as mainstream as it might be. I don't know. Depends on who it is. It's odd, though. What he's made a lot of first time director look very good, as all I can say.

Speaker And the lucky. And, yeah, they get it. But then there's the guys. Yeah. There's a John Eustace's couple. There's, you know, I mean, there's the Coens Topolsky.

Speaker And that this is funny, I use this word baseline and Robin Williams would be ISIS.

Speaker And I actually went to see this in jazz. He used the bass that used bass.

Speaker That's very nice. It's actually Le Basket was the one that just didn't do the starring role in.

Speaker That was Jeff. And everything. That is Jeff. But it's not chef. It's it's a wonderful version of Jeff, is what that is. But relax and just brilliant. And you think there's the side of Jeff that you look at the basket that is him, you just lose in life and it all comes easy. But the reality of Jeff is just the opposite is a man who's very precise word soul out. That's what's wonderful. A good man.

Speaker What do you mean?

Speaker And I guess what the things he always asked on that set was the. Hey, just just smoke a joint. Is it just me? Has it resonated? They just burned one. I think this is express. Yeah. Yeah. OK. And then you.

Speaker No, no, no, no, no.

Speaker It is, it is a must have this list in his head that just this all worked it out very carefully and and he needs it. That's what I'm intrigued by, that he needs it. Well I don't think he needs it at all. I think it's so much there. But he thinks he needs it, which is critical. It's it's it's it's it's dumbo's further. He doesn't need it. He can fly. He's brilliant.

Speaker But I think it is that you need this between you. Let's be sure he's not even himself.

Speaker Yeah. I mean, there were there were times I mean, I'm visiting and there's one thing I'm trying to get him to do. And he said, well, you can show me. Jeff, I can't do it. So I can't really do it. I can do something roughly like it, but that's all I can do, because what you do is so for me, perfect.

Speaker And any found that difficult? I think really hard emotional scenes were interesting because he really worked at them. And sometimes, you know, there's always that moment and emotional scenes that you're not quite there.

Speaker Got it. And then gone too far. It's always a fine line. I've watched that with emotion, with Robin watching so many people. And usually they're the ones that are least good at spotting when they've hit it because they're trying so hard.

Speaker They're trying to find things inside that will cause them anguish or whatever, and they kind of get it without knowing they've got it. And I guess that's the editor and the director's job is to be the ones to protect them from when they're acting.

Speaker You know, just again. Robin Williams, it's stunning.

Speaker It's stunning. Right. There is a. Robin, when he saw that cut together, he was so angry with me. He called me. His diary was the best acting I've ever done. And you're on Amanda? That's right, Robin. That tier that's just slowly welling up. We don't need to see Robin. We know the effect of what you're doing. And really. But and I did it. I had to talk him down. He was really pissed off.

Speaker He wouldn't be ourselves. No, it's the effect is the important thing. And she was just it's a great scene. And then it turns. And when Robin turns down, when she goes in and then it fractures. It's just horrible.

Speaker Yeah, it's me. You also point out something and I just think is so extraordinarily to say, this is making me think these actors are the same people in films.

Speaker You sort of think I'll be the camera wasn't on me and I. I only remember that. I never seem to see very well. And I and I definitely see your face, but I saw him in the scene, too, because then when you start talking about the effects of the audio and these things and all the effects of the effects of things.

Speaker No, absolutely. It's totally memorable.

Speaker Yes. It's no, he's there. Is there enough? And his affect is incredibly powerful. Enough.

Speaker Enough is extraordinariness because he was.

Speaker Well, that's what Robyn's problem is. He feels he has to give more. I mean, again, this a credible feeling that he's got a fan base and they want to see more and he's getting paid all this money and he should work harder for it.

Speaker I mean, there's a there's a wonderful kind of Protestant ethic floating around and someone like Robin and he's got to give more. And I said, no, Robin, we're way past you, but you need to give. And that's that's why Jeff was the one that made that movie. I mean, I think he should get maybe credit for directing Fisher King because he did.

Speaker And he will see what gets him.

Speaker Really gets Robin ready to go up and go to this dinner that you did tell me about to do, because it is so and tell me a little bit about it. I do see it.

Speaker That scene when the two of them were just, you know, in a way every. Because you do feel it kind of gives over to him and lets him control him and tell him what to do.

Speaker Yeah. And I know there was that was the relationship that was crucial to the whole thing. It was about.

Speaker There's so many things about Jeff being unable to embrace physically people. And I think that's why I did things were and it's a slow development. That is when Robin outside the mansion, when he said, this is the red knight goes into a fit. And Jeff has got to try to hold him. And then later, after they've run around Central Park, we've got Michael Jita. So the next thing is in a hospital with a gay guy all boarded up and Jeff is in a painter with him holding him like Christ. And it was all of those little things. But it was it was that I, Jeff and I had seen when Robin starts having a fit, his physicality again, Robin is just all over the place. And Jeff doesn't know what to do it for us. It's it's it's that clumsiness of not wanting to. But this is a terrible thing when you embrace somebody you've given over and. And, you know, and the character doesn't want to do that. He doesn't want to be connected to that. To Robin like that. Yes. You got I mean, that scene wasn't like that in the book. In the script. It was just basically, Robin, that. Oh, I see. A Red Knight ran after him. I said, none of this is absolute critical. This is a moment where the two have to actually touch, become something and see.

Speaker You see him as a warm man, a warm up man as a man in terms of thinking about emotional scenes.

Speaker Because even in the 80s, I actually thought rather to to him, you know, just make this up also from me.

Speaker Well, it isn't. I was one of my favorite scenes in the movie. It's one long take. It's a very long when she after things like going back and she comes out there, she's in her dressing gown, they're happy again. She she's talking about all the things that I do. And he's already on the phone to his new his agent with a new job. And now that scene is a killer, because I had planned one way. This where I was learning to love actors, lead me and direct me. And it just all set up and said, let's rehearse it. And Mrs. Kim has it now. It's got to be. It's gotta be on, chef. I was on her at the beginning. Now it's Jeff. And she's the one that doesn't. So we see what he's big. He's changed and she doesn't see it. I mean, eventually she gets it. But that's why the scenes is really good. I didn't want to cut it at all. Just hold on him on the phone. His body language, everything is just saying I'm moving on and she doesn't see it.

Speaker You so follow that. So I don't know. I mean, I think Jeff to me is always really warm. I mean. There probably is something, this protective thing that's there. That's it's always a little thing there. But we just loving me. I mean, he's just great when he comes in. I'll tell you what was wonderful on Thailand. He arrives in Regina, Saskatchewan, near arrives, and I introduce him to Joe Dell, who's going to be playing his daughter.

Speaker And he's brought toys along. He's brought little games along. And as it does come in my trailer. She didn't know he's a movie star or any of the things she's the guy he's going to be acting with. And he immediately became a father. Play these little games. Come on. That's that's real warm.

Speaker Pluming.

Speaker Well, he's not sentimental. It's what he isn't. He doesn't give you the cheap stuff. He gives you real stuff.

Speaker But I think he was great with kids. I mean, look at the growing stuff. You know, this this child, by the way, exquisite Hollywood never even called after that film.

Speaker They didn't offer anything. She finally is gone. I mean, she's probably 13 or 14 now, but she was nine and a half then whatever. Here in Hollywood, nobody. Did she get nominated, right? No, no. I mean, I.

Speaker I get very angry about the world that we're supposed to be all part of it, since this is disgusting not to recognize the talents of that child.

Speaker But the thing I was going to say, go back to your movies.

Speaker I do see that it's the woman man aspect that I think is his.

Speaker Wow. We all sexy. Great. How it's always somehow feels when you start what you get with the guys all the time. And it's like he is alive to a little bit. By the way, he's got these ideas. And Susan of course, but he and great obviously love his mother. But there's something about I want to talk to you a little bit about you. I know he likes to get his guys on things.

Speaker Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, what can I say? Why can't I say his name is just stupid? Normal aphasia dummy is first guy.

Speaker No, no, no. This is double O Lord Jesus. This is I mean, I just emailed them recently. Lloyd's always there. And Lloyd's one of the guys, Chris. Yeah, well, Christian and John came down because Jeff was playing music and I'd never met them before. But we were first talking about songs. And I thought Jeff's plays. And he said, oh, this friend of mine who's written some really good songs. And so as it was used one and that was one of John's songs. And then Chris was there and that was great. But that was just, you know, for so long, he's wanted to be this country Western singer. And he had done albums and everything. That's so wonderful. I get an Academy Award for doing it. That's great. Give him all the things he wanted to get one Academy Award for his big country singer because he's always wanted to do that.

Speaker John writes these songs and Jeff plays them. And I was it was it was it was wonderful. And they weren't. They didn't hang around that long. Lloyd is always there. But normally, actually, on the other end, Fisher King Lloyd was the only one there. Wasn't Christopher John involved?

Speaker I met them both, you know, John. And they both join me. And John found actually I'm on the street yesterday and my phone rings and it's John's. And I found the video that you guys apparently made when they recorded in Hollywood. Is there one? I know. I look. I've never seen this, but I have to calling the film Van Gogh in Hollywood. Oh, that's nice. Is it kind of works. And then it comes back around in a film. On the other side for time.

Speaker That's actually quite interesting because he is. It's interesting. I mean, I can't I can't work out with Jeff is. I don't know, there's there is there's a limit, and I think the thing with with women, I think is it's because he knows it's so easy. It's maybe too easy. And also, you know, he's married, he's got kids. And he's and he's I think he's thinking his own parents, he's thinking whatever Ed Lloyd was like. But his mother was his mother who is you know, you wouldn't want to betray your mother. It may be that I don't know. I mean, I've never talked to her, but I just never thought much about it just. But there's there may be something there. And I think it's just this respect is utter incredible, you know, and undying respect for his parents and that family. And, you know, that relationship. And I think he would be very nervous about threatening his family relationship in any way.

Speaker She really being sort of one of you, you know, interviews and how my brother would be said working with people, you know. Yes. Extraordinary quality. And it comes out.

Speaker Well. And Jeff understands his support team on film, makeup, hair, all those people, everybody. He couldn't be more of a gentleman. And and he's aware of it. But his job, which, again, people love because they realize he's not just some airy fairy actor. He understands what I do, what I do. And I am an appreciates. That's important.

Speaker I don't even get can Jeff sex life, Michelle Pfeiffer. Come on.

Speaker How can anybody in we have the whole crew. It's probably all over, Michelle. No, we can't even say that because she's a mother.

Speaker She was.

Speaker She was great. I mean, the chemistry there, you can see it on screen.

Speaker I mean, there may be something you know, that's the thing that if I understand that sort of fear of of of of in any way causing ructions within the family unit because it's so easy. I mean, director films, that's all.

Speaker It's the easiest thing on the planet. And so you've got to and so maybe you just learn to stop. OK. I'll go there. And that's the end of it.

Speaker And also talk about the 80s.

Speaker No, it was in Thailand. It's that is a very fact.

Speaker You married. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker Of course. Yeah. Yes. The child is completely in the middle of all of that. You so completely lost this child.

Speaker But the citizenry it's I mean, that's why I could never be a good actor. Because if you're having you do a love scene with somebody and you've got to throw yourself at it totally. And I wouldn't know how to stop.

Speaker Maybe you don't know how to start. Maybe. Maybe there's that, too.

Speaker But I mean, I know that ever since I started, it's quite easy. And what is it? That's what's that's what's scary.

Speaker I just think that's what I mean when I said, yes, it is is palpable chemistry. Make boys you know, we say these is not in this. No, no, no. Extraordinary. Yeah. Once again, it's easy with someone like Michelle, you know, it's not easy with them. Right.

Speaker And that's I mean, so they really aren't. There's only one or two moments in there that are anything and not much. It's a Kisner pick up, go to the door and the next time it's moved on. I mean, he's much sexier with his new girlfriend in the in his studio.

Speaker He's much sexier there because he's he's just exuding it.

Speaker And it's about that's about power and control. And and that's interesting because, you know, we're talking about just trying to control things when he allows himself to take all of that arm and just it's there. He knows how to do it. And it comes off very easy. I think, Jeff, why spend so much of his time controlling this incredible talent? This is this furnaces can spew things out in all directions the whole time. I think he's just back there holding it. I can't be better than my father. I can be better. My brother can't be. I've got to be had because he can do anything. I do think he's there's no limit to Jeff.

Speaker You know, I think.

Speaker Yeah. Just the way it just the way you said that. I think he does.

Speaker You feel you feel that he that he if he unharnessed all that and you're absolutely right. I think that those moments when he's just really like that are few and far between.

Speaker And the fact that it's when he allows himself to really I think I accept that. Yes, he's confident. Yes. He says yes, he's that.

Speaker And so he perhaps is rather more like, you know, more awkward moments because it keeps him. I don't know. You keep there. I think I guess people are probably afraid of their power. Maybe he does have some fear or some fear that maybe.

Speaker I mean. I mean, I think, again, I know the others.

Speaker I don't be very interesting. Put him in a very different part. Anything somebody who's never, ever, ever even come close in to see what happens. I mean, he.

Speaker And I just I mean, I love to be making more movies with Jeff, I got to find the thing and all of the things I'm doing at the moment just not right for him. But it's a I think that's what True Grit is going to be, a really good one. I just don't want one chef to have ended up being just the old the old John Wayne. He won't be. He should. Did you know. Come on, McCarthy Blood Meridian. I just want Jeff to do that. It was so terrifying. There's a character called the judge. That nominee. But Tommy Lee Jones or have you by Damián. Interesting if Jeff was doing one of those kinds of roles to see how he would deal with it.

Speaker You can't go more against.

Speaker Yeah, but there are several things that he could connect to connect to. He's a good guy. Yeah, exactly. Exactly, yeah. I mean, he just was that. And I think what he what I loved was his utter frustration with his life. Jennifer Tilly and everything and just not knowing how to deal with it. And then the drugs work. And I that that character. I would have liked to done maybe the prequel of that character, how it became it became him. And that would be a really good thing for Jeff to take on the story about.

Speaker Just do it again. When he was about to do what he had done things before Lubarsky that were also not exactly your most, you know, stand up, stand up guy. Kind of. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker But apparently, I don't know if it was sort of the point at which now his daughters were in school and in their life. But he talked about this with them because this is going to be, you know, pot smoking.

Speaker You ever die and, you know, how are they going to feel about this? And he was he says, you know, they all said we go. We tell a. But he already done.

Speaker And now reports like that. That's pretty. I mean, to the end. So it wasn't exactly like.

Speaker Also, it's just not I mean, I just I just I try to look at his career and compared to his age of his children in the family and see if the choices relate to him being as good a father as Lloyd was to him, maybe. I don't know.

Speaker I certainly think he's biased. Yeah.

Speaker I went to see you by first time directors, and then when she's in the hands of seasons, you do see a difference there.

Speaker Is very interesting. And I think it's maybe just knowing him a little bit that I know him now. I see the parts where you could say, oh, Jeff told them what to do. Oh, that's not told yet. And I never, you know, in a sure hand. Yeah, sure.

Speaker Here or I'm more experienced here. Yeah. It isn't just a decimal point. The bar is slightly higher. He's a little it's a little more interesting. He steps up to it in a different, slightly different way at least.

Speaker This has been wraps that way. It might be true because if you're with somebody is an experience. The trick with it, with a more experienced director is you just don't say how little you know. That's the difference. Keep your mouth shut. Let them think you're in charge. You know, you're doing it. And they come up with good ideas. Then you take credit for it.

Speaker You don't think, oh, my age.

Speaker And I was reading The New Yorker. They're doing a big thing about John Cage's music. Right? One minute. Forty thirty three.

Speaker That John Cage. Yeah.

Speaker Where, you know, you see where I'm going with this, where, you know, it's like it's the famous piece where he just.

Speaker Doesn't play anything right? I don't know that. Yeah, I know it's there. Well, ever since then, it took me 40 years to learn how to do nothing. I was thinking like that performance as a dead person, like an equivalent to that. That's where. That's where.

Speaker Minimalism is that we're told me.

Speaker Yeah. How do you just know? But I think I think that's what was so funny about Jeff, that he was enjoying the process of doing absolutely nothing to be dead, absolute nothing. But he was doing something. I mean, he was imagining deaths or he was imagining, you know, a nothingness. It wasn't. Let you just sit quietly.

Speaker You go into a world and that's what he was doing. I never asked him what was going on down there. But it was it was wonderful. And again, it was him that said, no, I'll I'll do it. I will stay there. I will I will stay a couple extra days. And so she will not be crawling over a piece of fiberglass body. And I mean, and then things started growing out of it. I mean, he tongue back and peanut butter, all those things which you couldn't have done with a dummy.

Speaker And he didn't look as he started to come to those scenes where he was sitting there, you could actually say, yes, it's more days where decaying.

Speaker And we did. I mean, and he was very. This is the kind of detail I mean, I'm the same fetishist with detail. But it's the same thing. No, no. It should be more. We was trying to work out how much you would decay and how much you wouldn't. It was very subtle. Had to be done. Right.

Speaker And it's an. I don't know.

Speaker I think it's a wonderful thing to be a dead father with your daughter making you up. It's still it's still caring about your after your dad.

Speaker This is actually for her not to feel. Oh, yeah. She was stepping on something that at least once was.

Speaker Yeah. And then give there. And I don't know, that's that's why he gets all that.

Speaker I see. That's what's so nice working with with great actors. They fill in all the blanks. You haven't quite worked out. And they and they pull you in directions that. Oh know, you didn't. I mean, I think when he comes in the door.

Speaker Ma'am, I'm I'm I'm back. I think I care where the line is. And I thought it's Burton Gilliam. Remember Burton Gilliam, Burton Gilliam, the only other Gilliam image in show biz he was one of. It was in Blazing Saddles.

Speaker He was always a huge smile, lots of teeth. And he isn't this huge, massive grin. And I swear, Jeff, probably at the back of his mind was thinking, Burt Gilliam is it just did it. And it's probably. And it's this huge teeth. Big mouth. Hey, Mama, I'm home.

Speaker Get me that connection, too. Yeah.

Speaker But it's those that's the subtleties there. That's why he's so smart that he knows all this stuff. And so when he adds a little element, it I think I think what happens where a good relationship really works. He'll add an element and I will comment on it. I recognize the little element of what it is. I read everything I how clever and smart he is. And then we that's how the dialogue works. We're still both kind of impressing each other. The hold up. And that's where the fun starts.

Speaker By the way, the GOP actually does me a lot to tell you this, but it was like the test.

Speaker I think he gave that to me.

Speaker He says, you know, what you see here is this lovely house, lovely family. Here's a guy who sits in, strums his guitar. Everything is lovely. What do you think? This part of the guy and I assume it was like you actually. Well, I'd never seen Pipkins work before, and I just. Oh, my God, I can't believe this. And, yeah, I understand exactly why Jeff likes it. Why? Why people like it. Because it's utterly beautiful. But it is all over. Our fears are suddenly they're made beautiful in a strange way.

Terry Gilliam
Interview Date:
2010-10-08
Runtime:
1:02:56
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
N/A
MLA CITATIONS:
"Terry Gilliam, Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 08 Oct. 2010, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/591
APA CITATIONS:
(2010, October 08). Terry Gilliam, Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/591
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Terry Gilliam, Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). October 08, 2010. Accessed May 22, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/591

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