UPDATE – No update, really, just wanted to make sure the people who weren’t here yesterday would still see this.
The latest Rolling Stone has a fantastic article on the 10th anniversary of The Big Lebowski, detailing how it evolved into a cult phenomenon. As a thanks to RS, you should check out their interview with Steve Buscemi, who assures us that hearing “Shut the f-ck up, Donny” never gets old, and you’re totally original for saying that. Anyway, some fun tidbits from the article include: The story of how Jeff Bridges wasn’t the Coens’ first choice for The Dude.
When they wrote the script, the Coens didn’t have any particular actor in mind for the Dude. But one name came up early: Mel Gibson, then one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. …But Gibson didn’t take the pitch too seriously, and the Coens moved on with their Dude search, inviting Jeff Bridges to a meeting at the Broadway Deli in Santa Monica.
There, Ethan laid out the story of Lebowski and described the character of the Dude as someone who just lounges around all day, hangs out with his buddies and smokes weed.
A light went on above Bridges’ head. “I’m one of those guys,” he said.
It’s hard to imagine the Dude hating The Eagles and the Jews, but there you go. The only other actor I can picture as the Dude is Nic Cage, but I can picture him anywhere (sometimes he visits me in dreams). …But back to the article – any discussion of a Hollywood classic wouldn’t be complete without sacrilegious sequel talk.
Recently, [John] Turturro has been discussing the possibility of a Lebowski sequel with the Coens, starring Jesus. “We’ve been talking about it for a while,” Turturro says. “Even if they wouldn’t do it, they could just write it, and then I’ll do it.” The story is simple: Jesus gets out of jail and lands a job as a bus driver for a girls’ high school volleyball team. “The movie will be about him dealing with his demons,” Turturro says. “It will be like a combination of Rocky and The Bad News Bears. At the very least we’d have to have a Dude cameo.”
John, and I say this as a friend, that is literally the stupidest idea in the history of the universe. Anyway, better wrap this up:
It’s clear the Dude has struck a generational chord, like Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider [fart sound] or John Belushi in Animal House [wanking motion]. “He’s sort of a weird role model,” says Robertson [a friend of the Coens]. “Young people today are pressured to perform and perform so that their grade-point averages will be incredible. And the whole time they’re watching society spend away their future and realize their standard of living is going to be much lower than their parents’.” That’s why younger fans gravitate toward the Dude, Robertson says, “a character who is reasonably smart, though doobie-addled and by anyone’s standards a failure, but who is still an incredibly good-hearted person with a sense of loyalty to his friends. At the end of the movie, what you’re left with is that it’s okay if you are a loser so long as you’re a good person.” Robertson has discussed this theory at Lebowski Fest. Listeners, “seemed to tear up at that,” he says.
Aw, I feel all warm and gooey inside. Partly because my thumb’s up my ass right now, but also because my heart was warmed.