It feels a little self-defeating to write an introduction to an interview with Jeff Bridges. You know who Jeff Bridges is and you know what movies he’s been in – from The Last Picture Show to Tron to The Big Lebowski and we could keep going and going. So let’s just all agree we know who Jeff Bridges is and we can just get to it.
(It’s never not amazing how much Bridges loves The Big Lebowski, though. I didn’t even directly ask him about reprising his role – something that is oft rumored and oft asked about – but when we were talking about John Turturro’s Going Places, which is sort of a Lebowski sequel, Bridges offers up again how much he’d love to reprise his role as The Dude. I hope the Coens do eventually make another one just to make Bridges happy. The world is probably a better place when Jeff Bridges is happy.)
Bridges can be seen this week in Marc Webb’s The Only Living Boy in New York where he plays a sage of sorts (who has also visited a New York City opium den in his days). His Lower East Side character is neighbors with a young man named Thomas (Callum Turner), who is sleeping with his father’s mistress (played by Pierce Brosnan and Kate Beckinsale, respectively).
Ahead, Bridges takes us through his love of Talking Heads, his role in the upcoming Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and brings up a disturbing trend of how he’s completely out of the loop when it comes to new movies based on some of his most famous roles, like the aforementioned Going Places and a remake of Starman. (Seriously, it’s time to start calling Jeff Bridges about these things.)
Also, Bridges seems actually a little bit unhappy that his character of Obadiah Stane was killed off in Iron Man — which wasn’t supposed to happen in the original script — imagining all the cameos he could have made by now in the MCU. At the time, who knew?
After watching this movie, I’ve decided I wish you were my neighbor.
[Laughs.] Well, I take that as a compliment. Thank you.
Do you like playing the wise sage?
You know, there’s fun to be had in all sorts of parts. The sage, that’s an aspect of a character. That’s a fun one to play, but I don’t look for it necessarily.
The film starts with you giving a monologue about old New York City versus the New York City I currently live in. Is a lot of this a representation of how you actually feel?
Yeah. I mean, when you’ve lived a while, you get nostalgic for the way things were, but that’s not the way it is. It keeps changing. That’s just the way things are. Normally I stay in kind of Midtown. I was kind of lower down in Manhattan and we were right by what CBGB’s used to be. Now, it’s – what is it? Now it’s a men’s clothing store.
Yeah, John Varvatos…
Yeah, but it’s all changing. But that’s the way it always goes. It’s changing faster these days though, it seemed to really pick up speed.
Did you got to CBGBs?
No, I was a big Talking Heads fan. I never made it over there, though, so I kind of missed that whole scene.
Yeah, I missed the scene. I went in there – they have a lot of memorabilia in there and they try to show some respect for the history of the place, and they’ve done a pretty good job of that I think.
Did you get to see Talking Heads anywhere else?
I saw them give the Stop Making Sense tour at the Greek Theatre in LA. But I never saw them in New York.
As a Talking Heads person, are you disappointed that they have never reunited? David Byrne’s been pretty clear that it doesn’t sound like it will ever happen.
Yeah, we’re certainly due for a little paying of respect for that great group. They were so wonderful when they came around, and David Byrne. Also, the music that he comes up with, Eno, I was a big fan of all of that stuff.
You spent a lot of time in New York in the late ’60s, is that right?
Well, I didn’t live there for any length of time like that. It was mainly my father, Lloyd Bridges, would do plays there. He replaced Richard Kiley in Man of La Mancha and did Cactus Flower and stuff like that. When he would go there and do plays, he’d bring the family. So I experienced New York when I was a kid back around that time.