“How I feel? I feel spectacular”, exclaims Jeffrey Leon Bridges, actor of actors, faces of faces, voice of voices. He affirms it when asked how he lives the return to the screens, in his first leading role in the era of prestigious series, after winning the pulse of death.
Today it sounds conventional for a Hollywood actor to venture into a series, but this is not just any case: it is ‘The Dude’ (as he has been known since his iconic performance in The Big Lebowski) returning “from the other side” to his 73 years of age to interpret a slow-moving psychological thriller, but also confrontational and strong blows. The series sees the light after stopping its production for 15 months and resuming activity, against many forecasts. It is a work reborn and inspired, if you will, by Bridges, its main actor and executive producer, who during that time faced cancer in the lymphatic system and a positive covid diagnosis. He was not supposed to survive, but he survived, and continues to add valuable steps.
The Californian, born in 1949, the son of television comedian Lloyd Bridges, active on movie screens since the 1970s, recognizes more than ever the fortune of being surrounded by people who adore him and doing what he has loved for so long. . For now, that does not change the shooting routines. Bridges says that, for now, on set “I feel the same, maybe a little stronger.”
On the other side of the screen, its impacts are multigenerational. Different audiences have revered him for decades and appreciate his films. If anything, this episode serves to look back at the impressive filmography that he has carved out and his present commitment.
First the past. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, starman, tron, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Fisher King, The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart, True Grit, Hell or High Water These are just some of the outstanding films that this figure on the big screen has been offering since the 1970s, all bearing the mark of his acting charisma and talent. These have represented seven nominations and a victory at the Oscars. But yours is a particular case. His career is not measured in awards, it is measured in the immense respect that the audience, colleagues, collaborators and critics profess for him. And that is born from the unique energy that he radiates, from that genuine and affable air that does not render him one-dimensional in his roles.
On the present side, The Old Man, which has already premiered its seven chapters on Star+, is not cinema, but it takes a lot of that language. The production mixes international intrigue with the effects of the passage of time on the body and mind of spies and intelligence agents, as well as on the lives of their (few) loved ones. This series flashbacks
mature is as careful in its excellent and believable combat scenes as it is in its contemplative shots and tense dialogues.
Thus, Bridges marks his arrival on the small screen. And what a debut, at what time… And as he says in the conversation, “when it comes to job offers, I start from resisting everything. And I do it because I know the cost of commitment. So when he agrees, he goes headlong. In the series, Bridges plays Dan Chase, a former CIA operative who has slipped out of the game and off the radar only to see his past drag him back to the chessboard.
And the narration sets up a face-off with another legendary talent, perhaps more veteran in television, like John Lithgow (in the role of Harold Harper). The viewer sees the mature version of two guys who operated in the eighties in Afghanistan, who now see their interests collide, 30 years later, but they are also discovering in flashbacks to their younger versions the causes of the network of consequences that the characters face.
Regarding the difference between his current character and one of the iconic roles that did not bring him nominations, but immortality (that in The Big Lebowski, by the Coen brothers), he asserts: “They are diametrically opposed. One of the things that people appreciate most about ‘The Dude’ is its authenticity. He is what he is no matter what they think about him. In Chase’s case, he’s a CIA agent, a kind of spy, and to be that he has to transform and jump between personalities. So, in a way, he loses his identity, he doesn’t know who he is, and that can be disconcerting. They are very different cats.” About ‘The Dude’ Lebowski, in 1998, he says: “I played it completely sober. I did not smoke, but I had prepared myself a lot before.
Returning to the harsh illness and the pandemic, the actor assures: “I spent almost a year and a half mired in this strange dream and I came back. And to that ‘dream’ effect was added that I met again with the same people that I stopped seeing when everything (cancer, pandemic) happened. What just happened? I asked myself in the joyful moment of working with this gang again.”
And it is very telling that of that gang, that is, the production team that started shooting the series with him in 2020, 95 percent returned to finish what they started. It is not common for so many people to put their working lives on hold for 15 months to close a job, even in times of isolation and work marked by distancing. That’s the Bridges effect.
“I fought a year and a half fight against my mortality, and in times like this, it seems that all your philosophies and spirituality put you to the test. That experience has made me a more mature man. I have not felt a difference in how I approach life, I have always done it the same, but these experiences make your images clearer”.
The images of this star, who does not shy away from playing an action character from survival and the idea of having to cross it again in old age, are worth applause. After all, who better to treat that part of life that isn’t followed by another?