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Lions Roar : May 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2013 56 Bridges says, “My dad went up to the director and very calmly said to him, ‘I’m going to be in my dressing room in my trailer. When you’re ready to apologize to this guy in front of all of the rest of us, that’s where you’ll find me.’ So the guy had to apologize.” The young Bridges was mortified, yet ultimately grew up to admire his father’s sense of justice and love of acting. “He really enjoyed the communal aspect of everybody working together to pull off a kind of magic trick,” Bridges says. “He would create a joyful atmosphere that was contagious. That relaxed people, and out of relaxation comes the cool stuff. A lot of folks in showbiz don’t want their kids to go into it because it’s got a dark side. But my dad encouraged all of us. He would say to me, ‘Jeff, do you want to come to work with Dad? Come on, you’ll get out of school! You can make some money, buy some toys!’ ” Bridges, however, resisted becoming an actor; it felt to him like nepotism. He wanted to be appreciated for his own talents, not because his famous father was opening doors for him. Yet there was nothing to worry about. With the release of Peter Bog- danovich’s seminal 1971 film, The Last Picture Show, everyone knew that Jeff Bridges was a talent in his own right. He earned his first Oscar nomination for his role and ever since he’s had a steady career, playing in one or more movies most years and earning five more Oscar nominations. He was up for Best Sup- porting Actor for both 1974’s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and 2000’s The Contender, while 1984’s Starman, 2009’s Crazy Heart, and 2010’s True Grit got him nominated for Best Actor. Many people consider his win for Crazy Heart to be a long-overdue acknowledgement of his remarkable career. I WAS ON THE SUBWAY in New York, preparing for my Bridges and Glassman interview by reading The Big Lebowski and Philosophy, which is part of the Blackwell philosophy and pop-culture series. Suddenly, the guy sitting beside me noticed my book. “Oh, my God, I love that movie,” he exclaimed. “I’ve watched it, like, thirty times!” He then went on to tell me that back in college, he and his friends had what they’d called “the Lebowski challenge.” Participants would watch the movie and every time a character drank a white Russian, they had to down one, and every a time a character smoked a joint, they also had to light up. “Nobody ever made it through,” my fellow traveler admitted. Before the final credits rolled, all participants had either passed out or puked. Or both. From my point of view, any film that could have inspired this drinking/drugging game is an unlikely candidate to be a Buddhist cinematic classic. Nonetheless, in certain circles The Glassman in the child-care center of Greyston Foundation. PHOTOSBYPETERCUNNINGHAM