Jeff Bridges in The Great Lebowski, 1998. (Photo: © Gramercy Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

Released in theaters 25 years ago on Monday, The great Lebowski bombed at the box office. But it would eventually become, arguably, the Coen brothers’ most cult film, an oft-quoted dark comedy involving a memorable set of filmmakers’ eccentrics and social outcasts drawn unwittingly into the stickiest of dilemmas.

Through an authentic, lived-in, and unforgettable performance, star Jeff Bridges has also become synonymous with Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, the weed-smoking bowling aficionado who dumps “the man” whose life without incident turns ugly after being mistaken for a millionaire. who shares his name.

In a 2014 Role reminder interview with Yahoo Entertainment (see below, with Lebowski starting at 3:27), Bridges said it was “a bit naïve” to equate him so closely with The Dude. The actor appeared in more than 75 films and earned seven Oscar nominations, none of which were for Lebowski. (He won in 2010 for country western drama mad heart.)

But he also admits he has “a bit of a guy in me, man”.

For one thing, Bridges, who has battled lymphoma for the past few years but reported in 2021 that his cancer was in remission, has long enjoyed smoking weed himself. And sometimes while working. Ironically, however, the actor was not involved in the making Lebowski.

“I burn weed once in a while, but for this movie, I decided, ‘It’s such a wonderful, pretty detailed script,'” he told us. “Although it seems very improvised, everything is scripted. Everything was done exactly [as written]. If you add an extra “man” to a place, it doesn’t seem quite right to you. So I really wanted to have my whole mind on me. I didn’t burn at all during this movie.

What Bridges would do: He would ask filmmaker brothers Joel and Ethan Coen before each new install, “Did the dude burn one before this scene?”

“And they were like ‘Oh, yeah’ [or] ‘probably’, that sort of thing,” Bridges recalled.

LebowskiThe star cast also included John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Sam Elliott, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid and Julianne Moore.

In a 2019 Role reminder interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Moore opened up about being pregnant with her first child while playing eccentric entertainer Maude Lebowski, daughter of the man The Dude is mistaken for.

“I had to wear a harness and I didn’t want to tell anyone I was pregnant because I wanted to be able to,” she said, referring to the scene in which Maude paints while ziplining. “But I loved every minute. I loved the precision of the dialogue. I loved working with Jeff. He was the only actor I worked with that I couldn’t look him in the eye. because I was laughing so hard, so I had to look a little bit below his face when we were doing scenes together.”

The Oscar-winning actress also explained that, like many slow-burning cult classics, The great Lebowski was actually considered a failure when first released. It barely made a dent at the box office like Titanic was still tearing up the charts 12 weeks after its release, and also fell behind US Marshals, the wedding singer And Dusk (the Paul Newman-Gene Hackman crime drama, that is) its opening weekend. It didn’t do too well with critics either.

“When I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s so funny.’ And then the next day, all the critics came out and they killed it. And then the movie kind of bombed,” Moore said.

“And I was like, ‘That sounds weird. I liked it. I thought it was funny,'” she said. people were stopping me on the street, they started quoting quotes, and you realized it had become this big phenomenon.”

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