An Oscar and the Hotlist Icon… what a year!
Ha, yes, it's been a wonderful year, and to cap it all off, I just got through cutting the basic tracks for an album with T Bone Burnett and that's come about directly because of
as well so, as I say, I've had just a wonderful year.
How have you managed to build up such a diverse body of work?
I've been so fortunate you know to be able to have the particular stance that I have which is very resistant… you know I've gotta be kind of dragged to the party to make a movie but I think that's due to the bed that I was born in, being Lloyd Bridges' son and having a father who loved the industry so much and encouraged all his kids to go into it.
It’s just a fortunate position to be in and I’ve also watched my father and how he navigated his career.
In what ways?
Well, one of the things that brought him a lot of success, but also a lot of frustration was his success in
, a TV show where he played a skin diver. He was so into that role that people actually thought he was a skin-diver, so he got a lot of skin diver scripts!
I remember later doing a movie with him called
, and before he got the part, the producer wasn’t keen. He said “He’s really more of a comedian.” I said, “What are you talking about?” and they said, “Well, all those
So I took my cue from that and tried really hard not to create too strong a persona, for a number of reasons: it makes it more interesting for me to play different kinds or roles, it puts a message out to filmmakers that I can do that stuff and also it kind of pleasantly confuses the audience who I am. So it’s a little easier for them to imagine me in different roles.
is a tidy example of that, what with you playing a fairly laidback older character and an angry, driven young man.
Absolutely! I mean that’s the fun of it.
Which part felt closer to you?
Well, they’re all different aspects of myself. I don’t really think of them as the good and the bad so much as just different parts of me. Like I say, it’s fun to play both.
Next up is
. How was it working with the Coens again?
It was a dream. Those guys are master filmmakers. And like other masters, they make it look easy. Though, you know, it’s not always easy! But they have assembled a wonderful team around them, most of whom have worked with them a long time so that makes for a relaxed set.
Looking back at your work, is there a film that you wished got more recognition?
Well, the one that comes to mind is
, it was called
in some places. We had a great time making that, it was a wonderful cast but so many things have to come together to make a film a success, not only creatively but financially. But that one unfortunately was picked up by a distributor that wasn’t very reputable and went bankrupt so it wasn’t seen by an awful lot of folk…
Is there anything you haven’t done in your career, a genre or a type of role, that you’d like to tackle?
You know, I’m not one of those guys who is ambitious that way. I’ve got a couple of projects that I’d like to realise before I kick the bucket. Twenty years after
The Last Picture Show
, we made
and now, twenty years later, it would be lovely to continue on the saga. The writer of both, Larry McMurtry, has three more books that he’s written about those folks, so that would be a wonderful thing to work on.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d pass on to anyone working in this industry?
Something my mother used to send me off to work with, and now my wife sends me off with is one of those things you forget and you’ve got to remember once in a while. They both used to say to me: “Remember, have fun… and don’t take it too seriously.” [Laughs] That’s something worth pointing out to a few people…