Jeff Bridges Reveals How ‘The Old Man’ Is Like ‘The Big Lebowski’

The Old Man star Jeff Bridges recently revealed how his new TV series has one thing in common with his best-known film, The Big Lebowski. Though the two stories are very different, their commonality, as Bridges points out, is in the inference to their titles.

The actor’s 1998 movie, ‘The Big Lebowski,’ is a cult classic

Released in 1998, The Big Lebowski sees Bridges as LA slacker Jeffrey Lebowski, better known as “The Dude.”

After being mistaken for another Jeffrey Lebowski, The Dude find himself roped into a wild scheme involving a kidnapped beauty (Julianne Moore), a millionaire of the same name (David Huddleston), and The Dude’s two less-than-capable friends (John Goodman and Steve Buscemi).

Written by the gold-spinning brothers Ethan and Joel Coen, the movie has become a cult classic still referenced routinely in popular culture. 

Jeff Bridges plays Dan Chase in ‘The Old Man’

Jeff Bridges The Old Man The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges in 2019 | Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

Bridges’ character in The Old Man could not be more different from The Dude.

In the new FX thriller series, based on Thomas Perry’s book of the same name, Bridges plays ex-CIA operative Dan Chase. The action begins several decades after Chase has quit the agency and gone into hiding, building an entirely new life for himself. Chase believes he’s safely off the grid and free to live out the remainder of his new life when his past arrives and he must flee again.

Only this time, he is far older and has been out of the game too long. 

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Speaking with Vanity Fair about his new role, Jeff Bridges laughs at a question about the ironic through-line in The Big Lebowski. In the interview, he discusses his reaction to being asked to play the lead role in The Old Man.

“Well, it turns out that I’m not the only old man. I mean, [co-star John] Lithgow, I think he might have a couple of days on me. Same with Joel Grey, who was also in this show,” Bridges explains. “So it was a bit like The Big Lebowski; I’m not the Big Lebowski in Big Lebowski, but it kind of follows my story. In this one, I’m just one of the old men. But I classify!”

‘The Old Man’ is Jeff Bridges’ 1st lead role on TV

The Old Man marks Jeff Bridges’ first starring role in a TV series — a change the actor admits made him skeptical.

“Yeah, I was concerned, man,” he tells Vanity Fair. “Years ago, it was quite a differentiation between movies and TV as far as the quality and the time that it took to make the thing … I was concerned [in TV] that we’d be too rushed or whatever.” 

Bridges is the son of the late Airplane! actor Lloyd Bridges and the brother of fellow actor Beau Bridges, both known for their work in television. However, Bridges has spent most of his career on the big screen. He has delivered memorable performances in Hollywood movies such as 1976’s King Kong, 1982’s Tron, 2008’s Iron Man, 2009’s Crazy Heart, 2010’s Tron: Legacy and True Grit, 2016’s Hell or High Water, 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and 2018’s Bad Times at the El Royale.

The Old Man also marks Bridges’ return to acting following significant health scares. In 2020, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, and in 2021, he contracted COVID-19. Now in remission and recovered, Bridges is back and better than ever in The Old Man, which airs Thursdays on FX and streams Fridays on Hulu.

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