In our latest installment of Something in Common, actors Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine met up in Los Angeles to talk about their new movie, “Hell or High Water.” This modern-day Western is distributed by CBS Films -- a division of CBS Corporation - and opens in theaters Friday.
Bridges and Pine talked about their careers, growing up in Hollywood and something else they have in common that might surprise you.
Chris: Definitely what appealed to me about the film is how morally ambiguous it was.
Jeff: Ambiguity, man. That’s one of the things that attracted me to the script in the first place because life seems so ambiguous. You know, what is good and what is bad.
Chris: You know, here’s a guy who’s just at wit’s end in terms of how to take care of himself and his family - at absolute wit’s end. He’s a good man forced into awful circumstances. I felt for my character. Do you find yourself preparing in different ways? Do you have a methodology or do you just kind of attack it, given the project and the piece?
Jeff: I think I sort of do, I think I have kind of a method. I look inside myself, figure out what are some aspects of my own personality that kind of parallel the guy and something I might magnify and some aspects of myself I might just kick to the curb. My father, he really encouraged me to really get into acting. He loved it so much and he taught all the basics. So tell me... your relationship with your dad and you getting into acting -- how did that go down?
Chris: The best. They - you know, like you, so I grew up in a showbiz family, so I was just around it. So there was just a language like at the dinner table - where my friends, whose parents were doctors and I guess at the dinner table, you’d talk about the surgery of the day - it’s like my dad would come home from the set of whatever guest star he was doing that day and he’d say, “Ah, we did that scene and we did that scene. Did you see the new Pacino?” So you were sitting around talking about it all the time so I processed a lot of it that way. They couldn’t have been more supportive, and I think it’s just the blessing of growing up in - we grew up in LA -- and we grew up in a town where this was done and totally normal and a part of life.
Chris: This is a good one. What role has had the biggest impact on your life?
Jeff: Well, The Dude man, you know. (Referring to his role in “The Big Lebowski.”)
Chris: I was so happy when I first met you because obviously from my generation, many others, we hope that you’re as cool and as neat as The Dude and you are actually - you are actually The Dude.
Jeff: Oy vey. (Laughs).
Chris: Now, so this is what I wanted to ask you too. So because I always watch it and I think of all the “ums” and “ahs.”
Jeff: Everything was scripted. The Dude.
Chris: The Dude man.
Jeff: When I’m watching TV, it’ll come on and I’ll say, “I’m going to just watch it until Turturro licks the ball”... and I get hooked! (Laughs). I cannot stop it.
Chris: I love that you appreciate the film as much as we all do.
Jeff: Oh God, it is so good. And it gets better every time I see it. I mean, it’s so wild. Do you worry about getting type-cast. How do you avoid that?
Chris: This business has a way of - if you’ve done one thing well, then they kind of try to make as many films, as much money off of that version of you that they can. But if you’re a curious human being, then I think that that curiosity can’t really be stamped out and you will find avenues to not just be one thing.
Jeff: When I was starting out in my career, I was really concerned about not developing too strong a persona. And so I really tried to kind of mix it up and now, I’ve kind of gotten to where you are. I’m kind of less concerned about that and I think some of the greatest casting is when they cast against type.
Jeff: Something that we both share is music.
Jeff: Have you ever had a band?
Jeff: You know how fun it is to play with people?
Chris: Yes I do. I know.
(Jeff sings while Chris plays the guitar).
Chris: You only started performing publicly really after “Crazy Heart.”
Jeff: “Crazy Heart” really set me afire.
Chris: There’s something so naked about being on stage as a musician. I think about that even with standup comedy or something - like, this is it, this is what I got.
Jeff: I tend to relate to so many other things I do in life in that way. So when I’m performing music it’s like I’m doing a big improv.
Chris: Yeah, yeah.
Jeff: You know, with the audience, they’re all in the scene with me. And we’re just doing a jam.