The dude's living it up

Jeff Bridges secured his place in the movienerd firmament after he appeared in the Coen brothers comedy The Big Lebowski (1998).

As The Dude, an ageing hippie who gets mixed up in a kidnapping, the 63-year-old US actor created a character loved by eggheads, slackers and goofballs the world over.

Having kicked around Hollywood forever - he began his career as a child star - Bridges suddenly became a bigger deal.

He was in Iron Man (2008).

He won an Oscar for Crazy Heart (2009).

He appeared in Tron: Legacy (2010).

In Bridges' latest project R.I.P.D., he and Ryan Reynolds play a couple of deceased lawmen from the Rest In Peace Department who protect the living from the restless dead.

Opening here Thursday, it's a summer blockbuster much like Men In Black.

What was the appeal of R.I.P.D. that made you choose to do this film?

One of the things that I do when I choose a film is to make sure that the film is one that I would like to see.

R.I.P.D. certainly fits that bill.

I like movies that take you into areas that you don't expect. This film is very much like that. You think it's going to go one way and it goes another way. It's full of surprises.

Tell us more about your character, Roy Pulsipher.

I liked having a chance to play a guy from the 1800s because I like that period of time.

Roy is a fellow who takes himself quite seriously and people who take themselves seriously have a lot of humour because of that.

Sometimes his humour is involuntary.

I think people laugh at him, as well as laugh with him.

You seem to love to wear cowboy hats and Western garb in your movies, like you did, for instance, in True Grit and Crazy Heart.

I love Westerns. When I get a chance to get on a horse or wear a cowboy hat, that's always a plus.

I used to play cowboys when I was a kid.

Being an actor gives you the opportunity to be a grown-up and play like you're still a kid.

What can you tell us about Nick Walker, Ryan Reynolds' character in R.I.P.D.?

Nick is also a fellow who takes himself seriously. Roy and Nick have a peculiar relationship, which evolves a lot during the film. I don't want to tell how it ends though. That would spoil the surprise.

What was it like to work with Ryan Reynolds?

Ryan is wonderful to work with.

He had to not only be the action guy and have all the comedy to play with, but there's a dramatic story in the film that he is involved in as well.

Not to mention, he's a great physical actor and in great shape.

What was the atmosphere on set?

We had a great time.

Robert Schwentke, the director, created the perfect environment.

He had a great vision that was very inclusive and he wanted input from all the actors.

This movie is an action comedy.

Isn't it challenging to find the balance between these two tones?

That's always the challenge with any movie to prepare the audience for what they are going to be presented with.

That is particularly important when there isn't one definite genre.

Before we shot R.I.P.D., we discussed it quite extensively.

We wanted to get the best tone for the film and try to hit it just right so that when you make a joke it doesn't seem like it's from another movie or when there's a dramatic moment, it seems authentic.

Is shooting action scenes as fun as it looks?

Shooting movies is often a very laborious process. Sometimes five seconds in the final cut take a whole day to shoot.

We really had a good time, joking all the time. Even when we had to shoot scenes over and over again, it was fun.


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