Actor and musician Jeff Bridges was interviewed by Howard Stern on the latter's Sirius XM satellite radio show this morning. The actor and the radio host talked for almost 90 minutes, ostensibly to promote Bridges' new movie, “The Giver.” However, the subjects ranged from acting in the shadow of Bridges' father, Lloyd, to Jeff's kids, from acting in “The Big Lebowski” to his appearance in Bob Dylan’s 2003 film, “Masked & Anonymous.” In each case, the Dude abided.
About one hour into the interview, Stern asked, out of the blue, “When you did the movie with Bob Dylan, did you used to play (guitar) with him is his trailer?”
Bridges, who played the part of “Tom Friend” in the film, replied, “One of the high points of my life, man, was hearing (imitates a knock on the door) … ‘Yeah?’ … ‘Hi, Jeff, ya wanna jam?’ and sit down and play guitar.”
When asked if he was intimidated, Bridges said, “Yes, I was just in another zone.” Stern asked if Bridges, who has sung on albums, in movies, and on stage, wanted Dylan’s approval in some way?
“Here’s the deal. ‘Masked and Anonymous,’ right? We shot the whole movie in two weeks. Larry Charles, who was one of the creators of ‘Seinfeld,’ wrote this thing with Dylan … This was going to be (Charles’) first movie that he directed, and a very open and cool cat, man. He said, ‘I consider you the head thespo on here - thespian - would you jam a little bit with Bob and do some improvs and stuff? So I spend a half a day, pretending with Bob, and we just played.”
Was Bob any good at it? “He LOVED IT! Any good? He was just incredible! He just jammed around the scene, and we would improv around the scene to find the reality of the scene.”
Stern asked if Bridges felt Dylan was a good actor. “Oh man! I’ve always admired him. Remember him in ‘(Pat Garrett &) Billy the Kid?,’ I thought, why isn’t he ….” Stern interjected to ask, “So the two of you hit if off as actors, and then he knocks on the door one day and says, ‘Come on in and play.’ What do you play? What songs? … ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’?”
“No. I love his interpretation in ‘Natural Born Killers’ with Woody (Harrelson) … Dylan sang that song, ‘You Belong To Me.’ You know that song? Do you remember him singing it just on guitar? So beautiful, check it out. Get it on iTunes or something.”
So in his trailer, he played that? “He came to my trailer.” He brings his guitar, and you have your guitar, and you sing with him? “Yeah, man!” You both played rhythm? “I played rhythm. He’s an incredible guitarist, a masterful guitarist.”
Stern said he would have **** his pants. Bridges replied, “I may have had a bowel movement, man! I had to check for sure!”
“Are you still friends with him?” Stern asked. “I consider him a friend, even though we never see each other.
“Don’t you love his latest stuff, all his incarnations?”
Later, Stern joked, “I never told you this story. Bob Dylan, I was with him, and he knocked on my door, and he asked me to stop playing. I was in the next room. He said, ‘Please, never play the guitar again.’ I stopped playing after that. ”
The interview will be played again periodically throughout the week, or you can listen anytime on the Sirius XM app using the "On Demand" feature.
The interview was edited for clarity and continuity.
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