Jeff Bridges reveals his response when he discovered The Big Lebowski was written for him

·2 min read

Jeff Bridges has recalled the surprise he felt when Joel and Ethan Coen offered him the starring lead in 1998 crime comedy The Big Lebowski, after revealing they had written the role just for him.

“I ran into the Coen brothers at a party and they said, ‘Yeah, we’re writing something for you, man,’ and I said, ‘Oh great,’ because I had seen Blood Simple and thought they were terrific,” he remembered, on a recent appearance on the SmartLess podcast.

“And then I got the script and I said, ‘What? This is like a high school version of me,’” he added. “Are you guys spying on me or something?”

“I have kind of a history of trying to get out of parts,” Bridges continued, admitting to a tendency to avoid movie roles. “I can’t remember what I played just before it.”

“[But] I had never played a part like that.”

Although the movie bombed at the US box office when it first premiered, it has since become a cult classic.

Jeff Bridges in ‘The Big Lebowski’ (Netflix)
Jeff Bridges in ‘The Big Lebowski’ (Netflix)

In the same interview Bridges explained that portion of his house was once a part of the set from one of his films.

The actor, 72, explained how the “whorehouse” barn from director Michael Cimino’s 1980 western Heaven’s Gate is now a part of his Montana home.

“You should know that Jeff is sitting in one of the yummiest looking rooms I’ve ever seen,” co-host Jason Bateman said of the lavish room during the podcast. “This looks like a downstairs, this looks like a basement, it’s got a wood ceiling.”

After co-host Sean Hayes interjected saying it “looks like a set”, Bridges confirmed: “Well it is! You got it, Sean.”

“This is the barn from the whorehouse of Heaven’s Gate,” the award-winning actor revealed. Bridges starred in the film alongside a huge cast of stars, including Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Isabelle Huppert, and Joseph Cotten. It was Cimino’s follow-up to 1978’s acclaimed war drama The Deer Hunter.

“They were going to burn the set down because the owner of the land didn’t want it on his property, and Mike said, ‘Anybody want it?’ and I raised my hand and we numbered the logs and we put it 400 miles south and set it up.”

“This is where I’ve lived with my wife for about 40 years in Montana,” he added.

In a separate interview in late May, the veteran actor reflected on being “pretty close to dying” from Covid while recovering from cancer.