Jeff Bridges on What He Looks Looks for in a Role and Finding His Characters

Jeff Bridges Actor

“I look at aspects of myself that parallel the character, and then I look for role models.” – Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges plays “grizzled” really well (in fact, is there anything he can’t do really well?), and he’s gotten rave reviews for his performance as a rough lawman in Hell or High Water, which is one of the best-reviewed movies of the year. Speaking with Vulture, Bridges talks about how a script is the starting point of getting into a character — and why a script might also stop him from signing on to do a film.

Bridges describes his process of how he got into his Hell or High Water character. He explains, “The starting place is the script; that points you in the direction of who this guy is. Then, as an actor, I look at aspects of myself that parallel the character, and then I look for role models. The whole company was very blessed to have Joaquin Jackson, who was one of the most badass Texas Rangers around, be on the set with us. We became friends and I got to know him pretty well, and I drew on him in terms of attitude and how to wear my clothes and all that stuff.”

What drew Bridges to the script initially was the ambiguity of the character and the story. He says, “One of the things that appealed to me about the script and the story is that it’s chock-full of ambiguity. It really questions what is right, which is not as simple as it seems. The line between good and bad gets blurred, and who should be punished for what”

In fact, it’s to the script’s credit that Bridges likes it because he often looks for reasons not to like a script so he won’t do the project. He explains, “I consider myself more of a counterpuncher. I really try my best not to get attached to a script, because I know what it takes: It takes you away from your family and what you like to do. When you take on a movie, there’s a whole mess of movies that you can’t do. So I do my best to resist, which is kind of a funny tactic, but that’s just how I roll.”

Leave a Reply
Khary Payton on His ‘Walking Dead’ Audition: “It was one of the more substantial auditions I’ve ever done”
"I always say I’m in the hope business. You’ve got to stay hopeful. You’ve got to get up off your behind and try again..." - Khary Payton
Hayley Atwell’s Best Career Advice: “I’d say the main thing is: show up. Show up and be professional”
Atwell reflects on her career and recounts why she wanted to become an actress since she was a child and what was the best career advice she ever received.
Mike Colter on Playing ‘Luke Cage’: “I was looking at it from the standpoint of an artist”
Colter says that it didn't take long for him to understand the importance of the character in comic book history.
Emily Blunt on ‘The Girl on the Train’: “It is a rarity in Hollywood to have a mainstream film with such a flawed [female] character”
"For me, when you’re doing a high-octane emotional scene, I can’t plan them out, so I don’t rehearse them." - Emily Blunt
Rebecca Hall on ‘Christine’ and Why She Stays Loyal to Theater
"The kind of career that I want is not easy as a lady to manifest, because everyone wants a lady to be likable" - Rebecca Hall