“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.”