HomeStreamingThe Old Man Finally Brings Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow Together – IndieWire
The Old Man Finally Brings Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow Together – IndieWire
May 31, 2023
John Lithgow had long wanted to work with Jeff Bridges when he jumped aboard FX’s limited series “The Old Man,” which was in the middle of filming Season 2 when we met on Zoom, but has since been shelved due to the Writer’s Strike. . “We’ve barely met,” Lithgow said. “The town is divided between those who worked with Jeff and those who worked with me. That we are finally together as two graduates of Jeff and John.
For his part, Bridges has long believed that Thomas Perry’s 2017 novel would make a strong film. But at first he resisted the lure. “I read the script and it was a page-turner,” Bridges said. “And the novel was the same. And I said, “Well, I’ve got to meet these guys.” And I resist this because I know that when I start meeting another creative cat, we start dreaming together. And then I’m in the vortex of it.”
As soon as Bridges met with showrunner Jonathan Steinberg, he was able to say, “Yeah, we can do it. This could be very good.”
Lithgow happily jumped into the complex role of dedicated FBI agent Harold Harper. “In the first three minutes of the show, you learn this huge backstory that he’s suffered a personal loss, losing his son and daughter in a car accident, and he and his wife have to take care of their five-year-old grandson. they are overwhelmed by grief. And he’s in a terrible place in his life. And he’s an old man. And suddenly she gets a call that throws her back into a crisis 30 years ago with this very complicated, troubled relationship with this guy played by Jeff Bridges. It was all just amazing to me.”
Both men are equally charming and likable, but capable of terrifying acts of violence. Recent window man Dan Chase is a CIA man to the core, and he does what he has to do when he’s suddenly back in action after decades in hiding with his wife. This fluctuation is what makes “The Old Man” fascinating and unpredictable.
Even before he got sick, Bridges had to perform some grueling stunts, including a long fight scene early in the film, directed by John Watts. He knew he was in good hands when he asked stunt coordinator Tim Connolly about the current state of the technology. He showed her his movie “Atomic Blonde”.
“I’ve always liked fighting in action,” Bridges said. “It’s just fun. And yes, with that comes the feelings of “Can I do this? Can I pull this out? I haven’t done a fight scene in a while. I like what he did in ‘The Old Man’.
The fight reminded Lithgow of another done by a much younger Bridges in “Bad Company” (1972). “That’s life, really,” Lithgow said, “if you ever lose it completely.” A tooth and nail fight with someone. It looks like this.”
The essence of the series is that these two men often do bad things. “They’re basically good people trying to do things, for all the right reasons, but there were circumstances,” Lithgow said. “And the whole world of espionage and covert operations forced them to do terrifying things, including shocking things to each other. And they had a good friendship that was poisoned by circumstances. That creates a lot of tension, wouldn’t you say? Jeff?
“Yes. And then they have a genuine, genuine love for each other,” Bridges said, “that transcends all these obstacles that are against each other. Something holds them together. There are so few people in our lives, if we’re lucky, we have one or two people, someone you can communicate with, and they know who you are, they know the aspects of yourself that you’re ashamed of or hiding. And those relationships are very important.”
Bridges is clearly referring to the characters they played and the friendship that developed when they finally started working together. “That’s true,” Lithgow said. “And the fact that you and I hit it off so quickly and went so deep in the short time we got to know each other made those parts a lot easier. But it also informed these parts. Without giving anything away to those who haven’t seen the first season, one of the guys tried to kill the other. And to tell a story where you understand why it had to happen. And one character basically forgives the other, or at least accepts that it had to happen. You just don’t see these stories very often.”
It was starting to look like they were never going to work together. Bridges experienced the unknowns that come with filming a series for the first time. “Unlike a movie, this is more like life,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. And on the set of the first season, when I got sick, I didn’t think I would go back. I thought I’d be lucky to live, let alone be well enough to go back to work. I never thought I would do that. So it was just a complete surprise. When I was sick, I said, “Oh, it’s over, the dream of working with John, it’s not going to happen. Wow, I’m trying to get used to it. And then life says, “no, it’s not like that.” Then it was like a dream to come back after two years, like a long, bizarre weekend, and see the same faces, cast and crew.”
When Bridges rejoined the series, the two actors engaged in an intense dialogue where they cross the country together in a car. “Thank God Jeff was able to play this long, important and essential scene sitting in a car for six days,” Lithgow said. “Because he wasn’t 100 percent. It went great. It was a good 8 percent. But it was a relief for both of us to be able to play a scene basically like a one-act play sitting in a car. We waited two years for this to happen. And it was a great pleasure to be able to do it. That scene was about a tenth of the time we spent together in that car on set. The rest of the time consisted only of getting to know each other deeply. And that was the beginning of this absolutely wonderful friendship. And I don’t think the show would have as much content as it does without that friendship.”
It goes without saying that you can always expect surprises with these two wily old pros.