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Q&A Jeff Bridges

May 01, 2006
May 01, 2006

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May 1, 2006

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Q&A Jeff Bridges

The 56-year-old actor (The Big Lebowski) plays a girls' gymnastics coach in the comedy Stick It, which opens on April 28

SI: Did youchannel your inner Béla Kàrolyi for Stick It?

This is an article from the May 1, 2006 issue

Bridges: Well, Idid speak to a lot of coaches, but the people who really helped me were theOlympians who were part of the cast. Also, I was able to go to a Junior OlympicNational meet in L.A. I must have been a strange sight because here were allthese girls flipping around and I have my camera taking pictures of thecoaches.

SI: Your brother,Beau, made the UCLA basketball team as a walk-on in 1960-61. What was he likeas a player?

Bridges: He wasonly 5'9" or so, but he was a great athlete. He was also scouted by theDodgers. Beau still has a close connection with John Wooden. He narrates one ofhis DVDs.

SI: You'veappeared in many sports films, including The Last American Hero, in which youplayed a character based on racing legend Junior Johnson. How did you preparefor the part?

Bridges: I hungout with Junior and [his then wife] Flossie. Did some shine with them, somecherry bounce and white lightning. I kind of soaked up the atmosphere[laughs].

SI: In AgainstAll Odds you played a football player at the end of his career. Did you basethat on anyone?

Bridges: Yeah, Ihung out with [former Bills receiver] Bob Chandler. I had lunch with him. Hewas like a cripple. He was getting to his chair, and you heard every move. [Iasked why he kept playing, and] he said, "There's nothing like catchingthat long ball. If I knew I wouldn't be ridiculed to death, I would be sobbingevery time I caught the ball. It's such an emotional high. There's nothing elsein life that will ever get that for me."

SI: Have youattended any Lebowski Fests, where fans of the movie bowl and sip WhiteRussians?

Bridges: I wentto one in L.A. last year. We got a little band together and played some tunesfor the guys. We did The Man in Me, the Dylan tune in Lebowski. It was wildperforming to a sea of Dudes.

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PHOTOJOHN SCIULLI/WIREIMAGE.COM (BRIDGES)PHOTOBUENA VISTA PICTURES/EVERETT COLLECTION (STICK IT)