Apr 242013
 

In this episode of the Wait Wait… Jeff Bridges made his film debut when he was 4 months old and has been acting ever since — he has appeared in dozens of films and won an Oscar along the way, yet will always be known for his defining performance as The Dude in 1998’s The Big Lebowski. He has now co-written a book drawing life lessons from the character called

Because Bridges is one of the Bridges of Hollywood, we’ve invited him to play a quiz about The Bridges of Madison County. He’ll answer three questions about the 1990s literary and movie phenomenon in a game called “You will never again know a passion like this.”

Listen to the Story

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT…DON’T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I’m Carl Kasell. And here’s your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

(APPLAUSE)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Carl. Thanks, everyone. Thank you, everyone. Well, it’s April. And you know what that means.

KASELL: Spring break.

SAGAL: Carl, most people took their spring break back in the last week of March.

KASELL: You’re a sucker if you only took one.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Fair enough. So while Carl is off trying to win yet another wet sport coat contest, we thought we’d revisit some of our favorite Not My Job segments of the last few months. We’re going to start off with the Dude, or his Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into that whole…

KASELL: It’s Jeff Bridges, Peter. Calm yourself. We began by asking him to describe his iconic character, the Dude, from “The Big Lebowski.”

JEFF BRIDGES: Well, The Dude is a guy who doesn’t really do much. He’s more into being Dude. He’s not much of a doer.

SAGAL: Yeah, he just abides, is the phrase.

BRIDGES: Yeah, yeah.

SAGAL: The Dude abides.

BRIDGES: Yes.

SAGAL: When you made this movie back in the late ’90s, did you have any idea it would become the phenomenon and that character would become such a touchstone?

BRIDGES: Well, it’s, you know, Bernie, my buddy, who’s a Zen master, he came up to me one day and he said: Did you know that in Buddhist circles, many folks feel that The Dude is a Zen master?

I said, what are you talking about, man? We didn’t talk Zen or any kind of spirituality when we were making that movie. And he goes, oh, yeah, it’s full of koans. You know what a koan is, right?

ADAM FELBER: Yeah, they wrote the movie.

(LAUGHTER)

BRIDGES: That’s what Bernie’s point was. He says, come on. You know, and our film, “Lebowski” is filled with, you know, modern-day koans, you know, like, well, “the dude abides” might be one. You know, The Dude (bleep) has come to light.

(LAUGHTER)

BRIDGES: You know, shut the (bleep).

(LAUGHTER)

 

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