The Big Lebowski has built up quite a cult following in the past 16 years. There’s even an internet religion based on the film’s central character, the Dude. (Central tenet of Dudeism: “The idea is this: Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man.”) If it seems strange, then, to turn to Jeff Bridges, the actor who embodied the Dude in all his Dudeness, for career advice, all we have to say is: “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”
(Photo Credit: InvernoDreaming/Flickr)
Bridges recently did an AMA for Reddit in which he answered questions on everything from the making of The Big Lebowski to the definition of love. Every word of it is worth a read, but the most unexpected part, perhaps, is how much really good advice Bridges gives about how to live a good life, personally and professionally.
For example, we found these bits of wisdom:
1. Dress the part.
“I heard for the Big Lebowski, the jellies worn by The Dude were actually a pair of your own. This true? Do you still wear said jellies?” asks le_marsh.
“That is true! And the costumer for The Big Lebwoski (and also True Grit and many of the Coen brothers films) came over to my house, and went through my closet, and there are quite a few articles of clothing that they used for The Dude from my closet,” Bridges writes. “The baseball shirt with the famous Japanese baseball player on it I stole from my brother Beau, that is in the movie. And there might be some other ones, but nothing is coming to mind, I would have to look at the movie and see.”
How does that relate to your career? Well, try to picture the Dude with his signature jelly sandals and socks look. You can’t do it. The Dude, while not exactly dressed for a corporate takeover, is perfectly attired for his chosen place in the universe. He is proof that you should dress for the job you want, even if that job is “deadbeat Lebowski.”
2. Be there for your co-workers.
Bridges’ AMA was conducted prior to Robin Williams’ recent death, making his praise of his Fisher King costar all the more poignant. He says that was inspired by Robin Williams’ acting — and his dedication and support.
“I remember one particular scene where Robin was in a coma, unconscious, and I had a long monologue, and I thought ‘Oh god, this guy is going to making jokes and stuff in the middle of this thing, winking at me trying to make me laugh,'” he wrote. “But when we got to that scene, he was so there for me in a completely silent way that I could feel his support in the silence. There was no winking or cracking jokes, and I finally came to learn that Robin is a very serious, accomplished actor, and comedy is just one of the tricks in his trick bag.”
3. Be open, and dig what’s happening to you.
Asked by one Redditor to share some wisdom, Bridges replies:
“Open at your own speed, but open. Dig what’s happening to you. By ‘dig’ I mean get into it. There are lessons for you there. And when it gets uncomfortable, that’s an important time to open and dig. There’s treasure in them thar hills.”
That’s good advice for anyone’s career — or life.
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