‘The Old Man’ Brought Jeff Bridges to TV. John Lithgow Had No Advice.
Both of us were having a fabulous time, but both of us were restless, wanting to get together. Chase and Harper have such a fascinating and complex story. We were two tigers waiting for that red meat.
Jeff, what was it like for you coming back to the production after such a difficult couple of years?
BRIDGES It all seems like a bizarre dream because I’d come back to work, and I thought I was going to die for quite a while. I really was in the surrender mode thinking, “Shift gears here, buddy, because this is the end.” And now, blink my eyes, and I’m back at work with all the same actors and crew, and it felt like we had a long weekend. That dream quality, I still have that now in my life. It’s not necessarily a nightmare, either. There were some wonderful things that I think you only discover in times like that.
Those fight scenes are brutal. Did you have to get yourself back into shape first, or did you adapt your approach?
BRIDGES No, we had some fights and stuff that we had to do, and it was important for the story. I had a trainer, Zach Wermers, who was my physical therapist from my illness, and we met three times a week. We had these little goals. The first one said, “Well, let’s see how long you can stand.” And I stand for 45 seconds, and then that’s it.
My big goal was walking my daughter down the aisle without oxygen. After I did that, and I danced with her, I said, “Well, maybe I’ll be able to go back to work?” I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do it.