The guys hold fast!
Nearly 25 years after the debut of The Big Lebowski, Sam Elliott talked about recently reunited with Jeff Bridges at the 2023 SAG Awards in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
Elliott, 78, spoke of the Sunday gathering in Los Angeles by saying, “I’m sitting with Jeff at the table and I haven’t seen Jeff in quite a while.” “I’m so glad to be with him,” she said.
Bridges, 73, played protagonist Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski in the Coen brothers’ 1998 cult-classic crime-comedy film. Elliott played “The Stranger,” who serves as the movie’s narrator as he sits at the bar at the bowling alley the Dude regularly frequents with his friends.
Costarring John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman and more, The Big Lebowski follows the misadventures of Bridges’ slacker character as he is mistaken for a man who owes money to kingpin Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara).
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Bridges was up for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series (The Old Man) at the SAG Awards, while Elliott took home the trophy for outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or limited series (1883).
“I wonder if anybody else is gonna read anything tonight,” Elliott said on stage after pulling a piece of paper from his pocket to read his acceptance speech. “I do this because I didn’t expect to be up here. I only have 43 seconds to say this and I’ve already wasted a half of that.”
“What can I say in 45 seconds, after just receiving the most meaningful acknowledgement of my 55-year career from a group of my peers?” he continued. “Many of whom I don’t even know, or know only from afar as a fan who respects their work. Not time to say enough.”
“But I can say thank you, and I can tell you that I’m honored and grateful to be in your company, whether in this audience or at home,” Elliott added. “After seeing the work of my fellow nominees, I’m not sure I should be standing up here, but I’m sure I’ll get over that.”
Referencing his new award, he told his fellow actors and actresses, “I’m gonna treasure this guy, this gal, because it comes from all of you, my brothers and sisters from SAG-AFTRA. I’ll treasure it as a constant reminder of 1883 and what a gift it was for all of us on both sides of the camera.”
Back in 2018, Bridges, Goodman, 70, and Buscemi, 65, celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Big Lebowski during a segment on the Today show.
But did it really feel like two decades had passed?
“It does and it doesn’t. It’s strange,” Goodman said at the time. “There’s a whole generation now that’s growing up with this stuff, kids in college seeing it for the first time.”
Although Buscemi agreed with Goodman that the script was hilarious, he remembered not understanding why Bridges and Goodman’s characters were so mean to his Donny.
“I loved it, I thought it was really kind of wild and weird and funny,” he said. “But I have to say, when I was reading the part of Donny, I didn’t get it. I felt bad for the guy; I felt sad. I thought, ‘Why does Walter bully him all the time?’ And then my favorite scene is the ashes.”