Entertainment & Arts

Jeff Bridges: I’m trying not to make films any more

Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water
Image caption Hell or High Water is released in the UK this weekend

Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges has said he is "trying not to act" any more as it is too much commitment.

"I really try my best not to do movies," the 66-year-old told BBC News. "I try not to act because I have so many other things I like to do, like playing guitar.

"Once you commit you are busy so I really try not to engage."

However the star, who won the best actor Oscar in 2010, admitted good scripts were difficult to turn down.

He said that was the case for his latest film, crime drama Hell or High Water, in which he plays a Texan sheriff and also stars Star Trek actor Chris Pine and The Program's Ben Foster.

"You get a script like this one, and this cast, and you end up doing [another film]. That seems to be my modus operandi," Bridges says.

Made by British-born film-maker David Mackenzie - who directed Jack O'Connell crime drama Starred Up - Hell or High Water sees Pine and Foster play brothers in danger of losing the family home, so they rob branches of a bank in order to pay back the mortgage they owe to the same institution.

Some critics believe the film, from Sicario screenwriter and actor Taylor Sheridan, is a stinging commentary on many of modern day America's problems.

A shoot out after a bank robbery occurs with many gun-carrying members of the public involved, banks are hungry for foreclosed property, and the entire area - called The Comancheria - once belonged to native American tribes who have been displaced.

Image copyright Lorey Sebastian
Image caption Gil Birmingham co-stars with Bridges in Hell or High Water

As Bridges admits, "the film does make you root for the bad guys", however despite its moral ambiguity the actor doesn't believe that bankers are the villains of the piece.

"The enemy is us," he says. "I am the villain in my own life. We are all in it together, and we're a funky bunch - violent and greedy, but that's us.

"We really are in a dilemma - on gun control, what do we do? The barn doors opened long ago, and the horses are out. I belong to organisations to improve gun safety and it's a problem to know how to control them. They are prolific and it's too late. The right to bear arms was set in motion a long time ago - now how do we navigate the things of history?

"It's the same with nuclear weapons - and look what we did with slavery, and the native Americans. We have never 'fessed up and taken responsibility for these wrongs and it all piles up. Finally the chickens have come home to roost."

Bridges adds he deplores the "short-sighted view that we can keep progressing and we just look out for ourselves - yet we are connected as a world".

"I understand Trump's policies because there's a lot of fear, but I don't necessarily think that's the path to take," he says.

"I often think of the way all these different people come together to make a movie, to create something beautiful and I wonder - why can't the world be like that? The world's quite a script, we shouldn't throw up our hands and refuse to engage with it."

After its release in North America, Hell or High Water attracted approval ratings of 98% on the critics site Rotten Tomatoes.

Previously the script had topped Hollywood's 2012 Black List - an industry survey of "most-liked" screenplays not yet made - and Bridges, who played cowboy Rooster Cogburn in the Coen Brothers' western True Grit, calls it "another western - a modern day one".

"Take away the cars and you'd be left with a pure old-fashioned western. That genre will never be killed off - it's too fascinating," he says.

Hell Or High Water is released in the UK on 9 September.


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