The veteran actor talks about working with Mark Wahlberg, possible Stargate endeavors and other new projects
While Beau Bridges might have been born into Hollywood (both literally and figuratively), that doesn't meant he didn't have to work to where he is today. Born to legendary actor Lloyd Bridges, and older brother to Jeff Bridges, Beau has proven to be a constant workhorse, with over 160 film and television credits to his name, two Golden Globes, three Emmy's and a slew of other nominations and accolades to his credit, including a star on the Walk of Fame, right next to his father and brother. Bridges comes back to the silver screen for his role as BB Hensley in Max Payne, which just hit the shelves last week on January 20 and the disc topped all three home video charts in its first week in release. I spoke with Bridges over the phone about his role in this film, and here's what he had to say.
How did Beau Thorne's script come to you in the first place, and had you been familiar with the video game series at all before signing on?
Beau Bridges: No, actually, I'd never seen Max Payne. (Director) John Moore sent me the script and I read it and liked the story very much. My kids, when I mentioned it to them, they immediately went, 'Oh, you're kidding me! You're going to be in Max Payne?' I knew it was important to the young people. I did look at the game to get a sense of what it was.
So how was your approach in preparing for this, because it's pretty rare we see you as any sort of bad guy at all.
Beau Bridges: Well, the nice thing about my character in this one is he's a good guy in most of it. That was the fun part of it. I have played villains in the past and, whenever I play a good guy, I try to find the darker sides in him and the opposite is true as well. If I play a villain, I want to find if there's anything in there that's redeeming about him and trying to get a sense of why he did the things that he did. He was a man who felt he'd been passed over and not respected, which led him to do terrible things.
Most of your scenes are with Mark Wahlberg and I believe this is your first time working with him, so how did you enjoy the whole experience of working with Mark?
Beau Bridges: Oh yeah. I think Mark is fantastic. This was a big call for him, in a lot of ways. There was a lot of emotional stuff in it for him and psychologically and he was up for that. Just physically, the call was enormous. At the end of it, he was like a fighter in a 12-round bout. He was all beat up and he did some very hard stuff because they didn't want to create a lot of those stunts digitally, they wanted him to do it. He was there, ready for the call.
There's a really great supporting cast as well with Mila Kunis, Olga Kurylenko, Ludacris, Donal Logue, Chris O'Donnell. How did you enjoy working with all of them?
Beau Bridges: I had some scenes with Ludacris and it was fun seeing how he adapted to a new world. He's from the music business but I know he's very interesting in getting going and I think he's got a lot of talent and was very dedicated and well-prepared. Mila, who's absolutely beautiful and did a great job, I didn't have any scenes with her.
Where did you actually film this and what was the vibe like on the set when you were shooting this?
Beau Bridges: We shot it in Toronto and, as you know, in the game, one of the most important aspects of it is the snowstorm, this tremendous snowstorm that lasts all throughout the game. It's almost like another character in the piece. I think that's one of the reasons why they wanted to film in Toronto. Sometimes you've got to be careful what you ask for. They wanted a storm and they certainly got one. There was a huge snowstorm coming through Toronto at that time and it was tough to work under those conditions. For the actors, it was hard because when you have these exterior scenes, I had a lot of dialogue outside and it was so cold I could hardly move my mouth. But the crew, they didn't even have the opportunity that the actors had to get out of it every once in awhile. They had to be out there all the time and I don't know how they did it sometimes. Then when the storm finally passed through, when we were maybe two-thirds of the way through the movie, then they had to re-create the snow and that was another challenge, bringing in all the snow machines and putting fake snow down. It was an interesting part of it. I like Toronto. Toronto is a great city and I've worked there quite a bit before and it was fun to return there.
John Moore is a very visual director and this film had a really distinct look, even coming in with the video game. How did you like his style on the set and the overall look of the film when you saw it?
Beau Bridges: Yeah, I enjoyed working with John. I could tell from the very beginning what he said and, in coming from the technical side, that the film would have a real stylized look to it, and that as true. What surprised me a little about John is he also is very much into the characters and their development. We had a series of rehearsals and talks and he got very specific about who the people were and it was obvious that he wanted to actors to really get on board with him about our characters and make sure we're all on the same page. That impressed me because I thought this guy just might be a technical kind of director but he was interested enough in the whole deal.
Your career has been pretty even between TV and film. Is there any sort of preference for you, or does it all just boil down to the material?
Beau Bridges: The most important element of anything, whether it's TV or theatrical or on stage, the most important element is the story itself. Shakespeare said a long time ago, 'The play is the thing,' and I agree with him. That's the most important part of it and that's what attracted me to this was the story. The fact that it came out of a video game, when I heard that, I first thought, 'Well, there's not going to be much to this,' and then it does have a pretty strong story behind it, this man on a quest to find his family's killer.
So is there any chance for any sort of a Stargate resurrection with you?
Beau Bridges: Well, I haven't talked directly with those guys for awhile, but I know they have a new show coming out called Stargate Universe. They've got a complete new cast, but there has been talk, just rumors, that maybe they'll have some of the Stargate SG-1 cast back, but I don't know. I enjoyed doing that. I did that for two, three years, maybe almost four years with the movies that I did. It was a good experience and I wouldn't mind at all going back and doing some more.
What can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects, like Don't Fade Away, Dirty Politics, or anything else that you're eyeing up or working on?
Beau Bridges: Yeah. I just finished my looping on Don't Fade Away with Mischa Barton. It seems like it's a pretty good movie. It has a chance to have some potential. I haven't seen the whole thing yet. They haven't locked it yet. Dirty Politics, I haven't seen that one either. I just finished my looping on that, so it'll be interesting to see how those films turn out. They should be out pretty soon. I just got through doing Desperate Housewives. That was fun. It was they're 100th episode. That was fantastic. I really enjoyed that so much, because I know most of those ladies and they're so talented. (Creator) Marc Cherry wrote a really great script, so it was fun.
Will you be returning to My Name Is Earl as well??
Beau Bridges: I'd like to. I don't know how many more seasons Earl's going to be going. It's been awhile since I've been on that show because, maybe one of the reasons why is the lady who plays my wife, Nancy Lenehan, she's in a series called Worst Week, so she's kind of tied up in that. But I'd love to go on Earl. I've done a bunch of those now and they're always fun.
So, finally, Max Payne is on the DVD shelves now. What would you like to say to those who might not have caught this in theaters to entice them to pick this up on DVD?
Beau Bridges: I just think that it's a good ride. All the action, which is at the heart of the video game, is very much there. I think it's a wild ride and I think Mark Wahlberg won't disappoint them as Max Payne. He's an exciting actor to watch, both in psychological scenes and in the action, so I would recommend it to anyone.
Excellent. Well that's about all I have for you, Beau. Thanks so much for your time today and best of luck.
Beau Bridges: Yeah. Good talking to you.
You can catch Beau Bridges alongside Mark Wahlberg and this excellent supporting cast in Max Payne, which is available on DVD and Blu-ray right now.