Jeff Bridges discussing his latest film, a possible Tron remake along with several Iron Man questions thrown in.

We took part in First Look Studio's press-day in Los Angeles for their latest film The Amateurs. The film stars an impressive cast featuring Jeff Bridges, Tim Blake Nelson, Joe Pantoliano, William Fichtner, Ted Danson, Patrick Fugit, John Hawkes, Brad William Henke, Glenne Headly, Tom Bower, Dawn Didawick, Jayne Taini, Lauren Graham, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Alex D. Linz.

In the film, down-and-out divorcee Andy Sargentee (Jeff Bridges), with the help of his five motley friends, brainstorms a genius idea to make their dreams come true. They are going to rally their small town to produce an amateur adult film! They think they've found the road to fame and fortune, but their fantasy quickly turns into a hilarious misadventure as they encounter more than a few bumps in the road. Their good natured attempts lead to the creation of the most un-adult, adult film ever. See how The Amateurs bring an entire small town together, in the biggest comedic disaster turned boffo box office success.

We attended a press-conference with actor Jeff Bridges who answered several questions about the film, as well as mentioned that there might be a Tron sequel ... and of course, we had to press him for any Iron Man information we could get. Here is what Jeff had to say:

What was the attraction for you to this role?

Jeff Bridges: Like most of the movies I get involved with, I resisted as long as possible, I really try to figure out why I shouldn't do it and this one had plenty of reasons "not to do it". The reasons that attracted me to it in the first place is that it was so unusual. I had never read script like this and was attempting to put these, the porn aspect and then this heart-felt kind of sweetness, it's like Frank Capra, put those two things together and I thought that was really interesting. Very ambitious but I didn't know if this guy who had never directed a film, Mike Traeger who wrote the script would be able to pull it off and also it seemed odd, I've done movies in the past that have so many characters and I find it's very hard to follow all these stories. You end up not caring about any of the people and I thought that would be the case in this film, and you had these big speeches for each character, you know, it's like "God that's how you'll have to cut that down in order to paste it all", to edit the movie and my representatives could say "no, you really you ought to check it out. You liked the freshness of it, c'mon try it" and I said "oh God, I read it three of four times" and finally I said "all right, I want you guys to organize a reading and I want you to be there to see how terrible this is not going to work at all", so we had a table like this, and read the script, and it was just great, and then that kind of swept me up and I figured well maybe Mike can hit this very small target because it could have gone, could have not worked and I think it works very well.

What is it about your character which you hope will reach out to people?

Jeff Bridges: One of the themes I think that kind of runs through the whole thing is about how important friendship is. I think one of the cool things about this movie is that Mike Traeger and the producer, Aaron Ryder, are best friends and so that initial relationship and friendship permeated the whole shooting of it and so I hope that people come away appreciating their own friendships.

How much did you have to do with the casting. It's such a great cast.

Jeff Bridges: Isn't it a wonderful cast. I really spent a lot of time with them casting the film and I was encouraged to give all my input and everything and the guys listened to me and, but that was the case for all of us, it was a very inclusive kind of feel for the whole project. Mike was always interested with what everyone kind of thought and probably the coolest surprise casting-wise was that Mary Steenburgen came in to read for a part and she said "it's a wonderful script and I like the part and all that, but the real reason I'm here is to agent my husband Ted Danson. He must play Moose", and that was out-of-the-blue. We had no idea, we never considered him and we said "really, well ok, he's a great actor. We'll try him out" and he just, of course, knocked it out of the park. He was wonderful. But the cast, it was just so fortunate that we got such a great cast and we assembled before we started shooting at my parent's beach house to kind of establish that, people friendship that we would all have and that was a lot of fun.

Did you consider, because it's such a great cast, when you did the read-through, did a lot of the dialogue change, or was there a lot of ad-libbing throughout this movie?

Jeff Bridges: No, it's like ... there's lots of good movies where you feel that the dialogue could be improvised, but very little was. The "Big Lebowski" was like that where people say "oh, you know, that sounds so..." and we'd always go back and get every man, every ellipses in there the way these guys write it. Because not only is it saying what Michael wants the character to say but the way they all speak kind of creates this tone because it's not exactly real. You have that Frank Capra kind of side to it and the characters are really well drawn, so I think everybody tried their best to stay faithful to the script.

Where did you film this?

Jeff Bridges: A little called Fillmore, outside of L.A., we shoot a lot of movies there, in Southern California.

There's rumors about a Tron sequel.

Jeff Bridges: I know and I'm always curious to what they're going to say, I haven't heard about it. I hear they're going to pitch me one pretty soon. We were all so excited when that came out with the technology and everything and then about 2-seconds, every commercial on the TV, you can see all that stuff ... The reason to do it is because it was so innovative and I understand they've got a whole new batch of stuff like that, innovations that they want to use on that, so that could be kind of fun.

Can you talk about Iron Man at all?

Jeff Bridges: Well, let's see ... it's based on a comic book. What drew me to that was the cast that they had and Jon Favreau is directing it and I've admired his acting and his writing and his directing for a while so they have been very fortunate to have him and the helm and Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man and he is wonderful to work with and is very talented. Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, great cast. I got to shave my head, which is a plus. I looked through the comic book and I said "Ohhh, the guy's bald".

Was it scary to shave your head?

Jeff Bridges: Kind of scary, but kind of cool, I enjoyed it. I really liked.

In the trailer, they show you looking at the armor very menacingly. Have you seen any of the footage. Has Jon showed you anything?

Jeff Bridges: No, I'm going to see it in a couple of weeks I think, but from the trailer ... one of the things I like about the trailer, you kind of get a taste of the tone of the film, which is a bit, really good and I enjoyed that and Jon Favreau and Robert were really the ones who were responsible for setting that tone. I think it's going to be good that way.

What's more challenging for you ... to do a small movie like this or a big budget summer movie like Iron Man?

Jeff Bridges: Each one has a different, sort of the same and different, there's the, part of the challenge of making it seem real and kind of creating the world that you're in and making interesting choices, that's kind of goes across on all the movies, but with each movie, it's almost like you're sitting down and playing a different game of cards with a bunch of different people and you don't know what kind of cards you're going to get, what the game is going to be. Each one is very different. Generally speaking, I would say I enjoy the smaller films more because there's a less sense of pressure and ... often the material is more unusual, but in Iron Man it was kind of both worlds colliding because there was a lot of improvisation not to, that we had problems with the scenes, but to discover the actual scenes themselves. We would do improvisation together. And that in a way, had almost a "student-film side" where we'd be sitting there with Robert Downey and Jon Favreau and we're playing around, we're jamming around and we read those pages and in next couple of days that's what we do, so it was a good experience. Kind of frightening at first because you didn't quite know how it was going to work out, but they had some very talented people there so it worked out well ... I'm hoping, I haven't seen anything.

Are doing a book for it? (FYI - Jeff creates a book for every movie he is heavily involved in, which is somewhat of a photo-album of the cast/crew behind-the-scenes. The press journalists who took part in the press-conference, received his book for The Amateurs, so one of the journalists is asking if he plans on creating a book for Iron Man as well.)

Jeff Bridges: I wasn't in Iron Man enough to really, I felt like it wouldn't have really shown the whole scope of making the movie. I took some photographs and I wasn't that knocked out by them.

Have you filmed anything since Iron Man or do you have anything that you are getting ready to do?

Jeff Bridges: After Iron Man, I did a movie with Simon Pegg. "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" and that was a fun one. Got to go to England for that and work with my buddy Bob Weide. This is first directorial job. He works on one of the, one of the famous things he's done that I like very much was Curb Your Enthusiasm. He was one of the writers, producers and directors.

You play the boss in the movie?

Jeff Bridges: Yeah

Could you talk a little bit about your character in the film and your relationship with Simon in the film.

Jeff Bridges: Simon plays an editor of a magazine that's very cutting edge and doesn't pull any punches. A very small magazine. And I play the editor chief of the magazine thats a bit Esquire or Vanity Fair. It's based on a book and in that, I play Graydon Carter. And I'm not impersonating Graydon Carter or anything like that, but that the kind of guy that I am in the story and I want to bring Simon on board to add a little cutting edge, and in my character's past, I too had a small magazine like Simon that was a no-holds-barred kind of thing.

How was it working with Simon?

Jeff Bridges: He was great. A very lovely guy and wonderful to work with.

In this film, your character Andy has to review a lot of tape for his research. Did that inspire you to watch take-after-take of porn?

Jeff Bridges: You know, I've done all my research already before I came to the movie (laughter thorough the room).

The holidays are coming up. Do you have any family Christmas or Thanksgiving traditions you're looking forward to celebrating again?

Jeff Bridges: Well, Thanksgiving we'll all gather at my house for dinner and we usually do Christmas at Beau's house. My mom is still feisty and kicking. She's 92. I saw her last night and she published a book at 90. It's a wonderful book called "You Caught Me Kissing" and it's basically love-poems that she wrote for my dad. It's more than that, it's a wonderful book.

Are you and Beau looking at doing any projects together in the future?

Jeff Bridges: We always look, for a while Beau was going to be in this and it was going to be wonderful to work with him again, but then it didn't work out. He had some other obligations that he had to do and he couldn't do it, but we're always looking for something to do. It's hard to find something that kind of transcends the gimmick of the brother thing and with the "Fabulous Baker Boys", that script was so great. That was one that just fit us like a glove, sort of kind of come up to find something as good as that. Somebody said they were talking to Michelle Pfeiffer and she was saying that there is going to be a sequel. I don't know, but that (giggly-smiles).

What part was Beau going to play in this?

Jeff Bridges: They were going to switch it and make Tim Blake Nelson's character my brother.

The Amateurs arrives in theatres on December 7th.

Cinemark Movie Club