Date of publishing: 23rd
Eldest son of actor Lloyd Bridges, Beau Bridges is
part of a preeminent Hollywood acting dynasty. In
1990, he was named Best Supporting Actor by the National
Society of Film Critics for his performance in The
Fabulous Baker Boys, in which he starred opposite
his brother Jeff. In 1992, he received an Emmy, a
Golden Globe, and a CableACE Award for Outstanding
Lead Actor in Without Warning: The James Brady Story.
He garnered another Emmy and Golden Globe in 1993
as Outstanding Supporting Actor for The Positively
True Adventures of the Alleged Cheerleader-Murdering
Mom. A third Emmy was won in 1997 for Outstanding
Supporting Actor in The Second Civil War. In total,
he has been nominated for 10 Emmys and for four Golden
Globes. Bridges has portrayed a myriad of characters
during his successful career, which spans more than
four decades. He started at a young age, making his
feature-film debut in director Lewis Milestone's The
Red Pony. He also appeared in his dad's TV show Sea
Hunt. In 1967, Bridges played his first adult role
in Larry Peerce's feature film The Incident, and he
has worked virtually nonstop ever since. Beau Bridges
has now a regular role in Stargate SG-1, playing General
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Nuytens: I understand
that the shooting of the Stargate movies is complete.
Can you talk about your experiences in doing movies
and describe some of the differences between the movies
shoot and the series?
Beau Bridges: The series is now complete.
I joined at the last two years of the series as General
Landry and now we’re making two, two hour movies,
based on the same franchise, the same characters.
And Robert Cooper and Brad Wright, the showrunners
and creators of the show, got a little bit more money
for their production values. Actually, for one of
the movies, we went very close to the North Pole,
up in the Artic Circle and worked on a submarine that
goes under the ice. I think it’ll be, should
be pretty pleasing to the fans.
Gilles Nuytens: Can
you talk about your experience in the Ark of Truth?
Beau Bridges: It takes off where the last episode
of the series began. And it’s pretty much kind
of tying up some of the strings of that story. The
Ori are very much involved and threatening us with
one last attempt to attack us. And I actually get
on a ship, which doesn’t happen very often for
General Landry’s character, and I go out and
get to be involved in the battle, which is kind of
Gilles Nuytens: What
can we expect from General Landry in the two movies?
Beau Bridges: I think that by now, in the very beginning
when I first joined the show, General Landry was like
a new kid in school. I was coming into a situation
I didn’t really know much about, and now, after
a couple of years, the character’s kind of mellowed
and gotten comfortable working at the command center
and very comfortable with his troops. What they always
do with these shows is they always leave them open-ended.
The SG-1 franchise has been so successful for the
network, that they always want to keep it open, an
option to do it again in some way, whether that’s
a movie or a series, or whatever.
Gilles Nuytens: There
must be a lot of jokes and funny experiences on the
sets. Can you share some that happened during the
shooting of the two new movies?
Beau Bridges: The guy who leads all
the humor that’s involved is Chris Judge, Teal’c.
It was a lot of fun getting back together. We hadn’t
seen each other for a long time, after the hiatus
of the show. It was great fun getting back together
with the troops and seeing Ben Browder, who is actually
a neighbor of mine in California. And we spent a lot
of time together. So it was great seeing him. There
are a lot of babies on the set now, because a lot
of the ladies have had kids. And kids are always welcome
on the set of Stargate: SG-1. They’re all over
the place. Which is great because it kind of brings
the experience into perspective, because, in the end,
that’s what we’re doing: we're out there
playing, pretending. A children’s game.
Nuytens: Are there
already any talks of what’s going next for SG-1?
Beau Bridges: Nope, not yet. I’m
actually going in two or three days up to Vancouver
to complete the second movie, my work. I hope to talk
to the guys up there when I get up there to see if
there’s any other talk about doing anything
with Stargate. But like I said, business is about
money. And if a network knows they can make money
off an idea, then they’re going to keep doing
it until it’s done. And I think we’re
still making good money for them. They might think
of a different way to do it.
Gilles Nuytens: There
were some rumors of a third Stargate series. Do you
know anything about that?
Beau Bridges: No, I haven’t heard anything.
But I’m excited about that proposition and it
would be fun if I got to be involved in it. But I’ll
talk to the guys when I go back up and find out what’s
going on. But so far I haven’t heard anything
about a third series.
Gilles Nuytens: Can
we expect to see you in season four of Atlantis?
Beau Bridges: Yes, as you know, I appeared several
times on Atlantis while I was doing Stargate. And
they’ve mentioned to me before that they’d
like me do some, but right now I have nothing specific
to report. I know Amanda Tapping is a regular now
on the show. But I have no plans to do that as we
speak. But I don’t know.
Gilles Nuytens: Would
you like to continue your Stargate experience toward
Beau Bridges: Oh sure. I really enjoyed General Landry,
his character, and as many times as I could play him
would be a joy whether it’s on Atlantis or Stargate:
SG-1. The people who run the Atlantis operation are
really the same group behind the scenes that do Stargate.
And they run a real tight ship. And the actors on
Atlantis, I really like them. So yeah, sure, I’d
like to do more of those.
Gilles Nuytens: Every
actor use some aspects of their own personality to
build their character. What aspect from yourself did
you use to play General Landry? Do you have anything
Beau Bridges: Well, what was interesting
in creating this character, when Robert Cooper and
Brad Wright asked me to be a part of the show, there
was no script and there was no character, other than
the fact that he was a general. So, they just said
can you come aboard SG-1 as a general. And I said,
well, great, I said, let’s talk about who this
guy is. And they were nice enough to allow me to collaborate
with them on creating the character. And I did that.
And because I was stepping in a pair of shoes that
I’ve not experienced—I’ve been in
positions of leadership, but I’ve never been
a general before—I went out and researched all
the American generals from General George Washington
up to present and made a collection of things they
said and believed. Wrote it all down and then actually
put it into categories, because the generals, I found
out, were talking about things they had in common:
like family, battle strategy, life, death, and all
these things. So I categorized all my notes, my findings,
and then I handed that into the producers and the
writers and they used a lot of that in developing
my character. I had played presidents before, the
head of the CIA, and guys who were in positions of
leadership, and have directed films before, so I have
been in positions of leadership myself. I also had
two men that really impressed me in my early life,
who were leaders: that’s my dad Lloyd Bridges,
who was an actor and kind of a leader in his field,
and also my college basketball coach, John Wooden,
who was one of the most successful college basketball
coaches that ever lived. He won ten straight national
championships. I use those guys as inspiration a lot.
My father, my coach. That’s kind of how I came
up with General Landry.
Nuytens: Are you
happy with the evolution of General Landry since you
first appeared in the show?
Beau Bridges: Yes, I like the way
he’s evolved as a character, General Landry.
Like I said in the beginning I was kind of new to
Stargate Command and perhaps a bit nervous about it.
I had been retired and did not really want to come
back into service, but they pressed me to do it, Jack
O’Neill. And I get back into it. At first, I
was kind of whipping people into shape, losing my
temper a few times, but then as the seasons have gone
down, General Landry has gotten more comfortable with
his command position, so I’ve been able to relax
as a person. They’ve also given me stories,
my character, where I can evolve as a human being
beyond just planning battle strategies and stuff.
Did that episode where I took the team up to the mountains,
to a mountain cabin to get their sort of r&r,
little rest and recuperation. And that allowed me
to have some fun with them, the team, in a more human
kind of way, an easy going way. And then my whole
family relationship, with my daughter, I thought that
was a really interesting evolution for my character,
because I was estranged from my daughter and my ex-wife.
We came up with that idea because I think people who
are in positions of leadership, they are human just
like the rest of us and have the same kind of problems.
I thought that would be interesting to show that.
Gilles Nuytens: Did
you have some input in creating the character of Dr.
Beau Bridges: Not so much in her character, once it
was decided, but the part that I was involved in was
just coming up with the concept of me having an ex-wife
who I met in Vietnam and having a daughter that I
was estranged from. And then they came up with the
idea of having her go to work at Stargate Command,
instigated by Jack O’Neill, which I thought
was a great idea to create a lot of tension and stuff.
It’s good. And she’s a wonderful actress,
Lexa, who plays Dr. Lam. You know of course she’s
Michael Shanks’s wife in reality. Lexa Doig.
Gilles Nuytens: Yeah!
Are you going to participate in the special features
of the upcoming season 10 DVDs?
Beau Bridges: I’m not sure. I haven’t
so far. But they may ask me to when I go up there.
Nuytens: After two
years on the Stargate franchise, what is your best
memory from it?
Beau Bridges: Well I think, it’s
almost like any job, the thing that I remember most
about the experience is the people I worked with and
the friends I made. Like I told you before, it’s
a really great group of people that are behind the
scenes as well as the actors. And they all have really
a great time. It’s a real party doing that film;
it’s not hardly like doing work at all. And
that’s what I’ll remember the most about
them: the people.
Gilles Nuytens: What
was the most challenging scene you had to do in Stargate?
Beau Bridges: For me the most challenging
aspects of doing the show, all the scenes really I
had to do that involve technical stuff. You know,
different weaponry, the kind of space talk about the
ships, and all of that, gets very confusing to me,
because I’m not up on all that stuff. I really
appreciate how Amanda Tapping and Michael Shanks,
they get most of that kind of dialogue. And they just
whip right though it, so they were kind of an inspiration
to me, but I’ve always had a little bit of difficulty
with it. I had to go over it and over it again and
again until I got it right. Scientific gobblegoo.
Gilles Nuytens: What
was the most enjoyable scene?
Beau Bridges: I had one, I really
love an episode, I forget which season it was in,
but it was with Dr. Lam, with Lexa Doig, and we were
beginning to break through our estrangement and I
had basically asked her for forgiveness when I thought
I was going to die. And it was a good scene. One of
those scenes that you never know quite how it’s
going to turn out but you hope for the best. And in
this case I thought it turned out pretty good.
Gilles Nuytens: You
mentioned earlier that you liked sci-fi. Do you have
any new sci-fi projects coming?
Beau Bridges: Not so far, but in
the past I’ve done them. And in fact, and I
don’t know if you’re aware of the fact,
Brad Wright, he’s one of the show runners, he
helped create a series about ten years ago: The Outer
Limits. Myself and my father, and my son, Dylan, who
was ten at the time, we did the pilot, the two hour
movie called the Sand Kings. We kicked that off. So
sci-fi is something that I’ve always enjoyed,
but right now I have no plans. Brad Wright wrote that.
I think he wrote it. I know he produced it.
Nuytens: What are
your other upcoming projects?
Beau Bridges: Well, I’ve done
a number of these "My Name is Earl" shows.
I play Earl’s father. It’s a half-hour
comedy. And I’ll be doing some more of those.
I have a movie coming out that I did with Misha Barton,
called Don’t Fade Away.
Gilles Nuytens: Can
you speak about that movie and your role in it?
Beau Bridges: It’s about a father who is dying
and his relationship with his son. And Misha plays
my son’s girlfriend.
Gilles Nuytens: Can
you speak about your experience in "My Name is
Beau Bridges: It’s a hit comedy series. Jason
Lee is the lead actor, Earl. He’s kind of a
real crazy character, and so is his dad. And I get
to play his dad. And we have a lot of fun. He put
me through hell when he was a kid. And if you know
about the show, he’s trying to cross off a list
of all the terrible things he’s done to people
through out his life. He’s trying to make it
good with all these people that he crosses off. And
he’s done so many terrible things to me, his
dad, that he’s always trying to make it better.
Gilles Nuytens: Last
year, you appeared in four episodes. Are there any
Beau Bridges: In this next year, Earl goes to prison.
And Greg Garcia, the guy who runs the show and writes
them, told me that he wants me to come and visit Earl,
in prison. I haven’t seen any scripts yet, but
that’s probably what’s going to happen.
Gilles Nuytens: You
also play in a movie called the Good German, with
George Clooney. Can you talk about your experience
on the movie and your experience with the actors?
Beau Bridges: Sure. Steven Soderbergh
was the director on it. I didn’t have a very
large part, but I had three or four nice scenes. He
was an excellent director. I was very impressed with
him. Very efficient. Got things done on time. And
then most of my scenes were with George. I was also
impressed with him. He’s a really nice guy,
makes it all really easy. We just had a good time.
I thought it was remarkable how they recreated wartime
Germany on a back lot, in California. It was pretty
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you have some interest in writing or directing movies?
Beau Bridges: I’ve directed
seven or eight films. And always really enjoy the
process, would like to do it again. It’s just
a matter of finding the time to do it, because directing
takes up a lot of time. It’s not just the shooting
of the movie, but you have the pre-production and
the post-production, so it’s usually three or
four months of your time. Fortunately I’ve been
busy as an actor, so I haven’t found the time
to do it, but I want to. And likewise for writing.
I’ve done some writing. I haven’t had
anything I’ve written made into a movie yet,
but I’m always trying. I’m very interested
in creating the stories.
Nuytens: From all
your amazing career, what are you the most proud of?
Beau Bridges: I think I’ve
gotten some great opportunities. I do believe, like
Shakespeare said a long time ago, the play’s
the thing, the story is the most important element.
And I’ve been able to tell some good stories.
I got in Norma Ray, with Sally Field, that was a good
story. The Fabulous Baker Boys, a movie I did with
my brother, I thought was a wonderful story. On television,
I did Without Warning: The James Brady Story, about
the press secretary, Jim Brady, who got shot while
he was alongside President Regan. I’ve been
fortunate to get to be in some good stories.
Gilles Nuytens: Some
actors are fond of the show, they play on it. Are
you a fan of Stargate?
Beau Bridges: Oh yeah, I love Stargate.
I enjoy watching it. And I hadn’t seen too many
before hand. They sent me a bunch to watch and I Liked
them because of the stories. I think it’s fascinating
how Brad Wright and Robert Cooper are able to create
this whole world. It’s just amazing. And I think
one of the things that drives them is they feel a
responsibly, as all the actors do as well, to this
incredible group of fans that we have that who are
so dedicated to the show. So we always want to make
it the best we can. It starts with the guys who write
it. And I think Rob Cooper and Brad Wright and all
the wonderful team of writers they have turned out
some great stories.
Gilles Nuytens: What
do you like to watch on TV?
Beau Bridges: I’ve been watching Lost a little
bit, I like that. And I like Dancing with the Stars.
And I like American Idol. My favorite singer won this
time. Jordan. Thought she was a really great singer.
I don’t watch a lot of tv. I watch a lot of
sports on tv. Basketball. Whatever’s on.
Gilles Nuytens: Is
there any project or movie you’d really like
to be part of?
Beau Bridges: I don’t know. I just love to work.
Once again it depends on what the story is, but right
now, no, nothing specific that I can think of.
Gilles Nuytens: They’ve
created that show, called Sanctuary, that’s
only available online. What do you think of that kind
of TV show? That new kind of TV show?
Beau Bridges: I think we are in a
very exciting period of time for our business because
all of the technological side of it is changing so
rapidly. And how we’re going to distribute films.
It’s exciting to be a part of that, but it’s
also a little worrisome, because as a actor you’re
not quite sure how you’re going to fit in. But
I’m sure they’ll work it out. And I think,
yeah, it’s all going to streaming product, direct
to the net. I’m sure they’ll figure it
out. The hard part is going to be decide how we’ll
all get paid and how all that works out. But they’ll
figure it out.
about this interview on the forum