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CRAZY HEART

Fallin' and Flyin'
Jeff Bridges is one of those chameleonesque actors who is perhaps better known for the indelible characters he has played than for his own persona. His memorably naturalistic performances include the charming Texan Duane Jackson in Peter Bogdanovich's THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (garnering his first Oscar® nomination for supporting actor); the irreverent Lightfoot, sidekick to Clint Eastwood's bank robber in Michael Cimino‘s THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT (his second Oscar nomination); the computer programmer Kevin Flynn, imprisoned inside a computer in the groundbreaking TRON; the alien who crashes to earth in STARMAN (his third Oscar nomination and first for best actor); the lounge pianist Jack Baker in the seductive romance THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS; the shock-jock talk radio host Jack Lucas in THE FISHER KING; the air crash survivor Max Klein in FEARLESS; the quintessential slacker Jeff Lebowski, aka "The Dude,” in the Coen Brothers' THE BIG LEBOWSKI; U.S. President Jackson Evans in the political drama THE CONTENDER (which garnered a fourth Oscar nomination); the industrialist super-villain Obadiah Stane in the blockbuster IRON MAN; and, most recently, psychic Army Officer Bill Django in THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS.

With Bad Blake, Bridges would vanish once again into the skin of another man, exposing Bad's genius and flaws, his loneliness, foolishness and hopefulness, in the course of his unexpectedly life-changing romance with Jean Craddock.

"I think people are going to look at this as one of Jeff Bridges' signature roles,” comments Rob Carliner, "one that you'll always associate with him.”

For Scott Cooper, the role was always destined to be played by Bridges. "We knew from the beginning we wanted Jeff without question,” he recalls. "He is one of America's finest actors. Every gesture he makes is earned; every thing he does is real. And I knew he was already a very talented musician.”

Bridges says he was drawn like a magnet to the script. "Oh, there were so many wonderful elements to this one,” he remarks. "Music, for one, comes to mind. I've been playing music since I was a kid so that was a big draw for me. I also loved Scott's script. We got along instantaneously and he's very talented. He knows country music backwards and forwards and his enthusiasm is contagious. Then there's Bad Blake, who is such a human guy. He's like all of us, with lots of positive qualities and plenty more faults.”

He continues: "It was also a chance to work Bob Duvall, who is one of my favorite actors and with some old friends – T Bone Burnett, Stephen Bruton and our production designer, Waldemar Kalinowksi – who all worked on HEAVEN'S GATE together.”

Bridges approached from a music angle first. Although he has been a serious musician for years, and has even recorded an album (BE HERE SOON in 2000), nailing Blake's particular mannerisms was key to the role, as was getting down the style of a man who was once a legend and now performs live as much as Bad Blake does. To immerse himself in that very particular world, Bridges spent days and nights working with T Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton – playing and singing and soaking up atmosphere – until it was second nature to him. Only then did the character begin to instinctually emerge.

"Both the acting and the music need to be on an equal level – and they are,” observes Carliner.

"Jeff could already play and sing, but he really studied hard to be Bad Blake,” the late Stephen Bruton noted. "We tried to make his performances accurate to what a man who has been playing every night for 40 years would really be like, which was a very interesting challenge.” Adds Cooper: "Jeff had to perform in many different ways -- when Bad is drunk, and when he is very sober and very somber. Ultimately, he did it all so delicately and beau

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