The Big Lebowski writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen only had one “big” disagreement when steering star Jeff Bridges’ performance as the easygoing Dude.
“I had a little concern about how it was going to be directed by two people. I love my brother, but I think it would be really challenging to direct a film with him. I was wondering how it was gonna be to be directed by these brothers, and the only time that there was any disagreement between them was in that scene,” Bridges told Vanity Fair.
“It was just about when I was gonna hit my head with those bowling pins, and Joel said, ‘Now, when you’re gonna hit the bowling pins, kind of wince a little bit, ’cause you’re gonna be expecting some kind of pain.’ And Ethan says, ‘No, really — you think so? I think he should be kind of smiling, like this is kind of fun to be a bowling ball.’
“Joel said, ‘You really think so?’ And it kind of went back and forth like that then finally they just said, ‘Well, let’s shoot it both ways.’ That was the big disagreement.”
Bridges briefly reprises the role in a Stella Artois Super Bowl ad, where he appears alongside Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex in the City). Instead of ordering his drink of choice — a White Russian — the Dude orders an Artois, reinforcing the ad’s message to “change up the usual.”
For now, the Dude’s Super Bowl return is the closest thing to a sequel: the Coens previously definitively shot down ever making a Big Lebowski 2.
“Tara Reid likes to announce that just like [George] Clooney likes to announce Hail, Caesar!” Joel Coen told Variety, acknowledging Clooney’s efforts to push the brothers into moving forward with Caesar by announcing in the press it was to be his next project. “In this case, I don’t think we’ll oblige.”
Ethan Coen offered a simple “no” when approached about involvement with a proposed spinoff centered around John Turturro’s bowling nut Jesus. Turturro ultimately penned and directed that film, Going Places, to be released sometime this year.
“I think whatever the brothers think. If they want to do a sequel, I’m sure it’d be a cool thing. It’s such a good movie. You’ve got the Coen brothers,” Bridges later told Digital Spy in 2017.
“And like so many masters of their craft, they make it look like I was just rolling off lines. He’s just a silly stoner. But why do people keep looking at it, going…? You can see those scenes. I’m a guy who’d rarely or ever watch my movies on TV.”
“If Lebowski comes on, I’ll say, ‘I’ll just watch Turturro lick the ball,’ and then I’ll say, ‘No, I’ll just…’ and then I’m hooked,” he continued.
“Because every time you see it, you get to appreciate all of this beautiful stuff. So I think it’s just such a good film – period. It’s fun to turn people onto it who haven’t seen it. They appreciate it – most of them.”
When accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment” at the 76th Annual Golden Globes in January, Bridges made special mention of the Coen brothers and hailed the 1998 classic as a “great movie.”
“If I’m lucky, I’ll be associated with the Dude for the rest of my life,” Bridges said in his acceptance speech. “I feel so honored to be a part of that film.”