Interview with Beau Bridges

Beau Bridges has grown up working in the business with his late father Lloyd Bridges and his brother Jeff Bridges.  Beau is know for his role of Major General Hank Landry in the “Stargate: SG-1 & Atlantis” TV series.  You may know him as Earl’s dad on “My Name is Earl”.  Beau recently appear on the TV series “Brothers & Sisters” and “Franklin and Bash”.  He is set to appear in two films this year, “Rushlights” with his son Jordan and “The Descendants” with George Clooney”.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Beau about his roles and what he is currently working on.

Mike Gencarelli: Growing up in a family of actors, tell us about joining the US Coast Guard after college and was acting always in your sights?
Beau Bridges: I did join the coast guard when I was 17 and served in the reserves for eight years.  Probably around the age of 18 or 19, I started thinking about going into acting as a career.  I did a couple of little things when I was really young, most for fun with my dad’s friends.  I started doing guest spots on different television shows and I enjoyed it.  My dad always enjoyed his life as an actor and that was pretty obvious to me.  I think the real turning point for I got into play called “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine”, written by Father Daniel Berrigan towards the last few days of the Vietnam War.  He was a war activist and was one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.  He was a catholic priest and burned drafted files with nine other religions priests and nuns.  I performed that play at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.  It was the first piece I did that actually had a social significance attached to it.  I have been doing comedies since and televisions shows.  I realized the importance of what us actors provide, which is really communicating ideas.  That remains the most exciting part of the business for me.  It was for my father and it is for my brother and also my children, who are into it as well.  It is a conduit for ideas that us as humans need to address and think about.  I also appear in shows that are pure entertainment and that belongs as well.  I think the projects I get the most fun out of are communicating some sort of important living idea.

MG: Tell us about your latest role of Nick Brody in “Brothers & Sisters”?
BB: That was a lot of fun.  I joined them as they arrived into their last season.  They have been so successful and worked so well together so it was like jumping onto a running train.  It was like a well-oiled machine.  I got to work with my good friend Sally Field.  I play her husband in “Norma Rae”, which was one of the idea movies about union, in which she of course won the Academy Award for.  To get to work with Sally was great fun.  I really enjoyed.

MG: You also just aired in an episode of “Franklin & Bash”, tell us about that?
BB: Those are wonderful young actors.  I do not know how the show is doing ratings wise but I really do wish them well.  They have something good.  I have watched the episode and it is really good.  I also just appeared on another show called “White Collar” and that was also very fun.

MG: What did you like most about playing Major General Hank Landry in the “Stargate” spin-off series and films?
BB: Again that was a situation where I joined them for their last three seasons.  Richard Dean Anderson was their first General and then he retired.  When I came in their wasn’t really a character that was created.  I was invited to help create that character for the General and I really enjoyed that process, that is something you do not get to do that often.  What I did was that I researched General’s throughout history.  I kind of took a little bit from all of them…George Washington all the way up to Tommy Franks.  I applied them to Hank Landry.  That was a lot of fun and I like working in the sci-fi genre as well.

MG: Tell us about working with Jason Lee, again after “My Name is Earl” in “Columbus Circle”?
BB: I am know sure when it was coming out but it was good fun working with Jason.  I really love him as an actor.  I did play his father in “Earl” quite a bit.  I remember when I came on set for the first time on that movie, I walked right past him and didn’t recognize him.  Since he got a haircut and shave like in “Earl” [laughs].  The role was quite a departure for him comparing to “Earl”.

MG: Tell us about your upcoming film, “The Descendants” with George Clooney?
BB: We did that in O’ahu, Hawaii.  I just saw the film and it was quite good.  George was really amazing in it.  It was some of his best work.  I really enjoyed it very much.   Also because it was done in O’ahu, Hawaii and I have a house there.  So I was in my backyard.

MG: What can you tell us about working with your son, Jordan, in “Rushlights”?
BB: I just got an email from the director/writer of that email.  He says they are planning for it to be out in about a month or two, but I haven’t seen it yet.  I just did my loop lines and sound work, so I did get to see quite a few of the scenes.  It seems to be coming together really well.  It was fun working with Jordan.  He is now also in “Rizzoli and Isles”.  I really do love working with my kids.

MG: Tell us about the play you did with your daughter Emily?
BB: My daughter Emily is 25 and she and I recently wrote a play that we performed in Los Angeles called “Acting: The First Six Lessons”.  It was adapted from a novel of the same name by Richard Boleslavsky.  Samuel French just published us so we are really happy about that.  We are planning next to probably tour it around and are in the process of putting that together now.