Hollywood star Jeff Bridges is well-known for appearing in blockbuster action films such as Iron Man, Tron Legacy and True Grit over the course of his stunning, decades-long career. He now stars in FX’s new thriller series, The Old Man, which is coming to Disney+ in the UK and has recently opened up about the challenges of filming the series following his battles with lymphoma and Covid.
The Old Man’s leading man has revealed his first TV project in years may have been his most physically demanding role yet.
Jeff stars as former CIA agent Dan Chase who abandons his quiet life of solitude when his old friend and FBI rival Harold Harper (played by John Lithgow) is tasked with tracking him down.
Before the US series finally comes to UK audiences on Disney+, Jeff was asked if his performance as Dan was his most physical at the preview screening in London.
“I think so,” he replied. “You know, I love stunts and fight scenes and stuff.”
“And this one, here, I think I’ve done more fight scenes in this show than all my films put together.”
Jeff worked closely with some familiar stunt performers, who clued him into their work on some of the best action available in Hollywood right now.
“We had some incredible stunt supervisors,” he recalled. “Tim Connolly, Henry Kingi Jr and a stunt guy I’ve worked with for years, Thomas DuPont.
“And they… they’re just the state-of-the-art. I asked Tim, ‘What is the state-of-the-art as far as fight scenes go?’”
“He said, ‘Have you ever seen Atomic Blonde?’ And I hadn’t. But you know the scene down all those stairs like that!
“And I hadn’t seen that, and I watched it and thought, ‘I’m in good hands. These guys know what they’re doing.’
In addition to Charlize Theron, Atomic Blonde featured several fight performers and choreographers who have also worked on John Wick, The Matrix and Marvel franchises.
After witnessing some of the film’s best sequences, which include a long and brutal fight scene down a flight of stairs, Jeff knew he was in safe hands on the set of The Old Man.
As for his favourite move he performs in the series, Jeff revealed: “Heel to the testicles!”
Throughout the production of The Old Man, Jeff’s role in the series was made even more demanding following his diagnosis of lymphoma.
“They found a nine-by-12 inch mass in my stomach,” he remembered.
“It’s lymphoma cancer, and they don’t know the chemo cocktail will be that will cure it. But they finally did it, they finally figured it out and it just imploded.”
“The capper is… I open a letter from the treatment centre where I get my chemo, and it says, ‘It’s possible you have been exposed to Covid’.
“That turned out to be true, and the Covid made my cancer look like nothing.
“In the chemo treatment, you strip your immune system so I had nothing to fight the Covid. I was very close to death a couple of times. I didn’t think I was going to work again.
“But two years later I show up to work like it’s been a long weekend! Like, ‘Guys, I’ve had the most bizarre dream!’”
Thankfully, not only was Jeff able to make a full recovery to begin work on The Old Man again, he’ll soon be returning to California to get started on the thriller’s second season.
The Old Man premieres Wednesday, September 28 on Disney+ in the UK.