Disney+ - first two eps available from Wed 28 Sep
The leading role of Dan Chase in The Old Man would be challenging for an actor half his age, but 72-year-old Jeff Bridges delivers a remarkably physical performance in this seven-part thriller.
Having left the CIA under a cloud three decades ago, Dan’s been living a solitary life off the grid with his two dogs.
His peaceful isolation is shattered, however, when an assassin attempts to wipe him out, and as his past catches up with him, he’s obliged to take violent action in order to defend himself.
Jeff’s wholehearted performance is all the more impressive when you take into account that halfway through production he suffered for 18 months from a combination of COVID and lymphoma that almost killed him!
The Oscar-winning actor, who says he now feels ‘terrific’, confesses that his brush with death totally changed his perspective on playing the former spy. ‘In times like that, all your spirituality comes to you and tests you. I have been made more mature by that experience and it certainly made things sharper.’
Jeff has enjoyed a stellar movie career and won the Best Actor Oscar for Crazy Heart in 2010. But he’s still probably best remembered for his unforgettable performance as the laid-back character known as The Dude in the Coen Brothers’ classic 1998 movie, The Big Lebowski.
Does the actor see any similarities between The Dude and Dan? ‘They are almost diametrically opposed! One of the things that people dig about The Dude is his authenticity. He is who he is, and it’s a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing.
‘When you’re working for the CIA and you’re a spy, you morph into lots of different identities and lose your real identity. You don’t really know who you are. So they are very different cats!’