Heart keeps beating

By JIM MACNIE  |  January 27, 2010

IS THE MOVIE ENDING A MIDDLE GROUND? That's the way I saw it. A compromise between the two endings. I liked what Maggie did in that film. When they're in the security section of the mall and they find [Jean's lost child] Buddy, Bad comes up and puts his hands on her shoulders and she starts screaming, "Don't touch me, don't touch me!" That's not mine. Scott and Maggie came up with it. And when I saw it I wished I'd thought of that.

COMPARE YOUR VERSION OF BAD VS. SCOTT'S VERSION OF BAD. WAS HE AN UNLIKABLE GUY? No, Bad was a charmer. In the novel he's less likely to alienate than he is in the movie. In the movie he puts out his cigarette in the club owner's drink. And I said to myself, "Bad wouldn't do that." That's not what he did. He would smile and say, "We'll go on with this." He'd be mad, but he'd carry on. In the large, though, I found Jeff to be Bad Blake. He's got that ability to charm people. When we did press interviews together, journalists asked Maggie, "Why would a woman like her fall for this guy"? But it seems self-evident from what you see on the screen. He's the kind of guy you fall for. Self-destructive and all that, but attractive.

DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM JEFF'S WORK THAT AMENDED YOUR VISION OF BAD? I don't think so. But his vision of Bad has become mine. I've seen the movie twice. I've been reading it again; I'm trying to audition for the audio book. Where I once saw Hank Thompson, I now see Jeff Bridges. He was that authentic.

PRETTY CONVINCING WRETCHER. Jeff is the best movie vomiter I've ever seen. You really believe it.

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