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The Old Man: How Jeff Bridges Masters This FX Series.

The beloved actor Jeff Bridges translates his movie skills into his first main role in a TV series, losing none of his charm and talent along the way.

Despite having an easy path to Hollywood, guided by his family Lloyd and Beau Bridges, Jeff Bridges paved his way to fame through natural talent. Coached by his father and brother, Bridges developed skills that landed him all kinds of roles. As Alex Pappedemas of Men’s Health comments, Bridges has played “cowboys and country singers, good men and flawed men and men who very badly want to kill Iron Man.” Yet despite portraying so many varied characters, Bridges maintains an essence in all of his work that is so authentically him.

In 2022, The Big Lebowski and Crazy Heart star was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after overcoming his lymphoma, Bridges contracted COVID and, as he told Men’s Health, “faced [his] mortality." Bridges’ dance with death encouraged him to experiment and continue his career with his new FX project The Old Man . At first, the actor was concerned about working in television. He told Derek Lawrence of Vanity Fair that he always saw a big difference in quality between films and TV, and he felt a show would be “rushed or whatever.” He realized though that there are many “quality” shows today and felt it was “worth the experiment.”


The Old Man is based upon the 2022 novel by Thomas Perry and follows a retired CIA agent, Dan Chase, who has resided off-grid for three decades. After killing a trespasser, Chase is tracked by his former enemy, the FBI’s Harold Harper, played by John Lithgow. Here is how Jeff Bridges takes his talents to The Old Man .

Jeff Bridges Was Taught to Do More Than Just Say Lines.

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Before The Old Man , Bridges had only appeared on two TV shows, his father’s 60s project Sea Hunt in addition to The Lloyd Bridges Show . In a discussion with Marc and Melissa Hunt of Smashing Interviews, Bridges explains that his father told him not “just to say the lines” but to hear them too. Bridges also came to understand that being “relaxed” during the work allowed “the good stuff” to come through, a skill he also collected from Lloyd Bridges. These talents have translated over to The Old Man .

Bridges delivers his lines the way an ex-CIA operative would, with tiredness but also a sureness of who he is, a combination of fatigue and confidence that perfectly suits the character. Adrian Horton of The Guardian calls Jeff Bridges' performance as Chase “standout” and impressive seeing as he “[toggles] between fight, flight, and retirement modes.”

Jeff Bridges Connects With His Character in The Old Man.

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Seeing as Bridges faced health challenges going into The Old Man , his character’s retirement and then abrupt return to work made sense to him; plus, as a septuagenarian himself, he came to better understand a show about getting older. Bridges told Vanity Fair that he was also drawn to the “theme of [life’s] consequences” and facing challenges that have been pending. In an article by Daily Actor, Bridges reveals that he “starts with himself and sees what lines up with [his current] character.” He gives the example of his performance in the Oscar-nominated Hell or Highwater , where he “magnified” his teasing qualities of himself to increase the believability of his character.

When watching The Old Man , you can see Jeff Bridges mining his own life for the difficult emotions Dan Chase feels. This is the skill that makes all of Bridges’ work so engaging. Mike Hale of The New York Times describes Bridges performance in The Old Man as “absolutely convincing in every moment” and conveys Chase’s “lethality and frailty” with ease.

Jeff Bridges' Spirituality Adds to the FX Series.

Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

Although Jeff Bridges has always harbored a spiritual side, his experiences over the last two years have improved his approaches to acting even more. His tussle with mortality taught him major, unexpected, life lessons, just as ex-CIA agent Dan Chase also has. On The Old Man set, Bridges is assisted by a real CIA operative, Christopher Huddleston. Huddleston introduced Bridges to Stoicism, an ancient Greek philosophy which really resonated with the actor (and his Buddhist studies) and his current character. In an article by Theresa Gambacorta of SPIN, Bridges explains that Stoicism is “leaning into what you think is a problem rather than trying to avoid it."

Dan Chase stands very much in this mindset. He is a tired old man, and yet he is not resisting the disturbances that come into his life. Although Jeff Bridges is facing new challenges and unforeseen lessons, these obstacles are only enhancing his abilities as an actor.

In an article by CBS Morning News, Jeff Bridges is called a “leading man with the soul of a character actor. He can be a hero, a villain, statesman, or a stoner,” mastering whatever comes his way. Like the Stoics, Bridges rolls with the punches. His new show, The Old Man , is currently airing its seven episodes on Thursday nights at 10pm on FX, and is available for streaming on Hulu; it's already been renewed for a second season.