INTERVIEW WITH JEFF BRIDGES – ‘SEVENTH SON’

JEFF BRIDGES PLAYS MASTER GREGORY IN ‘SEVENTH SON’, AN EPIC FANTASY FILM IN WHICH HE GOES HEAD TO HEAD WITH THE MALEVOLENT WITCH MOTHER MALKIN (PLAYED BY JULIANNE MOORE) TO PROTECT HIS POSITION AS THE LAST OF A KNIGHTLY ORDER KNOWN AS ‘THE SPOOKS’, DEFENDING HUMANITY AGAINST SUPERNATURAL THREATS. HERE HE CHATS ABOUT THE FILM AND THE BOOK BEHIND IT…

 

 

You choose your projects very carefully. What appealed to you about Seventh Son?

I was enamoured with the book, The Spook’s Apprentice, that the film was based on and I was also attracted to the idea of working with director Sergei Bodrov.

 

What did you know of Russian director Sergei Bodrov that made you want to work with him?

Well, I had seen his movie Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan, which was great on a large scale, and also Prisoner of the Mountains which was very intimate. So, I knew that he was capable of shooting a movie that could be spectacular and also very good on a more intimate level. That’s what I thought we needed for Seventh Son.

 

What was it like to work with Sergei Bodrov?

Sergei was so wonderful to work with! Making movies is such a collaborative art form and Sergei knows how to create a great working environment on the set that is very loose and inclusive.

 

Why does Master Gregory, a noble warrior of the ancient order of the Falcon Knights, take the inexperienced Tom Ward under his wing then?

Gregory was the last seventh son and he needed to find another one to take his place because his lineage is dying out. So he finds this young kid who is really not up for it.

 

What do you believe British actor Ben Barnes brought to the role of your apprentice?

Ben brought a lot of enthusiasm and he enjoyed getting into the physicality of the job, too. He was a lot of fun to work with. We got to improvise a bit. We had a good time.

 

Julianne Moore plays your main antagonist in the story…

Julianne and I worked on The Big Lebowski years ago but it almost felt like only a long weekend had gone by. Here we were again on a set, remembering the great times we had on that movie and creating some new memories on this film. We had a ball! She is such a wonderful actress and it’s wonderful to pretend with her. Even when she is playing someone who is so mean! I’ve portrayed some mean guys before, too. They are actually fun to play.

 

Julianne’s character is the Witch Queen Mother Makin, who you are hunting down. There is also an interesting back-story involving Gregory and Mother Malkin.

One of the things I did that was a lot of fun was to write a whole scenario about their back-history. They had been lovers. This is what happens when love turns sour.

 

The third member of your team that fights Mother Malkin and her servants from the underworld is an interesting character known as Tusk, embodied on the screen by John DeSantis.

John was very good, and he really brought that guy to life! Tusk is one of my favorite characters in the movie because he is so unusual. He’s kind of a bridge between man and beast. And like Master Gregory, he is probably the last of his kind too.

 

What can you say of Swedish actress Alicia Vikander? She is a half-witch that plays a key role in the story in regards to her relationship with the apprentice Tom Ward.

Alicia has a real unique freshness to her and I really enjoyed watching her. She is a wonderful actress. I think we will be hearing a lot about her.

 

The truth is that you have a great cast, with supporting actors of the caliber of Anje Traue, Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Williams, Jason Scott Lee and Kit Harington, amongst others.

Casting is everything. Not just regarding the actors, but also the rest of the crew. Producer Thomas Tull and Legendary Pictures did a great job in bringing this group together.

 

How did you prepare for a role that takes place in a fantasy world but at the same time is reminiscent of the Dark Ages?

Well, I read a lot of myth and authors like Joseph Campbell and Robert Bly. What some people did to women they thought were witches back then was so terrible. It’s no wonder the ones in our movie are pissed off!

 

Did you enjoy shooting the action scenes?

That was a lot of fun! Luckily we had some great stunt guys to choreograph those scenes and also avoid anyone getting hurt. The guy that doubled for me looked so much like me! I like to do as many of my stunts as I can because I get to be like a kid again. Sometimes they have to hold me back. I believe that the most the actor can be in the stunt and show his face and body, the better. Making movies is like doing a magic trick. You have to know how to work that illusion.

 

The film was made in and around Vancouver, in Canada’s stunning British Columbia.

Vancouver is one of my favorite places to work! I have done several films there. It’s just so beautiful. I actually took some pictures when I was there with this Widelux panning still camera that I have because I like to make a book later to give to the cast and crew. I have been doing that since Starman!

 

Seventh Son is beautifully photographed to portray those stunning landscapes.

Oh yes, Tom Sigel is a great cinematographer. I think he did a brilliant job!

 

The film also has very cool visual effects!

When you work with visual effects you go back to the most primitive form of acting. It’s like when you were a kid and did it all with your mind because you didn’t have all the sets and costumes.

 

 

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