Jeff Bridges breaks down his role in the iconic John Carpenter film Starman


Jeff Bridges talked to GQ recently about some of his more iconic roles and invariably John Carpenter’s Starman came up. Find out exactly what he did to achieve his celebrated performance.

Jeff Bridges is Hollywood royalty. The scion of Lloyd Bridges he has been an actor since he was 9 years old. An Oscar winning, A-lister he is a leading man type with quirky sensibilities.

In 1984, he starred in one of John Carpenter’s most underrated films, the science fiction masterpiece, Starman. Critically acclaimed the movie told the story of a grieving widow, Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen) who falls in love with an alien who just happens to take the physical form of her late husband.

Wait a minute. The Horror Master did a love story? He sure did. And he did it rather well.

Recently in a chat with GQ magazine, Jeff Bridges talked about his role in that movie. How did he manage to convincingly play a being not of this earth?

Here is what the actor had to say about his initial meeting with Carpenter:

"“Starman was really impersonating a human being as best as he could. It wasn’t a very good impersonation at first. If he was leaning on something, us human beings, we lean. Starman would do that same thing. He would be assuming the position but he wouldn’t put his weight on it. John seemed to like that.”"

When I watched this film, I was struck by Bridges’ ability to play a pure and child-like entity. Someone who was amazed at everything in the world. It was as if he was a toddler watching adults and learning how to assimilate behaviors.

One of the best scenes in the movie is when he is studying video tapes of Jenny’s deceased husband. He tries to imitate his goofy expressions such as wiggling his eyebrows. This is humorous but also a showcase for Bridges’ considerable skills as an actor.

Apparently, when Jeff is doing a picture he will think of close friends that remind him of his characters. In the case of Starman, Russell Clark was the person he immediately thought of. Clark was a dancer and worked with Bridges on making his “birth” scene in the film incredibly real.

In the actor’s words, “If I could get those movements then I could just gradually become more human as the movie went on.” Bridges had nothing but praise for his co-star Karen Allen saying:

"“If you’re playing a king in a movie, and if nobody is treating you like a king, then you ain’t a king. And that goes for being an alien in a movie too. She made it all come together, made it all so real.”"

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That is the highest compliment to give a colleague in the acting business. If you can make a fantasy believable for the audience then you are doing your job. And Jeff Bridges does his very well.

Have you seen Starman? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. We want to hear from you.