HomeEntertainment‘The Big Lebowski’ Turns 25: Jeff Bridges Reveals Why He Didn’t ‘Burn Some Herb’ to Play ‘The Dude’

‘The Big Lebowski’ Turns 25: Jeff Bridges Reveals Why He Didn’t ‘Burn Some Herb’ to Play ‘The Dude’

by Clayton Edwards
Jeff Bridges at the Big Lebowski Blu-ray release
(Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage via Getty Images)

Hollywood has given us several iconic stoner characters over the years. Cheech and Chong, the guys from Half Baked, and even the freedom-seeking bikers in Easy Rider took time to partake in a little herbal mood modification. However, The Big Lebowski might have brought us the coolest and most quotable pothead in cinematic history with its titular character played by Jeff Bridges.
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Bridges would ask directors Joel and Ethan Coen if The Dude had “burned one” before every scene. So it would be easy to believe that he was slipping off to his trailer to take a few hits if they said yes. After all, he nails the mannerisms, speech patterns, and overall look of someone accustomed to being stoned more often than not. It seems like it would be one of the only movies where it would be acceptable to do so. However, that wasn’t the case.

 In a 2014 interview with Yahoo, Bridges revealed that he didn’t smoke any herb at all while working on The Big Lebowski.

Why Jeff Bridges Didn’t Get High During The Big Lebowski  

Bridges didn’t avoid blazing during The Big Lebowski because he’s opposed to it, in general. In the interview, he revealed that he’ll “burn some herb” from time to time.

“For that film, I decided this is such a wonderful script and quite detailed,” Bridges explained. “While it seems very improvisational, it’s all scripted,” he added. He and his cast mates delivered every line as it was written. “If you add an extra ‘man’ in a spot, it didn’t quite feel right.”

“I wanted to have all my wits about me. I didn’t burn at all during that movie,” he said of working on The Big Lebowski. Ironically, Bridges has “burned some herb” while working on other films, but it was the one that had him playing a pot-smoking slacker that made him decide to abstain.

Bringing the Dude to Life

During the interview with Yahoo, Jeff Bridges said “I’ve got quite a bit of Dude in me, man.” That’s because he drew on his past to help flesh out the character.

According to Far Out Magazine, Bridges said, “I drew on myself a lot from back in the 60s and 70s. I lived in a little place like that and did drugs.” However, Bridges maintains that he was more creative than his Big Lebowski character.

The star drew on more than his experiences to bring the character to life. He also dug through his closet and picked outfits he thought Dude would wear.

The Big Lebowski director Ethan Coen explained how Bridges would nail the stoned appearance of the Dude without smoking. If they told him his character would be high in a scene he would “go over to the corner, rub his knuckles in his eyes to turn them red, and do the scene.”