Western Icon Bruce Dern Reveals the Best Compliment He’s Ever Received

by Madison Miller

Bruce Dern has had no shortage of compliments during his years in the entertainment business. Some of his most notable roles include “Coming Home,” “Nebraska,” “Big Love,” “The Driver,” and “The Hateful Eight.”

He’s piled on the awards over the years, too. Dern has gotten the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor, the Silver Bear for Best Actor, received an Academy Award nomination for “Coming Home” as well as “Nebraska,” among many other accolades.

Bruce Dern Best Compliment

Despite being the recipient of many prestigious compliments over the years, Dern opened up about the best one he’s ever received. During a recent interview with Cowboys & Indians, Dern cited praise from director Lasse Hallström. He earned the compliment while working with Lena Olin on “The Artist’s Wife.”

He said that the duo spent a lot of time in the East Hamptons together while shooting. Lasse Hallström, Olin’s husband, was with her while they were there. For reference, Hallström is a popular Swedish film director known for directing music videos for ABBA, as well as directing films like “The Cider House Rules,” “My Life as a Dog,” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”

Hallström asked if he could hang around the actual set with them while Dern was acting.

“‘Because I’ve never seen what you do before. I mean, we never know what’s coming from you. And as a director, that puzzles me, as to how I can dance with that.’ And I said, ‘Well, you did a pretty good job with Michael Caine for Christ’s sake in The Cider House Rules,'” Dern recalled the conversation between the two.

This compliment stands out solely because Hallström had directed famous actor Michael Caine in such an iconic role. It obviously makes sense that having a renowned director follow you around on a set they aren’t a part of to observe you is a pretty good indicator of your skill as an actor.

Playing the Villain

Odds are you probably didn’t love most of Bruce Dern’s characters in his many films over the years.

The popular Western star is known for playing extremely villainous and evil characters. He beat up Montgomery Clift in “Wild River,” shot John Wayne in “The Cowboys,” and even was a terrorist in “Black Sunday.”

So, what is Bruce Dern really like outside of his typecast positions in Hollywood?

“I’m a nice guy. I really am. I’ve spent the last 30 years trying to fight typecasting. I’ve never been good at carrying a movie. I’m not a Kevin Costner. I’m not a Bob Redford. But I get tired of always being the psychotic,” Dern said to The Morning Call in 1996.

While he may have a real knack for playing maniacs, take “Crybaby Killer,” “Bloody Mama,” and “Cycle Savages,” Dern isn’t half bad in real life.