It’s a minor cruelty of modern life that one of the most enjoyable Big Lebowski interviews in recent memory ran on TV at a time that the Dude himself would be unlikely to be awake, i.e., during the run time of yesterday’s episode of NBC’s Today. Luckily, the network has posted it online for the rest of us to enjoy with our white Russians (although the thought of Walter Sobchak watching video on a smartphone is a little too mundane for us to bear).
Correspondent Harry Smith got together with stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi to talk about the 20th anniversary of the Coen brothers’ slacker noir classic, and, as it turns out, all three of them are still pretty huge Big Lebowski dorks. (Something Bridges might have tipped his hand on last year, when he delivered a meandering in-character tribute to Goodman when he got his star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.) Although it has a few weird moments—mostly when Smith, also a big fan, awkwardly interjects—it’s mostly a delightful 25 minutes, as the trio trade set stories, favorite quotes, and dish on fan theories (including the one that suggests that Buscemi’s Donny exists only in Walter’s head).
It’s also, between a lot of “Shut the fuck up, Donny”s, and the generally loose nature of the conversation, maybe the most bleep-heavy interview in Today history. Said vulgarity leads the three men into talking about one of our favorite odd things about the movie: The weird-ass dialogue the actors invented for its TV broadcast version. Sadly, Goodman can’t quite pull the dialogue he came up with for those cleaned-up versions, denying us a modern re-telling of what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps.