EPISODE 6: American Badass: Bruce Dern Part 2

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Show Notes

Here is part 2 of the first episode of American Badass. Listen in as Michael and Bruce Dern continue their conversation. 

Transcript


Straw hot media. Welcome back to
American Badass. This is part two with

our conversation with Bruce Dern. Here's
Michael. Welcome back to American Badass.

This is my first episode of the
show ever actually in today's guest is actor

Bruce Dern. You know I class
Bruce as a legend and Bruce and I

spoke about what it means to be
real, and it's hard to describe,

but we all feel it and recognize
it when we see actors being real,

and Bruce and I, having worked
with Quentin, we know he's always looking

for what's real and gives actors the
space to create those moments, and that's

what's so great about them both.
What's pretty amazing is that Bruce is actually

coined a term after his acting,
because his particular moments have actually been named.

It's is pretty incredible in itself.
They're called Dernsey's and those Dernsey's obviously

aren't in the original script, along
with a lot of things I've said along

the way. In fact, I
heard the Dernsey's was originally spoke by Jack

Nicholson. Anyway, because they both
evolve spontaneously and in many ways they are

one of the reasons why directors love
to work with Bruce, and that's definitely

true for Quentin and, I bet, many others. Looking back at where

Bruce started, however, it's no
surprise because Bruce is a part of the

actor studio alumni and for those of
you out there listening, the actors studio

was truly a birthplace of great actors. It was founded by Julia Kazan,

Robert Lewis and Sheryl Crawford and later
on led by Lee Strassburg and brought forward

some of the best actors of all
time, including Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando

and another one of them for instances, Harvey could tell, who is God

father to my son Max. Harvey's
another friend of mine who I've worked with

and res of our dogs when he
played Mr White, and he was wonderful

in that picture. I was one
week in the school and Philadelphia, where

I quick college, to go and
find a school and I realized after one

one week, there were three things
you had to do. One, he

had to go to New York to
you had to try and become a member

that actor studio and three, you
had to work for Mr Kazan those were

the three things. So, anyway, later on I did that, and

here I am, and they said, since you have no acting experience and

since you have no bad habits yet, we would like do something with you.

I don't think even Stanislavski did with
a student. We would like you

to work as often as you can
in front of us, as many times

as you can get on the I
said the list. I forever. I

mean and Gad said, put his
hand over his mouth and turn the man.

He says a race named I go
to the Jardin. I'd say I

put me down. But anyway,
and I said and and what's going to

happen? We would like you,
for one year, to do scenes in

which you never have an obligation to
dialog. So for one year, Michael,

every scene I did the studio,
I was a silent partner. So

what they did was they trained me
to behave from me. Yeah, and

that's and when I when guys put
me on the plane to come to California.

Then two and a half years later, he should look, when you

get out there, nobody's going to
know who the fuck you are. You're

not a conventional leading man. You
know you're going to use the first one

to use that common to me.
He says you're going to be the fifth

cowboys from the right, so you
understand that, you better be the most

honest, unique fifth cowboy from the
right anybody ever saw. And number two,

don't ever ever tell a director what
you're go going to do before take

one. Yeah, yeah, Bruce, you know what I mean. Said

Damn thing. I said, how
I get away away from the right.

That only come to get away with
that. Kill John Wayne. I mean,

yeah, how many since cowboys from
the right got to do that?

I'm not gonna get away with that. And he said it's Temple, the

director of something you'll never had.
I said, what's that take to?

So make sure yours gets recorded.
It's second one, for safe thought.

That's that's why, the day that
we were on, I think you were

over at your table writing your little
novel about yourself. And I hate the

way. Yeah, when I was
doing a scene with channing tatum. Yeah,

and he was going to kill me. Maybe I who knows? And

I added a couple of things.
What you're called? Deernseys and Quinton always

encourage me to do that. And
after I get it the first time,

both Kurt knocked him Roth. He
was thinking about it, but Kurt raised

his hand and out loud he said, can I ask you a question?

Yeah, Quinn said. He says. Why is he allowed to say stuff

that isn't on the page? Yeah, and Quinton said, wait a second,

that's why he's here right. And
I'll tell you what Mr Kazan said

his book about him. I'll tell
you what Alexander Pain O say, even

Mr Hitchcock Woch if he were here. Nobody can write the shit that comes

out of his mouth when the switch
is on. That's why he does first.

That's why he'll rehearse it, but
he'll never act and tell it's recorded.

And and Gurt said them, but
I can do that, and Tim

was almost next to him. He
said, I we can do that.

Sure to said no, yeah,
they I had easy and five movies and

you can't do that. Remember you. He dropped on the floor. He

and I had do one more time
because I laughed over but and Quinn gun

turned to Kurt and he said that's
what I mean. So now we go

to once upon a time in Hollywood
where I went up to his house on

Easter Sunday after noon to read the
script so he could not watch me,

but he was watching me anyway.
You know, you've been there. And

he was in his den and I
was out on Pattio reading the script and

he cut me off. He said
why are you in the script and I

said, well, I'm about the
point where Brad Pitt is going on a

ride with a girl and he said, well, put it down and come

in here. I went in there
and he was watching me in my episode

of Lancer on the TV and he
had six of my you know, that

I did with you know, Lee
Majors in Bubber Stami was a big valley.

Yeah, and he has episodes of
that. I love that Nice.

I said you, Britt you,
you, you do your homework and he

said you know what, Bruce,
when I first came here, I came

here kind of trying to be an
active and I wanted to do what you

and Jack Nicholson we're doing and I
had never had a long talk with him.

A uist have a lunch maybe twice
a year at Muso's which went on

five hours, but they were all
just like you and I are talking now.

I get on the set and I
had never met Brad Pitt and I'd

meant Leo two or three times because
he was up for awards the same year

I was for or Nebraska. He
was up for million and whatever that about,

the Wall Street Guy, right and
dollar, whatever it was. Anyway.

So I got to know him a
little bit there and I knew his

dad because his dad was a big
animal lover and a big gun of gipsy

boots guy and Echo, echo,
I echo park and silver lake, you

know. So the DAD and the
DAD had hair down to his crack,

you know. I mean he had
hair like like I the cinematographer. It

was at least that long. Yeah, but he had in a ponytail.

So I get on the set and
Quinton said I brad on that, Brad,

and he said now look, I'm
Brad. Said well, let's for

hers and I said Let's just for
hers to dialog and he says, well,

aren't you going to get into it? No, and he looked Quinton

immediately. Quinn said, no,
he's not, you'll just for hers dialog.

Yeah, we were dialog three or
four times and then we started this

scene. Well, he shakes me
to finally wake me up and the first

thing I say to him is our
I'm I'm not sure what's going on.

Brad, who laughed. Quinton cut
the camera. Yeah, yeah, that

and laughed and then couldn't say anything
and Quinn said, Brad, don't ever

cut a camera on the again as
long as you will. He said,

I just you did. Well,
you've been said you did. Tom Did

that in actually, he said.
He said to Gunn. He said,

but, Quinn, that's not in
the script. He said, no,

Shit, he said. That's why
he's here. Yeah, and that's what

I tried to tell everybody every time. They say, why is he allowed

to do that? Because he did
that. He said what? It was

perfect, it was right. He
said, then why did you laugh?

Why didn't you just go on?
He said, my God, this is

bad. I realize now what he's
been doing all this time. He does

what comes to him, but stays
in the vernacular. Yeah, and Quinton

said yes. So now we started
again and same thing, and I go

through the couple of things about I
don't fuck you are and so forth and

so on, and then I said
to Quinton, now I never talked when

what it was. I just said
now, are you going to get some

jernseys in this beginning? He said
you can write better than what I did.

I said, well, if I
can't, you got to do right,

and he asking. So. So
he picks me up kind of and

I get very close to his face
and I'm you know, and he holds

me next to his face and I
said, you know, this is where

the as you started, the Quinn
line was. You know, I don't

know who the fuck you are.
And that's his line. And then the

Duernsey is but you know something,
you did something for me today that really

touched me and I'm grateful to you
for it, because you came to see

me. That's a Duernsey. It's
in the movie just that way. When

I was done, Brad pit got, he was standing up by then because

he's leaving, comes back in the
room, picks me off the fucking bed

like a two way week old baby
in his arms, kisses me on the

cheek and he said thank you.
He said that's the best lesson I've ever

heard. There's nothing wrong with following
your own instincts, I said, but

if you can't do it, be
Alex Frabeck. Exactly. Yeah, go

get to you said that. The
people commenting about my whatever I'm doing.

Yet you Michael, you know.
The other thing, train over, why

don't you call extra back? I'm
sorry, I said the same thing has

been said to me. The alextrabeck
thing. How many times have I been

on a movie and I'm doing whatever
I do and someone will say, Michael,

you know, can you do that
again, but like a little bit

less, little, less nice of
than I'll say, well, if you

wanted that, then maybe you should
have called it Elxtra Beck. And the

other story you told me about me. Now that's track. No, I

guess game shows the whole boat.
That's the whole point of it's like was

so lucky at the very beginning I
got taught that it's okay to do the

be deal with the behavior before the
dialog. I never, I never did

the dance scene in reservoir dogs.
I never regarded a single time until the

day was really and Quentin never made
me do it. Every time we got

to that point of rehearsal, I
would say, look, well, that's

the cute time. I really I
don't want to do I don't know what

about. I was aware of how
good you were or I'd seen other times,

but never featured like that where you
were a star of the movie,

you know, and what I noticed
in and reservoir dogs was you were always

there, even when the camera wasn't
on you, but you background or something.

Well, say hello to the general
and the fucking share. I had

Levan dialog words in a fucking movie. But I'll tell you this, there's

a lot of people wondered what the
general was all about because he never said

Shit. Yes, behave. You're
very, very mysterious man. That's what

I done about you. You you
were the same way. I mean,

we never knew and and my back
was to you, but I was never

afraid of your character because you were
legit, because the character for me,

as I look back at the movie, I thought I was very real.

You are very real every time you're
on the screen. But I I I

like Quinton because I love it.
No matter what it is, he's looking

for honesty. Yeah, he's looking
for real behavior. But secondly, know

you, Michael Madsine, are an
extremely important voice in this industry until the

day you quit, and after that, unfortunately, like me, you'll become

either more important because we're leaving some
shit out there they won't forget. Wow,

that's quite a quite a statement.
Bruce, I, I respect you

and I love you. I love
you your God Damn it. I I

would look over at you certain days
and see you there, and it's what

makes the texture to your character.
I kill Guinness. When I saw the

movie, I said the thing about
Michael is he looks like he feels he

doesn't belong and that's an individual showing
US revolence that might be there and if

we tap at get out of town
because he's going to clean the street.

And he said, well, that's
that's what I gets on him. He

is the silent guy, in other
words. I said, well, he's

he's like Spencer Tracy without being Spencer
Tracy. I don't know if Spencer Tracy

was honest in his work or not. I do know that he was very

good and judgment are number and he
made me believe that he was a guy,

and I don't have a lot of
guys that can look back on.

I'll leave you with this. I'll
go to see a movie or I'll watch

a movie on television, a whole
movie, for a moment. Yeah,

yeah, and if I see that
moment, and that's why Michael Parks and

other people fell in love what they
saw Jimmy Deane do, because he was

a master of a moment. You
know, Michael Parkon because supposed to be

bud and kill bill because he was
Jimmy Dean. Yeah, he looks exactly

like him. It was scary,
you know. I mean he would do

shit that nobody that Edna fever didn't
write some the shit he said that movie.

He was supposed to be Budd in
kill bill and Quenton, you know,

asked me to play bud and I
said sure, and he said,

well, I got a big problem
Michael, and I so what would that

be? And he said, well, I already gave the part to Michael

Parks and but I now I have
to tell him that it's going to be

you, because I want you to
be bill's brother. But and I saw

Quentin. Wow, you know,
and what are you going to do?

And then he called me and he
goes, I got the perfect idea.

He goes, I'm going to give
Michael Parks two parts. He can be

the share right, and then later
on he's the guy in the in the

woman in the house of ill repute
where Uma goes looking for David. And

so Michael The the two times we
met he wasn't very fond of me.

I got the feeling, I think
he really like I think he really wanted

to play bud and and was disappointed
when it was traded to me. But,

but, but he's in. That's
what he has, two roles and

what a wonderful presence he has.
But you nailed exactly what his whole thing

was, you know. So I
want to wrap up talking to Bruce about

what winning awards means to him and, in particular, what it was like

to receive his star on the Hollywood
boulevard walk of Fame, because Bruce is

not the only one in his family
who has one. Turns out he's in

good company with his own daughter,
Laura Dern, and his ex wife,

Diane Lad. I did do one
thing that Laura and her mother and I

all Got Stars on Hollywood boulevard the
same day. And what we did know

then, but we know now,
Laura and Diane Lad and Bruce Dern are

the only family in the history of
Hollywood to all have stars on Hollywood Boulevard.

There's plenty of other families, but
never mother, Father Child. I

got to get one of those one
of these days, my friend. And

so he said to me anyway,
when we got our star. That's a

cool that's cool. Star I had, I had I had Joe. Joe

Dante presented me. I Love Joe. I've done a bunch of movies for

me. He's a really good guy
and so he do at a movie I

did called the Burbs, with Tom
Hanks and several, three four others I

did, but he presented me.
Diane was presented by Della Reese, oh

my hands, very mason was presented
by David Lynch. So Gill Gar said

he was then not the S S
so. Well, he was es so

when he's still now. So,
but he was. He was a guy

who was the Hollywood city councilman.
Yeah, I remember. So he he

says to me at the end of
getting my star. He says, well,

Bruce, what is this all me
in to you? And I had

written a book for years earlier.
I think you read it, didn't.

You read it or not didn't matter. As caud things I've said, but

probably shouldn't have anyway, in the
book I end the book with the same

thing I said to him. I
said, you know, what what this

says to me is side pissing off
about nine hundred people standing out there,

God knows why, blocking traffic and
wondering who these assholes are up there getting

some kind of making mouth toward.
And aside from that, I think what

it means to me is that a
bunch of folks got together and they said

Bruce Den could play. Yeah,
and that's all it ever meant to me.

I don't want to know the best. I don't want to be this

or that. Sure, I love
awards and the other thing, I get

a little embarrassed about being called a
legend because when my generation first got here,

we got a chance to work with
the fucking legends. Cuddly, you

did your bet about telling John Wayne
you're a see Wayne, you're a sea

for Christ, if you were in
the root sasty six, they were bigger.

Life is bigger than life. Yeah, because no one knew what they

did after school. That's because it
was no internet. Nobody had cell phone

and and right. And the second
thing is it was either. They always

encourage us to push the envelope.
You, you, and nowadays, you

know, you get them. I
get them. Couldn't get some. You

know, both got them before you
went. Jack could get him, but

he doesn't want to so, anyway, the point is that it's you can't

be a legend today. Well,
and it's can do. What did you

get here for? I got here
so folks. There would be a few

folks that would remember. I could
bring it every time. I was that.

I was with Dennis Opera when he
got his star on the sidewalking I

went to the at act and they
gave it to to Dennis and you know,

you know, we're right. In
turn, ITT be a hotel.

Yeah, only had about two weeks
to live at that moment, and I

remember, strangely, we were making
this more so you. I don't have

one of those yet, I'm sure. No, I tell Bruse, I

I hate Oh my God, and
you know the fact that you're not on

the boulevard is shameful and disgusting.
Well, thank you, Bruce Eye.

I mean, I mean he revoking
human the frog, Ricky. Yeah,

fuck, yeah, you know,
I remembered. Anyways, about two years

before I am and he says allow
one of those men, and I saw

you'll get one. I I I
am so proud to be a friend of

yours, to be able to say
I love you and I feel you feel

the same about me. And we
still have shit that we can get done

together. If me right doing something? Yeah, no, above everything else,

I revere you and respect you beyond
anything you will ever give yourself quest

for. And why? Because you
are willing to gamble on yourself when I

can afford you. Think you should
be noticed. Well, I fell it

all my career because what I was
trying to do and it wasn't. Tell

Nebraska. And then what did they
say? Who Knew? Oh my God,

and be happy and everybody I mentioned, everybody I mentioned in your family,

particularly to stand in for Jackie o'hiley, and they locust. Tell him

that. Tell them all that.
I am proud to know you and I'm

proud the way your family has managed
to stick together. Mine did not.

Bruce, I will give everybody your
message, of course. Okay, Bobby,

very happy here, and but stalks. Yeah, God, bless you

man. Okay, but I love
you. Michael Pris Peters, right.

Audios. Good Lord, Ladies and
Gentlemen, that was Bruce Dern on my

show, American Badass. I hope
you guys out there listening enjoyed our conversation

as much as I did. I
could talk for hours to Bruce, about

his experience and his life and I
guess for me, if there's only one

thing to take away from our conversation, wherever you are and whatever you do,

I hope it reminded you just how
important it is to keep it real

and people use it as a throwaway
sometimes, and I think that's too easy,

especially these days with social media,
but it's important and I think people

like Bruce and Quentin are the living
proof of this. So thanks for listening.

On my next episode I'm going to
be speaking to Tom Arnold, also

a great friend of mine. We
made a really funny Christmas picture together and

I'm pretty excited about it and I
hope you'll come back and tune into American

Badass. If you like the show, please subscribe on apple or spotify and

feel free to rate and review.
I'd love to hear what you think or

follow this podcast on social media,
and I hope you listened. Next Week
Michael Madsen: American Badass
Michael Madsen sits down with guests to discuss tales of the old New Hollywood.  American Badass is produced by:Ryan TillotsonTyler NielsenElizabeth KeenerFranziska... View More

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