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Big Lebowski


1998       Jeff Bridges


That the plot of "THE Big Lebowski" turns on a case of mistaken identity, complicated by extortion, double-cross, deception, embezzlement, sex and dope should come as no surprise to the fans of the Coen brothers. Such themes have surfaced in the Coen's work from their very first film, 1985's "Blood Simple." But even though the story of "THE Big Lebowski" contains its fair share of mayhem and assorted suspicious and unsavory incidents, the film is definitely a comedy. "We see 'THE Big Lebowski' as our version of a 90s Raymond Chandler story with a mystery 'private eye plot'," Ethan Coen says, referring to the great detective writer whose novels served as the basis for several 1 940s film noirs including "The Big Sleep" and "Murder, My Sweet."

"But instead of the protagonist being Philip Marlowe, who was Chandler's private eye, we have as our hero a laid-back, unemployed guy who's stuck in the 70s named Jeff Lebowski who calls himself the Dude."

The Dude is described by the Coens in their

screenplay as "a man in whom casualness runs deep." He lives a peaceful beach existence in a run-down bungalow in Venice, pretty much content to spend his time bowling with his buddies. They are Walter, a pompous security-store owner and amateur military historian, and Donny, a mild-mannered ex-surfer.

The Dude's peace and quiet is shattered, however, when he's terrorized by two thugs who warn him that he's responsible for his wife's debts to a shady character named Jackie Treehorn. But, in fact, the Dude's not married; it turns out that he's been mistaken for someone else named Jeffrey Lebowski, an aging millionaire who lives in Pasadena. When Walter persuades the Dude to contact this other Jeff Lebowski, our hero and his friends become embroiled in a series of underhanded, not to mention criminal activities.

Just as in the Chandler novels, the story of "THE Big Lebowski" is set in Los Angeles, and the plot--again as in Chandler--moves among the different social classes and different types the Dude runs across as the story unfolds.

"I suppose the 'THE Big Lebowski' is specifically about L.A. in the way 'Fargo' was about the Midwest," says Joel Coen. "Certainly the story takes place in the L.A. that we're familiar with, and many of the characters in the film are based on people that we know and people we've met here.

"But we've placed it all in a Chandleresque kind of context. We have a voice-over narration, and elements of double-cross and deception that exist on several levels among people whose motives are devious and obscure, and many of these characters deliberately recall types you'd run across in Chandler. In 'The Big Sleep,' for instance, there's a sophisticated older sister and a younger one, who's a tart. In 'THE BIG LEBOWSKJ,' the sophisticated female character is the millionaire Lebowski's daughter, Maude, and the immoral figure is Bunny, his young wife.

"We've written the story from a modern point of view and set it very precisely in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War," Ethan adds, "which also has a direct effect on the Dude and his friends. In the end, the amateur sleuthing of these guys unearths the secrets of the plot and solves a case that might have challenged a professional private eye like Philip Marlowe... if he had lived in the Los Angeles of the nineties and been an avid bowler and a pothead."

Although the leading character of "THE Big Lebowski" is the Dude, the Coens were prompted initially to write the screenplay in order to create something for John Goodman. He always impressed them as a major talent whose gifts haven't been fully explored on the big screen.




Item Details:
presskit 11x14 single-sided




Big Lebowski

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CAST of the Big Lebowski

The Dude .......................... JEFF BRIDGES
Walter Sobchak .......................... JOHN GOODMAN
Maude Lebowski .......................... JULIANNE MOORE
Donny .......................... STEVE BUSCEMI
The Big Lebowski .......................... DAVID HUDDLESTON
Brandt .......................... PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
Bunny Lebowski .......................... TARA REID
Treehorn Thugs .......................... PHILIP MOON, MARK PELLEGRINO
Nihilists .......................... PETER STORMARE, FLEA, TORSTEN VOGES
Smokey .......................... JIMMIE DALE GILMORE
Dude's Landlord .......................... JACK KEHLER
Jesus Quintana .......................... JOHN TURTURRO
Quintana's Partner .......................... JAMES G. HOOSIER
Maude's Thugs .......................... CARLOS LEON, TERRANCE BURTON
Older Cop .......................... RICHARD GANT
Younger Cop .......................... CHRISTIAN CLEMENSON
Tony the Chauffeur .......................... DOM IRRERA
Lebowski's Chauffeur .......................... GERARD L'HEUREUIX
Knox Harrington .......................... DAVID THEWLIS
Coffee Shop Waitress .......................... LU ELROD
Auto Circus Cop .......................... MICHAEL GOMEZ
Gary the Bartender .......................... PETER SIRAGUSA
The Stranger .......................... SAM ELLIOTT
Doctor .......................... MARSHALL MANESH
Arthur Digby Sellers .......................... MARY BUGIN


Crew of The Big Lebowski

Directed by .......................... JOEL COEN
Written by .......................... JOEL & ETHAN COEN
Produced by .......................... ETHAN COEN
Executive Producers .......................... TIM BE VAN, ERIC FELLNER
Co-Producer .......................... JOHN CAMERON
Director of Photography .......................... ROGER DEAKINS A. S.C., B. S.C.
Production Designer .......................... RICK HEINRICHS
Costume Designer .......................... MARY ZOPHRES
Original Music by .......................... CARTER BURWELL
Musical Archivist .......................... T-BONE BURNETT
Edited by .......................... RODERICK JAYNES, TRICIA COOKE
Supervising Sound Editor .......................... SKIP LIEVSAY
Casting by .......................... JOHN LYONS C.S.A.
Unit Production Manager .......................... JOHN CAMERON
First Assistant Director .......................... JEFF RAFNER
Key Second Assistant Director .......................... CONTE MARK MATAL
Production Supervisor .......................... GILLY RUBEN
Accountant .......................... MINDY SHELDON
Visual Effects Supervisor .......................... JANEK SIRRS
Stunts .......................... JENNIFER LAMB, VINCE DEADRICK JR., LOYD CATLETT
Choreographers .......................... BILL and JACQUI LANDRUM
Art Director .......................... JOHN DEXTER
Set Decorator .......................... CHRIS SPELLMAN
Location Manager .......................... ROBERT GRAF
Assistant Location Manager .......................... KIM JORDAN

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