Kelly and Michael: Bruce Dern Competitive Runner
Kelly & Michael chatted with veteran actor Bruce Dern, the recent recipient of the Best Actor Award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Bruce has been a memorable screen presence for over 50 years, but he explained that he actually intended to be an athlete.
Bruce was a competitive runner in college and tried out for the Olympic team in 1956. However, he soon quit running and started going to the movies instead. Becoming an actor was a way for Bruce to communicate, because he grew up in a home where he had to raise his hand just to speak at the dinner table.
Kelly & Michael: Bruce Dern Early Acting Career
Bruce said that back when he started his career, circa 1957 and 1958, New York was the place to be. Young actors came to New York and joined the Actor’s Studio, eventually hoping to work with legendary director Elia Kazan.
Now, things are different. Many young actors bypass the theater and head straight to Hollywood instead, hoping to work with directors like Quentin Tarantino and Alexander Payne. Bruce called these directors “the Kazans” of their time.
Bruce Dern: Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’
Bruce stars in Alexander Payne’s new film Nebraska, shot completely in black-and-white and set in Omaha, Nebraska, where Payne grew up. Bruce called this area the “heartbeat of America,” and believes the film portrays this theme very honestly.
He was first sent the script in 2004, because his daughter, actress Laura Dern, starred in Payne’s first film Citizen Ruth. Nearly ten years later, the film is receiving rave reviews. The plot is centered around a man who receives a letter claiming he’s won a million dollars. Everyone around him, especially his son (played by Will Forte), believes it’s a scam. However, the man is determined to claim his prize, and begins a memorable trip to Omaha in order to do so.
Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again, but Bruce disagrees. Everyone should go home, and that’s what this movie is all about.
See Bruce Dern in what looks like a truly captivating new film, Nebraska, in theaters November 15.