How Jeff Bridges Changed Crazy Heart Director Scott Cooper's Life [Exclusive]

Talk to anyone who has worked with Jeff Bridges throughout the many decades of his career and you'll find that the star of "The Big Lebowski" and "TRON" is one of the nicest people in show business. That goes double for "Crazy Heart" director Scott Cooper, who credits Jeff Bridges with changing his entire life. Not only does Bridges have an infectious spirit of love and joy, but he reconnected with music while making the movie, and being a witness to that had a great impact on Cooper.

"I wrote 'Crazy Heart' for Jeff Bridges."

/Film's Jack Giroux caught up with director Scott Cooper while the filmmaker is out promoting his upcoming movie "Antlers." The topic of "Crazy Heart" came up, specifically the casting of Jeff Bridges and how the actor's involvement changed his life. Cooper said:

"Firstly, let me just say, I wrote "Crazy Heart" for Jeff Bridges. When he said yes and made the film, it completely changed my life. Jeff means more to me than almost anyone in this industry. I'm still very, very close with him. One of the tenants to Jeff's success as a human is he spreads love and joy, especially in very cynical times in which we live. He does do that. It permeates the entire set and it sets a tone of love and compassion and sympathy and vulnerability that I think courses through that movie. I'm a better man for having worked with Jeff Bridges."

If you need to know the kind of energy that Bridges brings to the set, in his book, "The Dude and the Zen Master," the actor revealed that he joins hands with the entire crew and says some encouraging words to start production, and of course he did that on "Crazy Heart" too.

"It made for a very harmonious process..."

But why did Scott Cooper write the part of musician Bad Blake specifically for Jeff Bridges? It turns out the actor happened to embody all the right musicians that Cooper was thinking of while writing. Cooper explained:

"I had been traveling around with the great Merle Haggard and, and I wanted that character to feel like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. I thought who better to embody all of that than Jeff Bridges, who also happens to be an excellent musician. Then, I brought T Bone Burnett on to create the music, and he and Jeff are close friends. I didn't realize that. It made for a very harmonious process, but Jeff, everything you're seeing, he's playing and he's singing. I think the film also reawakened his desire to be a musician, because he's traveled for years now since then. He's touring singing "Crazy Heart" songs and some other ones that he's written. It's a facet of his life that many people weren't aware of that I was just happy to capture on screen."

Sadly, Jeff Bridges hasn't been touring for a little while. The actor announced that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, back in October 2020. But this September, Bridges revealed that his cancer was in remission. Unfortunately, he had a nasty battle with COVID-19 that he said "makes my cancer look like a piece of cake," largely thanks to chemotherapy hurting his immune system. But it sounds like the actor is recovering smoothly, and hopefully he'll be back on the road with his guitar sometime soon.