Dudes, Abide: Bridges, Goodman, Moore, Buscemi Reunite for Lebowski Fest

Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore join their costars for a panel discussion about The Big Lebowski in front of a rowdy crowd

By Marianne Garvey Aug 17, 2011 3:14 PMTags
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File this under things you'll never see at a Trekker convention: Hammerstein Ballroom last night was filled with flowing White Russians, a heavy stench of pot and a whole lot of Dudes.

They were on hand for the Lebowski Fest, the annual meeting of die-hard fans of the 1998 cult-classic The Big Lebowski, where the film's aficionados gathered not only to dress as their favorite characters and get into heated quote-offs, but, most importantly, to see the reunited cast.

The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges, along with Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, John Goodman and music producer T Bone Burnett, were all on hand for the panel discussion that got quite rowdy quite fast...

Hundreds of fans packed the ballroom in New York, with grown men and women dressed as their movie faves: The Dude, of course, but also Goodman's Vietnam vet bowler Walter Sobchak, Moore's affected character Maude, and a few Jesuses (Jesi?) dressed in tight purple jumpsuits.

When it was the cast's turn to speak, they didn't disappoint.

Buscemi, who played lovable loser Donny, revealed he almost wasn't even part  of the movie, saying he thought the role was too small, in addition to being unhappy with his character's demise (uh, spoiler alert, we guess).

"I couldn't believe Donny died, I couldn't believe they [Joel and Ethan Coen] did that to me," he told the crowd. "After being put in a wood chipper. I remember reading the script and saying, 'I don't wanna do this part'...but Walter was so protective of Donny and then I got it. And, of course, the favorite scene of mine is with the ashes, which of course I'm not in."

And if you can't get into plot intricacies at the Lebowski Fest, where can you? Which is why Bridges then posited a question of his own to the crowd.

"What do you think of the theory that Donny does not exist, do you believe that?" he asked, to immediate shouts of, "Yes! Yes! Duuuuude!"

"Yeah, that Donny is just a figment of Walters imagination," Buscemi agreed.

Knowing a cue when he hears it, at that, Goodman took the opportunity to deliver his famous line to Buscemi, telling him to "shut the f--k up, Donny!"

The crowd, understandably, went nuts.

Turturro also chimed in, talking about how he, too, nearly turned down his role because it didn't that great on paper.

"When I read the part, I said, 'This is very small,' and they said, 'You can do something with it,' " he recalled, to laughs and shouts of "Jesus!"

He also revealed to the eager crowd just how he came up with that famous ball-polishing style for his hair-netted, ring-wearing messiah.

"I was just fooling around, and I was showing it to Ethan, and Ethan said it was really horrifying," he said. "The idea of shining your own balls really appealed to me."

Moore, who played fertile, oft-naked Maude, talked about her accent and how she coincidentally also fell pregnant in real life during filming.

"I got pregnant smack in the middle of the movie," she said. "On the accent, I said, 'I can figure this out.' It's not an accent, it's an affectation. She's a very affected character."

After leading the rowdy crowd in a 30-second hum because no one could hear the discussion over the shouts, Goodman summed up his love for the movie for everyone.

"It's the most fun I ever had working on a movie from the minute I read the script until I said goodbye to everyone," he said. Then he turned to the crowd, adding, "What the f--k, I don't know!"