Every September for the last 13 years, the quaint town of Port Townsend throws a weekend film festival: 70 movies in 5 indoor theatres and one, as they say, under the stars. When I first started going up there, I think the outdoor audience sat on bales of hay but they’ve since graduated to chairs, I see.
The highlight every year is their honored guest, usually a grand veteran of Hollywood. The honorees have include the likes of Tony Curtis, Peter Fonda, Debra Winger, Malcolm McDowell, and Cloris Leachman.
This weekend, it’s the great Bruce Dern, whose impressively varied career includes stints early on in a slew of Roger Corman movies where he met one of his lifetime best friends Jack Nicholson, “The Cowboys” in which he famously shot and killed John Wayne, “Silent Running” in which he was the sole astronaut left to save the last remnants of vegetation, “The Great Gatsby” in which he played the pompous Tom Buchanan to Robert Redford’s Jay Gatsby, “Black Sunday” in which he played the Super Bowl terrorist, and finally “Coming Home,” his Oscar-nominated turn as the aggrieved military veteran just back from VietNam.
In an absolutely delightful hour-long interview, Dern regaled me with story after story of his expansive career in movies, including spot-on imitations of John Wayne and Alfred Hitchcock. The below video is just a sampling of what he had to say. (I hope to post more soon.)
Listen: Tom Tangney interviews actor Bruce Dern
By TOM TANGNEY