The Amateurs (formerly The Moguls), the directorial debut of writer/director Michael Traeger, is an underdog comedy about a group of small-town losers who decide to raise money by making a porno film. It's got a wonderful supporting cast that includes Joe Pantoliano, William Fichtner, Tim Blake Nelson, and Lauren Graham. Cinematical recently attended a press junket with the film's stars -- Jeff Bridges and Ted Danson, who were interviewed separately. Needless to say, meeting The Dude and Sam Malone in the same day was kind of a big deal! First up was Mr. Bridges...
What attracted you to the The Amateurs and the role of Andy?
Jeff Bridges: Like most of the movies I get involved with, I resisted it as long as possible. I always try to figure out why I shouldn't do it, and with this one there were plenty of reasons not to do it. What attracted me to it in the first place is that it was so unusual. It put this porn aspect and this Frank Capra aspect together, and I thought that was really interesting, very ambitious. But I didn't know if this guy who had never directed a film would be able to pull it off. Also, I've done movies in the past that have a lot of characters, and I find them hard to follow and you wind up not caring about any of the people, and I thought that might be the case with this one. But my representatives kept telling me I should do it, so finally I said "Alright. I want you guys to organize a reading, and I want you to see that this thing's not going to work at all." So we had a table read, and it just flew, it was just great. I think it works very well.
When the release started to get delayed, did any of that old skepticism start to come back, like maybe something did go wrong?
JB: No, I didn't really get all the ins and outs of why it didn't get released, it's very convoluted and I haven't heard all the sides and the stories, but it wasn't because of the nature of the film or anything like that. I think it was more business type stuff.