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Interview with Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger

From "The Door in the Floor"

By

Kim Basinger Door in the Floor

Kim Basinger stars in "Door in the Floor"

Photo © Focus Features
Do you two notice any changes in each other since working together on “Nadine?”
KIM BASINGER: Well, of course that was a comedy and this is different. Jeff is endearing in that I'll never forget this as long as I live: I'll never forget meeting Jeff the first time, and he was crazy about rehearsal. He wanted to rehearse and rehearse and rehearse. He wanted to put the lines here. He wanted to draw out the whole thing with a piece of chalk. “This is the room. This is what we're going to do.” He [Jeff] refers to it as ‘peeling his onion.’ So I watched him peel that onion and peel that onion and peel that onion and I would then go up to Benton and go, “Is he finished peeling the onion? Can we get going?”

On this film, he gave me that phrase upstairs. He used it when he was talking a bunch. He was saying, “I like to sit and sit and peel and peel and be surprised and see what more, what more…” And after notebooks and notebooks of copious notes, days of pictures, he studied this character like you wouldn't believe. And I sit there fascinated just by the difference in the way we work, but it so compliments us. It just…it works. It just works. I used to go up to Kip and even Kip would be watching him open up and read and reassess and look, and I so admire that. But I don't know if it's my impatience, I don't know what it is, but I kind of just like the reactor part of acting. I think that it's just as important. It's like the listening part is just as important as the talking. I don't think - - I don't even know what method it is. I just go from my gut, from my heart.

JEFF BRIDGES: I think that our styles between the two pictures, they're basically the same. There wasn't any different way that I felt that you worked or I worked. I mean, my style is basically the same way that I approached it. I love what we came up with in “Nadine.” It's an illusion. It's like a magic trick that we're all trying to pull off together. It doesn't really matter how you do it, just so the illusion is there. And I remember first working with Kim. I was a little bit concerned and I was a younger actor, too. There are so many different ways to approach it and they're all just as valid as each other, and I was a little concerned that we weren't going to be connected. And when I saw the results, I thought that it was great. So when I saw that she was going to be on this, I thought, "Oh, this is going to be wonderful."

We unfortunately don't have that many scenes together. We had maybe two scenes, and one of those is silent. But just being in the frame with her and having these kind of things going back and forth, unspoken things, it's wonderful. For me to watch it, I go, “Oh, we pulled that trick off. That was pretty good.” Personally, I like it.

KIM BASINGER: I do, too. It's so funny working out the mechanics of where you come from, only to find out that you actually work identical. It's strange. Believe me, it's endearing what he does. I watch him do it, and I have confidence. I don't know. I'm just the opposite. I had the confidence that we would just meet exactly at the same place and we have in that way.

This character has given up on her marriage. Could you be open to it again in the future?
KIM BASINGER: In life, you mean? I don't know. No. I look at marriage and I think marriage is phenomenal. I think it's great. I don't hold anything against marriage. Who knows what is up the road?

How about big love?
KIM BASINGER: Big love? What's big love? Big love again? Yeah! Anybody, I think, is open to [it] as long as love is real true, honest love, which is rare, but unconditional, wonderful love? Oh my God, I think anybody is.

Kim, why does your character have the affair?
KIM BASINGER: I've watched “Harold and Maude” too many times. I wanted to upgrade her one. You know what I found in him? I found we were on similar journeys. That's what I found. It was very funny. I found a friend. I found someone that I could let a little of me out and I wasn't looking for when to do that, really. I just stumbled upon it and the opportunity was there. And there were a lot of things going on in her mind too.

Were you comfortable with the nude scene?
KIM BASINGER: I was very comfortable with that scene.

How did you make your co-star comfortable?
KIM BASINGER: You know what? I couldn't have chosen a better partner for that. I've been through this many times and it's not ever easy or fun. A lot of things are choreographed and this, that and the other. Jon [Foster] and I walked the room with Kip and I just said, “Jon, let’s just do this thing. Come on.” It sort of happened in a natural fashion, too. I said, “It's just a scene. Just do whatever.” I'm so fond of him and so protective of him, which is just the opposite because usually I've worked with men, mostly men, who have been very protective of me. Here I found myself saying, '”kay, let me keep him here? So it was quite the reverse. It was interesting, but he was such a trooper and very free and lovely, just a lovely guy.

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