Aahh yes, The Dude. Those of you familiar with the 1998 Coen brothers film, “The Big Lebowski” are certainly familiar with ‘The Dude’ played by Jeff Bridges. And if you haven’t seen it, then never mind. This won’t make any sense. For those of you who know the film, many of you may not know that that character was actually based on a real person. Yup, a guy named Jeff Dowd, is the real dude. And like Jeff Bridges says in character, that he was a member of the radical anti-war group the Seattle Liberation Front … well Dowd actually was that guy.

Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Dowd

I found out in the early 2000’s (can’t remember the exact year) who he actually was when I just happened to meet him at a film conference. And yes, I can’t remember which one, as I was going to lots of them in those days. I do remember it was about marketing and distributing films, and he was one of the keynote speakers. At that time he was billing himself as a producer and producers rep. FYI, a producer’s representative is someone who does exactly what the title suggests … helps a film producer sell his film.

So, why do I mention this know? Well just recently, I happened to watch that film again late at night, and was still amazed at how well done it is. Mostly the characters, in which the Coen brothers have a history of creating whacked out characters. But the great acting really pulled that whole film together. Anyway, I was reminiscing a bit about meeting the Dude that day … in which I also found out I had something in common with him.

That day, after he was finished with his presentation, I was lucky enough to pull him aside one-on-one to ask him a few questions. And while he did seem fairly knowledgeable, I couldn’t get my head around the idea that he was as laid back and out of it as he was portrayed in that film. But anyway, after I got what I felt I could get out of him, we ambled over to a refreshment area together and talked about other things. That was when I found out that the Coen’s brothers first film ‘Blood Simple’ was also the first film he had ever represented. Well, it was also the first feature film I had ever worked on. So, he laughed and went on to tell me a few stories about that film and how he had gotten to know the Coen brothers. Probably something I can’t repeat in a public forum. But for a few brief moments in an unlikely environment, it seemed that The Dude and I had connected at some level. And yes, I think The Dude still abides …

The Big Lebowski


Author: Jerry Alden Deal

Writer – Director – Producer of Way To Go Media, LLC.
Over the past thirty years Jerry has been hired numerous times to develop and write screenplays for other production companies. During that same period several of his spec scripts were also optioned. ‘Dreams Awake’ was Jerry’s feature directorial debut. He has several other projects in various stages of development. One of which, the feature documentary ‘The Inner Sonic Key’ is currently in post-production.

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