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Writer-director Rod Lurie on Jeff Bridges, Henry Fonda

A few posts ago I wrote that Bill Clinton may be "too wily, elusive and tragicomic a character to be contained in conventional political movies. Jeff Bridges came the closest to capturing him as the president in Rod Lurie's melodrama 'The Contender.' He may have been named Jackson Evans but he was Clinton as we wanted him to be: down-to-earth and brilliant, but also principled and a shrewd tactician -- the life of the White House, and the life of the movie." I then asked readers whether they had any ideal movie presidents, and mentioned Henry Fonda in "Fail-Safe" as a prime candidate.

Rod Lurie, the writer-director of "The Contender," read the post and wrote, in an email, "The answer is indeed and without equivocation....Henry Fonda in 'Fail-Safe.' Absolute perfection. The best screen President of all time. I even showed the performance to Jeff [Bridges] before we shot our film."

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And Lurie followed up with this choice bit: "I remember when I convinced Jeff to do Contender that he hugged me and said, 'The Dude as President. Who'd have thought it?' " (Above, that's Bridges as the Dude, left, with John Goodman, right, from "The Big Lebowski.")

What do you think of Bridges' interpretation of Pres. Jackson Evans as the Dude in a suit? Would you want the Dude as president?

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