If you love The Big Lebowski as much as we do, then you probably already know that Jeffrey Lebowski, the pot-smoking, rug-loving, reluctant hero of the Coen brothers’ film, was inspired by a real person. Social activist-turned-movie producer Jeff Dowd was the real-life inspiration for the Dude – and filmmaker Jeff Feuerzeig shows us who the man is and what he’s like in his short documentary The Dude.
Shot with a Tampa-area Lebowski-Fest as the backdrop, Feuerzeig’s film lets us get to know Mr. Dowd intimately during its 20-minute-plus runtime. From his early days as an antiwar protester in the Seattle 7, to his jump to film production, to his fateful meeting with the Coens and the birth of the cinematic Dude, it’s all here.
Dowd, with his mop-top hair and love of marijuana is literally the living embodiment of Jeff Bridges' character. If the physical similarities aren’t 100% exact (Dowd doesn’t have a goatee for starters…), the philosophy and attitude are pitch perfect.
All in all, after watching the director’s cut of the film (which you can see below), we feel a lot like the Stranger at the end of the film. The Dude abides – and it is good knowing he’s out there, taking it easy for all us sinners. As long as Jeff Dowd’s around, that will be the case. [via BoingBoing]
THE DUDE (Director's Cut) from Jeff Feuerzeig on Vimeo.