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Game Time: Tackling The Past Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Beau Bridges

This is an interview with Ryan McPartlin and Beau Bridges on August 29, 2011 about the movie Game Time: Tackling The Past.

Question:
Beau, since Game Time is a family oriented movie can you talk about family night or family movie night? What was it like in the Bridges household growing up?

Beau Bridges:
I mean television is a time for the family to gather. I mean I'm of a generation where we just had radio, and so I remember how exciting it was when I went to see the Lone Ranger for the first time when I was a little kid. And now of course technology is so sophisticated that it's such a huge part of our lives. And so much so that I think sometimes young people especially tend to get isolated with the little thing they can hold in their hand to watch films and everything else you know, and they kind of go away. But in our family, we like to gather around the television and watch sporting events and films and shows, and it's a great time for people to come together.

Question:
I learned this movie is somewhat in line with your college years. Will we see your shirt off in this movie?

Ryan McPartlin:
This movie you don't see my shirt off. We're making it a family night, so there's no bare chest going on in this, which I appreciated because I didn't to stay on the treadmill as often as I normally do.

Beau Bridges:
I do take my shirt off however.

Ryan McPartlin:
Beau takes his off though.

Beau Bridges:
No.

Ryan McPartlin:
No, I'm kidding.

Beau Bridges:
No, I'm just teasing. I had to.

Question:
Beau, we loved you on Brothers and Sisters last season and we were wondering if you could talk a little bit about what the Emmy nomination means to you?

Beau Bridges:
I loved doing that show as well, and I feel that my nomination you know, certainly was a good thing in my life, but I also feel that I'm kind of representing that whole show at this year's Emmy's. I mean they did such great work, and of course my dear friend Sally Field was so amazing and to get to play with her was just fantastic. That's a shared experience with that whole cast and crew.

Ryan McPartlin:
And this is the first time I've had a chance to actually congratulate you Beau, so congratulations.

Beau Bridges:
Oh, thank you Ryan.

Ryan McPartlin:
Yes. That's fantastic.

Beau Bridges:
Thanks man.

Question:
What attracted each of you to the parts in Game Time?

Beau Bridges:
I have a large family myself. I mean, I have five children so stories that have family as a theme are usually really get my attention, and this one certainly does. It's right at the core of the story is this family and you know, how they come together and how they get through difficult times. I also love sports. I love athletics. Ryan and I actually had that in common. We both played athletics on teams in our high school and college years. And so to get to play a coach was great.

Because when I was younger and looking ahead in my future, what I wanted to do with my life, my dad was an actor so I thought about you know, he seems to enjoy that. And, I understand that it's a difficult profession to get a hook in there on, but you know, I thought I'd give that a try. I thought you know another path that I would enjoy taking would be as a coach working with young people. I've coached all my own kids' athletic teams, and was lucky enough to sit on the bench with John Wooden as my coach playing freshman basketball at UCLA. It didn't go any further than that, but that was a great experience. I mean one of the great college coaches of all time. And, I remained friendly with him and in contact with him for the rest of his time on the planet. And that was you know, just a real blessing.

And so, there was a lot of reoccurring themes in my own life that resonated in this story, and so I jumped at it. I thought it was just a great story. And, I don't think there's enough entertainment for families these days, and for young people on television that are appropriate and that are strong and profound stories that people need to hear.

Ryan McPartlin:
As far as I was concerned, I played tight end and went to the University of Illinois as a tight end. I found out real quickly that the jump from high school to college is tough, and from college to the Pros is next to impossible, but it was always my dream to play professional football. And when that didn't work out, and I decided to become an actor instead, I actually tried to get away from being branded as an athlete and just a football player because I wanted to be a multi-dimensional actor.

But now that I've been doing this for about 11 or 12 years, it was interesting when this script came about because now it was a role regarding the end of an NFL career. An athlete that's you know, making the journey back home to reconnect with his family. And the father/son theme that was in the story as well it all kind of came together for me at a perfect time in my life. Because, I got to go back and kind of have that farewell to football; that closure that I never really had, and I really felt that in my performance.

And, there's a lot of just great father/son and mother/son moments in the movie that I just thought was good entertainment for the family, and I really wanted to be a part of it. And as soon as I saw the cast list, actually I jumped on a plane and I got an email right before I took off and saw that Beau had signed on to the movie. I go, ???Okay. Now I know this is going to be something special.??? And then Catherine Hicks jumped on board and Josh Braaten, and Katie Carr. It just turned into this really special time that we all had together.

Question:
Ryan, can you draw some similarities between yourself and Jake Walker?

Ryan McPartlin:
I think there was at an earlier time in my life. I think that when athletes become professional athletes and go from high school to college to the pros, there's a certain type of arrested development. I just don't think that maturing process comes until you're done with athletics and done being in the bubble and being treated like a star.

I think that time came in my life when football came to an end for me. And I graduated college. I moved to Los Angeles and I actually waited tables for a year, so I was humbled really quickly. And I called my dad and we reconnected in a whole new way because I had such a respect once I started paying taxes and realizing how much money you actually have to make to support a family. You know, I had a whole new appreciation for my father. I think there are a lot of similarities. I just think that the process came at an earlier age than Jake Walker's has come.

Question:
How do you think you'd do with a game of Trouble against Beau?

Ryan McPartlin:
Beau's probably got a mad dunk shot.

Beau Bridges:
Oh, I'd destroy you. I would destroy you.

Question:
What if you'd have been more successful as a basketball player and not gone into movies?

Beau Bridges:
No. No. I found out the hard way very quickly going to you know, such a powerhouse basketball college what a little fish I was. And, I realized how lucky I was to even make the freshman team and to be able to be around those guys. But what I came away with, especially being tutored by a man like John Wooden was I learned lesions that were life lessons. I mean I don't know if you're familiar with John Wooden's pyramid of success? It was something that he actually developed as an English teacher before he became a coach, and it's basically all the qualities you need to find success. And they're blocks of the pyramid that are things that you need to take on to reach that pinnacle.

And the two cornerstones are industriousness, which is hard work, and enthusiasm, which is joy. Coach always said that you could come to the task with hard work, but it's when it's brought in combination with joy, those two things, hard work and joy, that's when special things happen. And then the very pinnacle of the pyramid is divided in half into faith and patience, meaning when the big game is at hand that you have to be patient and you have to have faith. Faith in whatever you believe in and faith in yourself. And so you know, I did get a lot out of my experience playing at UCLA, but as far as becoming a professional, I don't think so.

Question:
Do you think movies like this are going to change the way TV is presented? Do you think we're going to have more family shows and movies now?

Ryan McPartlin:
I don't know if it'll change the way things are presented, but I think it'll find its niche and that the industry will recognize its success and try and carve out a night like Wal-Mart and Proctor and Gamble has joined up with NBC to do, and I think that'll be an important night in the family household.

Beau Bridges:
Yes. I echo that. I think that's true.

Question:
A lot of things are based on personal stats and not how much the person is in terms of their true value. How much of this movie can you actually relate to your life today?

Ryan McPartlin:
From what Beau was talking about with his experience with John Wooden, it just reminded me of how many self-motivating there are out there. And so much of them are focused on the end result and what you're going to achieve success-wise, material wealth, and not necessarily on the character building and how you achieve it.

So that's been the focus of what I've been trying to achieve and strive for in my life is more or less work on my character and my own personal qualities first, and then hopefully success will follow. But, if and when it comes, the road to get there will definitely have been traveled in the right way.

Beau Bridges:
And I would like to add that I think the roads we take, the paths we take to reach goals and to try to finish tasks in a successful way, those paths are taken much more easily when you have, if you're blessed to have a family, when you have your family there to support you. It makes it so much easier and more comfortable a ride.

If you have friends that almost become your family. You know, that is so valuable. And, I think sometimes people don't take advantage of their family so that there's the communication is lacking. And, I think that's what our story is about in many ways is how important it is for family members to communicate with each other. Our family in this story, they grow apart because they're not communicating.

And I think sometimes it's difficult because that family member - that loved one means more to you than anybody else, so sometimes there are subject matter. there are things and events that are difficult to talk about because you're worried about you know, what the consequences are going to be for talking the truth with a loved one. But without that communication, I think you can get lost and you can lose that wonderful support that happens from family.

Question:
It seems like the two of you have a really nice relationship off screen. Can you talk to us a little bit about what's going on screen between Jake and his dad?

Ryan McPartlin:
We both come at it from different point-of-views. So from my point of view, is how can I make these talking points without spoiling anything? I could just say that I feel that my dad in the movie, at least in the beginning of the movie, did not recognize the importance of the role that I played and tried to emphasize the team over the individual talents that I've achieved and the success that I felt. And, that's the start of the journey and I think the start of the story.

So that's where I came at it from, and I actually experienced that with my own father when I was in high school and you know, he'd tell me to take the trash out and do what I felt like he was picking on me versus my siblings to do some chores around the house or whatever. I'd say, ???Hey. Didn't you see that touchdown I made in the game the other day? I have other work to do. I have workouts, I got a lot on my plate right now. I got homework to do and how I'm supposed to balance all this and take the trash out???? I can't believe he was as patient as he was during that time in my life. And now that I'm a father, I know what to expect from my teenage sons one day.

Beau Bridges:
I think that you know, one of the biggest challenges for a parent is that you know when your child is born, those first few months you provide everything for them - for their survival. I mean the father and the parents. And then very quickly, they begin to look for their independence, even as little babies. There begins their journey to get away from you to find complete independence. And as a parent that's what you want for them. You want them to evolve into an independent grown-up who can have their own life and sustain themselves independently from you, and their family. And, they can move on and have their own family and their own lives.

But it's also kind of heart wrenching because you give so much to your child, you invest so much in them, and yet they're going away from you. They can't wait to get away from you, and that increases the older when they get in their teenage years you know, and that's why my wife is always reminding me you know, we have one left in the nest. Zeke is 17, and you know, whenever he reaches out and wants to spend some time, you know she says, ???Whatever you're doing, drop it and take that time,??? because that's golden time you know. He's going to be up and out and going to college and doing his own thing within, it's just around the corner.

And so, it's kind of a double-edged sword. You know, you want them to have their independence, you want to help give it to them, but then you're also mourning the loss of the closeness that happens when they're living in your own home and being with you. And in this story, that is magnified by the fact that there's a misunderstanding that comes down between my son and I, and I basically have lost him at the beginning of the story. He's gone. He's not communicating at all. He's not around. I think he basically doesn't like me anymore. And so that's in any parent's life, that's a tragic situation. And so what the story really is about for my character is hoping that my son will return into my life in a positive way and realize that and I hope he realizes that I do love him and have always loved him, but there was a misunderstanding.

Question:
Was there a particular scene in the film that touched you so much it gave you a different perspective on life, or family, or career in general?

Ryan McPartlin:
I had a lot of moments with Beau where he just you know, would share stories about his father and himself, and then his experience as a father as well that I think he was really wrapped up. And there's a moment that we're walking down the hall of the hospital that they're playing that trailer right now online. It was a great scene. It was just a great moment and it really captured the essence of our whole store. And, I felt that you know, all of our times that we spent on screen and off was really brought to the forefront right there in that moment.

I'm just soaking up listening to Beau talk right now about how your kids are so dependent on you and then the loss of that dependence as a parent like my boys are only four and two years old and I'm already getting sad thinking about them trying to leave the nest one day. Because my two year old seems like he already wants out.

Beau Bridges:
The fun of being a parent though is, as your children become adults, is to watch them go out into the world and bring their own unique goodness to the community. I mean, I can say that about my grown children. They're just amazing. And in many ways, they are my immortality basically. They are carrying me on beyond what I can do. They're doing things that I only dreamed of. And I think that's part of this story as well that we're telling. I think I become aware of my sons as men who will hopefully carry on what I started but take it into a whole other level. And that's the real joy of - and the real payoff for all the challenges that go into being a good parent.

I think being a good dad is the hardest thing that I've ever tried to do and I've failed many, many times, and my kids will point that out to me of course. But I - you know it's been difficult, but also tremendously rewarding. And my wife was saying to me the other day that I've had children in my life for almost 50 years of my lifetime you know, which is a lot of years. But, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Question:
Beau, do you still find yourself coaching your children even though they're grown and different capacities?

Beau Bridges:
Yes. I try. I try to coach them, but you know they're not really hearing it too much anymore. A little bit. We have discussions more or less. What I find about my adult children is as they get older, they feel that they can now begin to coach me which is sometimes a little hard to take. But, I also welcome it because I realize that as younger people in this world, they have a better understanding I think of the way things work now. And so sometimes, I actually go out and seek their advice on things because I think they do have a better understanding of the way the game is played these days.

Question:
What's your advice for actors?

Ryan McPartlin:
My answer would probably a lot shorter than Beau's because you've got a bit more experience. The first and foremost thing that I would say is just learn to be as comfortable as you are in your skin and work on yourself and work on trying to learn about what the story is, whatever it is. Its account on whatever you're auditioning for, a play, and then just where you fit in.

And then whatever you do, don't take it personally, I mean because rejection happens to us all and it's done - I'm going on an audition today that I probably won't get, but I'm not going to say, ???Oh, well I could've done that much better.??? And it's just I'll feel that I've prepared the best I can, and if I'm not the right actor to fit into their story, I'll just go ahead and say, ???All right. I did my job and my job is done, and now I have to move on.???

Beau Bridges:
I was very fortunate that I had my dad Lloyd who was an actor firmly entrenched in the business and quite successful, and he helped me get that first job and I'm forever blessed for that. And I recognize how difficult that first job is to get, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. And I think that what's important for any young person who wants to join the fraternity of actors is to get out there and do your thing. It is just get involved in your school theater. Get involved in your community theater, because the best way to get that first professional job is to have people see what you can do. And if you sit there waiting for your phone to ring, nothing's going to happen.

So, you need to get out there and work, work, work and try to associate with people who are professionals in any way you can. You know volunteer, assist; whatever you can do so that you know it can lead to that first job. I also would like to recommend a book called Acting: The First Six Lessons by Richard Boleslawski written in about 1933. It was the only book on acting my father Lloyd gave me when I was a kid about 16. I've given it to all my kids. And in fact a year ago, my daughter Emily, who's 25 now and just recently graduated from Fordham University in New York, we adapted that novel into a play which we performed in Los Angeles, and we recently just got published by Samuel French. So if anyone wants to pick up that play they can, and it's a great play to perform.

It's a two hander. The teacher and his student who he calls The Creature. And it's basically Boleslawski was a student of Constantine Stanislavski, so it's kind of you know what we call the method acting. There's all kinds of ways of approaching acting though. I mean, as I worked with all sorts of wonderful actors through the years, and they all go about it totally differently. There's no correct way to do it. But, that book there is an interesting one.

I would also encourage young actors to write. I think that's because basically, our business is to tell stories, and if there's no stories to tell, then you know what's an actor going to do? And just like Shakespeare said, ???The play's the thing.??? So if you write, then that's another way of creating work for yourself or creating you know performances for yourself is to write your own material and go out and do it. You know, many actors have gotten people's attention by doing just that.

Question:
Beau, you recently did some work with George Clooney. Was he very difficult to work with?

Beau Bridges:
No. No. He's just a real prince of a guy. He's a lot of fun. You know, he's got a mischievous thing about him which I didn't see too directly. I heard about it mostly from other people. But he loves what he does. He's really good at what he does. He works hard. He's very respectful of all the other actors and the crew. And yes, it was a lot of fun. I did The Descendants with him, which is coming out probably in a couple months.

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