Call it ComicCon for "urban achievers." A Trekkie convention for devotees of just one film, White Russians included. It's Lebowski Fest, and it rolled into New York on Monday night (with a bowling party) and concluded Tuesday night with a reunion of the principal cast, including the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges. In the parlance of our times, it was awesome.
Bridges (The Dude), John Goodman (Walter), Steve Buscemi (Donny), Julianne Moore (Maude), John Turturro (the Jesus) and the film's music archivist, T Bone Burnett, were clearly delighted by whooping character doppelgangers, as well as non-costumed fans, and their love of the 13-year-old film and its memorable dialogue. The panel, moderated by Entertainment Weekly's Clark Collis, answered questions about the making of the film, as well as its lasting legacy as a cult hit (Watch a replay of the panel discussion below). The event also marked the release of the film on Blu-ray.
The best bowler of the cast? Steve Buscemi, who says he initially was hesitant to take the role of the docile Donny because, well, he didn't do much. What won him over? Walter's sweet devotion to him in the film's dying (pun intended) moments.
Line most often spoken to the actors by fans on the street? "Shut the (bleep) up, Donny!"
Bridges, who is also out promoting his new self-titled country music album, asked the crowd if they had heard the theory that the Donny character wasn't real, but rather was just a figment of Walter's Vietnam-ravaged mind. "No one ever answers Donny except Walter, right?" Bridges asked the fans. Wrong! One fan quickly sounded out a line, in which the Dude himself thanks Donny for pointing out that his phone is ringing. Myth busted.
The idea for the fest was hatched in 2002 by "the founding Dudes," Scott and Will. The pair, bored out of their minds at another convention, started exchanging lines from the film and quickly other people around them started to join in. A new convention was born, and was launched in Louisville, Ky., later that year with 150 fans in attendance. The festival has grown exponentially since.
Mark it, Dude.