Bruce Dern: the ‘old man’ who was crowned in ‘Nebraska’

Many assure that he was the great ‘tortero’. Bruce Dern would have pressed the button on his computer and sent the virgin script of The eight most hated , his most recent and commented film.

Was Dern to blame for Quentin Tarantino’s biggest tantrum? We don’t know, but for this 80-year-old oak tree, a thousand battles on the set and a Cannes award shining in its window, almost anything could be forgiven.

How could he not excuse him ?, if for Tarantino Grandpa Dern “is a national treasure.”

On June 4, Dern completed four decades of bustling around this world. That same day he consolidated himself into the small group of luminaries who, with white hair and maximum wrinkles, do not think about retirement and inject experience and wisdom into the films of the most influential directors in Hollywood.

Clint Eastwood, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Christopher Lee or Jack Nicholson. Well yes, Dern, the unforgettable protagonist of Nebraska (2013) is among them, although never with the title of star.

According to Nicholson’s criteria, collected by the newspaper ABC In 2014, we would be talking about the “best actor of his generation”, despite having a particular career, not very constant and almost always away from the big roles.

Embodying characters with unstable behavior – usually secondary – and insistently wearing the shoes of a villain, Dern has so far made more than 70 films in the cinema mecca.

In fact, for Oskar Belategui, from the Spanish publication The Rioja , no other actor in Hollywood has played “more psychopaths” and “weird” characters, than the star of this article.

Still, dodging the ‘become’ of an unfair and even shortsighted typecasting by Hollywood directors, Dern has been able to raise his hand and be nominated twice for the Academy Awards. Furthermore, for his work in Nebraska , triumphed at Cannes, so far its brightest crown.

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“For someone who has rarely been the star of the movie, the character in Nebraska it was perhaps the last opportunity to leave the soul in his craft, “wrote Belategui, noting the effort that Dern put in his most outstanding and pursued work.

I walk to the dream. Born in Chicago in June 1936, Bruce MacLeish Dern (his first name) comes from a family of politicians and lawyers. His artistic streak must have been inherited from his uncle Archibald MacLeish, a modernist poet who won the Pulitzer Prize three times.

Before dedicating himself to the cinema, television and theater were the first windows of a Dern that barely crawled. Then yes, it would make it to the big screen, but its path to recognition was not easy at all.

His first performance came in 1960, with the film by Elia Kazan Wild river . In it, Dern had a low-key role and hardly appeared in the credits.

Dern doesn’t give up and gets a role on the tape Marnie (1964), by Alfred Hitchcock. In this film he played a soldier who appears in the flashbacks from the protagonist’s mother, Marnie, played by Tippi Hedren.

Simultaneously, on television, Dern continued to make his way as a guest on numerous series such as Route 66 , Naked City , The Fugitive and Bonanza.

In addition, it is noted in Dance, dance damn (1969), by Sydney Pollack, to later interfere in a battery of cowboy films that little by little they were conquering all his time. Of all of them, Dern has fond memories and one of them is when he killed John Wayne in The Cowboys (1972).

“As I am the only actor who killed John Wayne in a movie, the producers put the villain label on me,” Dern commented on one occasion, trying to explain the path that his particular career followed.

Later, papers such as The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), along with Jack Nicholson, and one of his most remembered leading roles: that of Freeman Lowell from the science fiction film Mysterious ships (1972).

Your role in The great Gatsby , a film starring Robert Redford in 1974, cannot be forgotten, especially since with him he achieved his first nomination in an awards season: that of best supporting actor at the Golden Globes.

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“In that film he played the role of Tom Buchanan, his work was very good. At that time he was not very well known, but he still had scenes in which, no matter how strong, he stole the show to the protagonists: Robert Redford and Mia Farrow ”, said Erick Fallas, film critic.

Nor is it acceptable to forget his portrayal of Captain Bob Hyde, in The return (1974). He was so felt in his role that he received an Academy Award nomination as a supporting actor.

“In that film, Dern is a military man and husband of the character played by Jane Fonda. With Jon Voight, whose character is anti-war, he has a clash for his wife’s love as well as for his ideals. Dern is a great acting support in that film, really very good, ”Fallas said.

Consecration. Although Dern continued to work with some frequency, the 80s and 90s passed unnoticed by him, almost imperceptible. But one day he returned for the notoriety lost in tapes like Twixt (2011), by Francis Ford Coppola, and Django Unchained (2012), by his godfather Quentin Tarantino.

In those two movies he revved up his engines to Nebraska , his most bitter success.

“I waited eight years for this role,” he confided in Cannes, after receiving the Palme d’Or for his work in the film.

At road movie Nebraska From director Alexander Payne, Dern plays a not-so-nice alcoholic elderly man who wants to claim a promised lottery prize. His son, who he never took care of, accompanies him on his multi-day drive from Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska.

The film earned him his first Oscar nomination for best leading actor, and although he did not win, the mark he left was indelible. In that role, Dern gave up his entire life.

“It was a very difficult role, where all his maturity and seniority came out in every scene. He did everything he knew how to do, ”Fallas concluded.

From Nebraska to date Dern had been kept in the freezer, until Tarantino re-aligned it on the tape that according to the gossips almost screwed up: The eight most hated.

Quentin, his express admirer, put him there to act as General Sandy Smithers. Dern thanked him for the gesture and, nestled in a chair, with a mysterious look, gave him what the director wanted again.

It will be The eight most hated his last movie? Hopefully not, because the cinema cries out for more of his indecipherable, crazy and charming talent. For now, Happy Birthday Dern!

Review some of the films that marked Bruce Dern’s career:

1) The Cowboys (1972)

In the fiction of this remembered film, actor John Wayne is assassinated. Who kills him ?, Well, nothing more and nothing less than Bruce Dern, in the role of Long Hair.

2) The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)

-Here’s a duet with Jack Nicholson, an actor who never tires of praising Dern. In the film they are brothers, the first a disc jockey and second a con man.

3)Mysterious ships (1972)

-Dern could also handle drama and science fiction. In this film he plays a scientist who, on a space mission, takes care of the last botanical species on Earth.

4)The great Gatsby (1974)

-In addition to winning the Silver Condor again, with this film Argentina opted for an Academy Award: the Best Foreign Language Film.

5) The return (1978)

His first Oscar nomination was achieved for this film with warlike tones. His supporting role, alongside Jon Voight and Jane Fonda, was to be applauded.

6) Twixt (2011)

After a long time without hearing from him, Francis Ford Coppola calls Dern for this horror film. In the film, of murders and ghosts, he has a key role.

7) Django Unchained (2012)

Quentin Tarantino made the dream come true and he lined up the actor in one of his spaghetti westerns. The old Carrucan, was the despicable role that Dern assumed in this film.

8) Nebraska (2013)

It meant his second Oscar nomination, now for best leading actor. It was the best job of his career, crowned with the best actor award at Cannes.

9) The eight most hated (2015)

Again, alongside Quentin Tarantino, Dern appeared in his most recent film. He played General Sandy Smithers. So far it is unknown if Dern will continue to work.