When Thomas Perry wrote The old man (2017), showed two things: that the life of your older neighbor, that gentleman with a kind and somewhat introverted face, who prefers to spend his days in peace, in the company of his two dogs or on the phone with his only daughter, is possibly more interesting than yours; and that what he has to tell us, despite the social ageism we suffer from, interests more people than we think, a lot more. How to make the book of him a new best seller and of history, the new Disney+ original action serieswith the oscarized Jeff Bridges as the lead in his first television role.
Bridges had been strongly recommended the book by his friend, fellow actor and producer Tim Stack (My name is Earl, American pie). She didn’t pay much attention to it until the script arrived on her table and the title sounded familiar. He was immediately hooked on the plot: Dan Chase, a widower and retired former CIA member, lives on the fringes of society (and the intelligence agency) under a false identity. A failed mission, a presumption of guilt, forces him to do it. But the past always comes back, and when it knocks on your door and it’s killing you for something you didn’t do, you better make up with it.
The old man it is an adrenaline rush forward. Chase must be hunted down and they will send the deputy director of counterintelligence at the FBI, the bloodhound Harold Harper (John Lithgow), with whom he has a complicated relationship; also Julian Carson (Gbenga Akinnagbe), a highly skilled special ops contractor, when they realize it won’t be easy. The former CIA agent won’t be alone either: his protégé Angela Adams (Alia Shawkat) and special agent Raymond Waters (EJ Bonilla) will work hand in hand to help him. Zoe McDonald (Amy Brennenman) will also unintentionally become an ally, at least until she finds out who the tenant is that she is renting her room to. Because the truth we will get to know little by little, with flashbacks starring Bill Heck, who is joined by a very similar physique to Bridges and his seniority with the Cohens.
“It was a bit like the big lebowski; I’m not the Big Lebowski, but it follows the story of my character. In this case, I’m just one of the old guys in the series, but I already belong to that category!” Jeff Bridges joked about the title in an interview in Vanity Fair. The veteran actor enlisted the help of a CIA agent during filming to understand his character and make it more realistic. Bridges will not have it easy in the plot, nor was the project. It is his first role on television or, at least, his first as a Hollywood legend –at the age of 13 he appeared in a show produced by his father, the legendary Lloyd Bridges–, and although he wanted to experiment, he had the reluctance from him. He confesses that he didn’t want to meet with the creators because he knew that he couldn’t tell them no. And not only did that happen, he ended up becoming one of the executive producers.
Produced by 20th Television in association with The Littlefield Company, the series is created by Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine (co-creators of black sails), also in charge of the adaptation of the novel; and counts as executive producers such as Jeff Bridges himself, Warren Littlefield, Steinberg, Dan Shotz, Levine, David Schiff and Jon Watts (responsible for the last films of Spiderman), who have also directed the first two episodes. A series of names that guarantee the quality and success of a series that faced all kinds of setbacks throughout filming: it had to deal with a pandemic and the health problems of Jeff Bridges, diagnosed with lymphoma in 2020. After three years of filming and stoppages, The old man is finally available on Disney + and promises to be one of the most applauded series of the season.
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‘The old man’, the first Jeff Bridges series that shows us that the action genre is ageless