Every year, Film at Lincoln Center honors a luminary of the film industry with the Chaplin Award. This year’s honoree is a beloved screen icon: the Dude, the Starman, the legend—Jeff Bridges. As critic Bilge Ebiri writes in his tribute essay on Bridges’s legacy (available on the website soon): “There was always something likable about Bridges. With those pleading eyebrows and that broad smile, he has a face that hovers between bafflement and acceptance, which is probably an attitude more relatable to the average viewer than the brooding turmoil of so many leading men of his generation. He moves with ease, but we can sense a halting indecision behind the eyes. Many of Bridges’s best films mine this tension, and part of his appeal as a movie star over the last 50-plus years is rooted in familiarity and openness. When we watch Jeff Bridges, we see, and understand, ourselves a little better.”

In advance of the 49th Chaplin Award Gala, taking place on April 29, Devika sat down with Bridges for a look back at the actor’s long career. Taking inspiration from a painting Bridges made many years ago, titled Jeff Makes a Decision, which depicts him as a stick figure navigating a river full of whirlpools, their conversation touched upon several of Bridges’s iconic roles—The Last Picture Show, Tron, Crazy Heart, and more—and how the actor ended up in those movies, often in spite of himself. Bridges also discussed the lasting influence his parents, both actors, have had on him; some of the crazy on-set stories behind his most memorable performances; and the television shows he is currently enjoying.