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Crazy Heart Director Scott Cooper Details The 'Life-Changing Moment' He Had With Jeff Bridges

Filmmaker Scott Cooper has managed to build an impressive career for himself over the last decade. Following the release of his debut, "Crazy Heart," Cooper has dabbled in the horror genre with "Antlers," taken a stab at historical fiction with "Hostiles," and brought the true-crime saga of Whitey Bulger to life with "Black Mass."

Still, the filmmaker remains best known for "Crazy Heart." The film follows an aging country music singer who goes by the moniker of Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) as he travels from gig to gig, living hard, drinking hard, and recounting his life to a journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

The film was critically lauded and managed to garner two Oscar wins for best actor and best achievement in music written for a motion picture. Still, the exceptional achievements of Cooper's film might not have come to life if Bridges hadn't agreed to star in the film from the first-time director.

Despite it being Cooper's first film, Bridges signed on anyway

Scott Cooper sat down with Marc Maron for an episode of the "WTF" podcast to discuss his new film, "The Pale Blue Eye." But it wasn't long before the conversation shifted over to his first film, "Crazy Heart," and how he managed to land Jeff Bridges as the star of his filmmaking debut.

Cooper recalled sending the script to actor Robert Duvall before Bridges. "I write the screenplay, I send it to Robert Duvall, and he says, 'Wow, this is really good,'" Cooper recalled. "He said, 'Whom do you see as Bad Blake?' I said, 'Well, I wrote it for Jeff Bridges.'" Seeing how hopeful Cooper was that Bridges would take the part, Duvall advised Cooper to write Bridges "an impassioned letter."

Though Cooper waited a year to hear from Bridges, he found out that he was in good company, as even the revered Cohen Brothers once waited the same amount of time to hear back from Bridges, presumably for the comedy classic "The Big Lebowski." And it turns out, the wait was all worth it.

"A year later, I hear from Duvall that Jeff loved the script and wanted to meet ... so then I go up to Santa Barbara to meet Jeff, and we talk about the world," Cooper recalled. Though he warned Bridges that he'd never directed anything before, the actor didn't seem too worried about it. "And he said, 'You know what? I love first-time directors because they don't have bad habits. I'm in,'" Cooper explained. "And Marc, that is a life-changing moment. Jeff Bridges changed my life."