Take a young man from a rich, aristocratic family and give him the nerve to become an actor. Let that family dismiss his ambitions. Have him flee Illinois for New York and study with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio (the same place that turned out Brando and Newman). Have him perform on Broadway under Elia Kazan. Cast him in a western, The Cowboys, on the waning side of the peak of the counterculture. Style him in grubby cowboy clothes and long hair and tell him to shoot dead the pristine John Wayne. Clothe him in suits from some upstart tie designer named Ralph Lauren for his part as Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Dress him in Marine dress blues, then have him strip them off and chuck them in the ocean in Coming Home. Give him an Oscar nod. Cast him in The ’Burbs.
Have his daughter, Laura, also become an acclaimed actor. Have him run miles and miles and miles every day. Have him, at 76, take on a role in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska that telegraphs the regret and resentment, stubbornness and the ambition he felt within his own family. Give him another Oscar nomination. Have Bruce Dern live the life and the craft of an actor. Let him tell you about the other directors he’s worked with (Hitchcock, Tarantino) and what makes them geniuses: “A reverence for what came before them.” And how the clothes in those movies help communicate character and make his job a little bit easier. Let Bruce Dern tell you what a life dedicated to telling stories has been like.
Sweater by BOSS.