That Time Jeff Bridges First Told Us What It Means to Be a ‘Trim Tab’ (Podcast)

Months before his Golden Globe speech, Bridges explained why we should all be trim tabs

Last Updated: January 6, 2019 @ 7:21 PM

Months before Jeff Bridges told the world what it means to be a “trim tab” in his Golden Globes speech, he talked to us about the man who originated the phrase: Bucky Fuller, an architect whose innovations include the geodesic dome.

Fuller came up surprisingly quickly when the Oscar-winning actor stopped by our “Shoot This Now” podcast for a talk about his new environmental documentary “Living in the Future’s Past.” You can listen on Apple or right here.

Bridges, who received the Globes’ Cecil B DeMille award on Sunday night, told us in October how Fuller, one of his heroes, introduced the metaphor of the “trim tab” to explain how small changes can force large ones. Fuller noted that the rudder of a massive ship has a rudder of its own, called a “trim tab,” that moves the larger rudder, and in turn the entire ship.

“Bucky Fuller says that this is a great metaphor for how the individual affects society — that we are all connected to other groups of people who are likeminded, want to go in that direction,” Bridges said. “And as a matter of fact on Bucky’s gravestone he’s carved in there ‘Call Me Trim Tab.’ And that’s always been an inspiration to me.”

Bridges presented the film “Living in the Future Past,” which Susan Kucera directed. The film opened a week before Bridges’ “Bad Times at the El Royal

Bridges tried to be a trim tab on the set of “Bad Times,” asking for a small, environmentally friendly change. It turns out he didn’t need to, as he explains on the podcast.

Pauline Kael said Bridges “may be the most natural and least self-conscious screen actor who ever lived.” That shines through in his chat with us, which also covers “Starman,” why birds fly the way they do, and why we may all want to re-think the kinds of straws we use.

And yes, of course he mentioned White Russians.

You can learn more about “Living in the Future’s Past” here.

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