‘The Old Man’ Star Jeff Bridges Feels ‘Terrific’ After Lymphoma Battle

During a virtual press conference for his FX show, the actor, who is in remission from lymphoma, addressed how his cancer battle impacted his approach to the work

Jeff Bridges in "Old Man" (FX)
Jeff Bridges in "Old Man" (FX)

Jeff Bridges joined his castmates onstage for a virtual panel for his upcoming FX series “The Old Man” on Tuesday, where he told reporters he feels “terrific.”

In Oct. 2020, Bridges announced he had lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. Last fall, he confirmed he is in remission. Production was shut down on his FX series in March 2020 due to the pandemic, and again when Bridges dealt with his cancer battle. And on Tuesday, during the virtual press event, Bridges expressed his gratitude to the cast, crew and fellow producers (he is an executive producer on the show) for their support during the difficult personal time.

“As far as I’m concerned, FX and all of the team were so considerate and gave me all of the time I needed to heal and all the support I needed. The protocols — we were still in COVID — made me feel very safe and eager to get down to business and play,” he said.

“The Old Man” is based on Thomas Perry’s novel of the same name. It centers on Dan Chase, played by Bridges, “who absconded from the CIA decades ago and has been living off the grid since,” according to a logline. “When an assassin arrives and tries to take Chase out, the old operative learns that to ensure his future he now must reconcile his past.”

Bridges said his own health battle went on to impact how he played his character, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

“In times like that, it seems like all your philosophies and spirituality comes to you. It tests you,” he said. “All of that has been made more mature by that experience. I’ve always approached life the same way, [but this] made things sharper.”

John Lithgow, who worked with Bridges for the first time on the series, said he has made a friend for life.

“My dear brother [was] diagnosed with something similar to what Jeff suffered from. When I told him about my brother David, he immediately got in touch with him, he’d never met the man. He’s the most bighearted person,” Lithgow said on Tuesday’s panel. “It’s not like you’re working with an actor at all, you’re working with a new friend. It’s been a real privilege.”

“The Old Man,” also stars Amy Brenneman, Alia Shawkat, E.J. Bonilla and Gbenga Akinnagbe. It premieres on FX in June.

Jonathan E. Steinberg is the co-creator, executive producer and writer. Dan Shotz and Warren Littlefield executive produce, and Jon Watts directors and executive produces Episodes 1 and 2.