Bruce Dern (‘Goliath’) got his role from Billy Bob Thornton because he’s ‘extremely unpredictable’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

Surprisingly, veteran actor Bruce Dern hasn’t done many regular television roles throughout his six-decade career. But he jumped at the chance to work with old friend Billy Bob Thornton on the Amazon Prime legal drama “Goliath.” He played Frank Zax, former pharmaceutical executive during the fourth and final season of the series. That role over the course of the episodes brought him a barnburner of a legal battle with his ruthless brother George, played by J.K. Simmons.

During our recent chat Dern reveals, “I’d never really done a scene in a courtroom. I had been a judge in ‘All the Pretty Horses’ for Billy Bob. Movies and acting are really about photographing, in a really interesting way, conversations. I liked that style in what they were doing… Billy said you’re here because you’re you, and you’re extremely unpredictable and it’s not planned out. You have your ‘Dernsies,’ which are these little things I throw in all the time.”

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Dern is a two-time Oscar nominee for “Coming Home” (1978) and “Nebraska” (2013). His other two TV series were in “Stoney Burke” and “Big Love,” which brought him his only Emmy nomination so far. He will be on the Emmy ballot this summer as Best Drama Supporting Actor.

His massive film career has included “Marnie,” “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte,” “The Cowboys,” “The King of Marvin Gardens,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Silent Running,” “Family Plot,” “The ‘Burbs,” “Django Unchained,” “The Hateful Eight” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” In our chat, he adds that there are six genius-level directors for whom he has worked: Elia Kazan, Alfred Hitchcock, Douglas Trumbull, Francis Ford Coppola, Quentin Tarantino and Alexander Payne.

We also discuss the Academy Award win by his daughter Laura Dern three years ago for “Marriage Story,” plus his four favorite male performances ever delivered in the movies (hint that one included his co-star Simmons).

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