Friday, August 22, 2008

Jeff Bridges & "The Contender"

We watched the movie "The Contender" on TV this week - a stroke of genius by someone at HBO to screen this particular movie at this particular time. The plot-line could not have been more appropriate in 2008, though the film was released in 2000.

It's an engaging and thought-provoking story of US politics at the highest level. A Vice President has died and the President is in the process of appointing a replacement. The president himself is nearing the end of his second term and wants to leave on a high note. He would like to appoint a woman as VP. He has opposition from the other side of the aisle, there is much muck-raking, and skulduggery.

A clip from the president's (Jeff Bridges) speech which brings the movie to a close:

"Understand, those of you who worked to bring Laine Hanson down that she asked to have her name withdrawn from consideration not because she isn't great, but because she isn't petty -- because those two conflicting leadership traits could not live as one within her body or her soul.

Greatness: It comes in many forms. Sometimes it comes in the form of sacrifice. That's the loneliest form. Now it turns out that Laine Hanson is a woman, an American of devout principle and she has inspired me to act alike, and I cannot accept Senator Hanson's withdrawal.

And I'm now calling for an immediate voice of confirmation of Laine Hanson. And Mr. Speaker, I would like to make this a live roll call. I want to see the faces of those of you who would eliminate the possibility of greatness in American leadership because of half-truths, lies, and innuendoes.

I will not be deterred by partisanship.

I will not be deterred by misogyny.

I will not be deterred by hate.

You have now come face-to-face with my will. Confirm my nominee, heal this nation, and let the American people explode into this new millennium with the exhilaration of being true to the glory of this democracy.

Thank you."

Remind you of anyone? A dedication at the end of the movie stated simply "For the Daughters". I discovered that Jeff Bridges has three daughters, and wondered whether this was his idea.

Jeff Bridges, someone who never fails to bring his characters to life, plays the president. Joan Allen portrays his fagile-looking yet strong and determined female pick for VP. Several familiar faces, all excellent character actors, are included in the supporting cast: Sam Elliott, Gary Oldman and William Petersen .

Jeff Bridges is one of those actors who commands respect from audience and peers alike, yet he has never become a block-busting big-name star like Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson - someone whose next movie is eagerly awaited, trumpeted to high heaven. He's as good looking as any of the fore-mentioned guys, he's a better actor than some of them. I wonder what it is that propels some to the starry heights, and others equally deserving, while not exactly ignored, remain at a different level of the public's star consciousness. He hasn't, to my knowledge, ever starred in a real wham-bam action movie in the style of "Lethal Weapon" or "Die Hard" - maybe that's the key? Too laid-back, I guess.

Jeff Bridges was born on 4 December 1949 in Los Angeles, California, Astrotheme gives his time of birth as 11.58 pm.

On-line biographies all describe Jeff Bridges as "laid back", a thoroughly nice guy, versatile, and hugely talented. In addition to acting, he paints, is a keen photographer, musician and song writer, and he is founder of the End Hunger Campaign.

In one interview he mentions that his grandfather was "a Scouser" - which, being translated means that he came from Liverpool, England. Liverpudlians are a pretty laid-back and likeable bunch, it's in his blood then! Is it also in his natal chart?

First thing - it's a strong chart, with planets on three of the four angles. Saturn/Mars on the ascendant, Sun Mercury and Chiron on the nadir (opposite midheaven), with Moon very close to midheaven, top of the chart. It's the chart of a dynamic personality, maybe emphasised further because there's more than a single planet on two of the angles.

Sometimes I find that textbook definitions of an aspect just don't fit what I feel about the person involved. This is such a case. In the chart of an actor, it's understandable. We hardly ever see "the real person" on public display. Here, for instance, we have Sun and Moon in opposition, Sagittarius versus Gemini. Cookbook (textbook) interpretation don't fit descriptions of Jeff Bridges offered by his peers and colleagues, who are in a better position to know the real man. He's described always as an extremely laid-back individual, such folk seldom have to deal with lifelong inner tensions and struggles indicated by a natal Sun/Moon opposition. Could it be, perhaps, that in the case of an actor with this aspect, tensions can be brought to the surface within his acting roles, leaving personal life calm and in laid-back mode?

A second placement and combination which doesn't quite ring true from cookbook interpretation is Saturn conjunct Mars on the Virgo ascendant. The ascendant is said to be the lens through which a person sees the world and the world sees the person. Via Virgo, a streak of perfectionism will appear, Jeff's attention to detail in every part he has played in his long career has resulted in many awards and nominations. The Virgo element fits then. Saturn and Mars conjoined on this Virgo angle are likely to be strongly evident in the personality. On first thought this conjunction would seem like a negative rather than positive pair to find in such a strong position. In some instances, depending on the rest of the chart, the same combination could produce a hardnosed, mean fighter, a strait-laced, aggressive miserable miser, or, as in this case a disciplined hard working character with energy to spare, always eager eager to accept a challenge.

Jeff's Sagittarius Sun and Mercury square (challenge)his Mars/Saturn in Virgo, which could be why the Saturn/Mars combination doesn't get things all its own way. Good natured, jovial expansive Sagittarius planets, also on an angle, also strong, largely overcome any negative energy from Saturn/Mars. Moon in Gemini at the top of the chart underlines Jeff's versatility and ease of communication, and form yet another square the Mars/Saturn conjunction, serving to lighten it even more.

Venus in the last degree of Capricorn and Jupiter in the first degree of Aquarius form a conjunction, this in 5th house of pleasures. Here's his artistic and musical talent (Venus) combined with Jupiter, his Sun's ruler, in socially aware Aquarius - his charity work. This combination also serves to underline his hardworking yet easy-going nature.

This chart is a good example, I think, of how a negative factor in a natal chart should never be taken in isolation. Here, I see good humored Sagittarius shining through, any negative aspects being allowed to play out within the native's (the actor's) career, turning a potential detriment into a boon.


anthonynorth said...

From Scouse stock!!!? Now that is a surprise.
The words about sacrifice are so true. Few are that great.

R J Adams said...

"Remind you of anyone?"

Hmm....let me see....ahmm...nope, can't say it does.


Twilight said...

AN -Hi! ~~~ Agreed. Sacrifice isn't included in the vocabulary of today's politicians. "What's in it for me?" is the current motto, I fear.

Twilight said...

RJ - Hi! ~~~
Hmmmm - thought not. :-P

Anonymous said...

Nice analysis. Fair, balanced and introspectively plotted. Many thanks.

Twilight said...

Anonymous - Thanks! :-)