Vicious Rumer: Haunted. Hunted. Cursed. You’ve Never Met Anybody Like Rumer Cross by Joshua Winning @JoshWinning #BookReview #Urban #FictionFantasy



‘An exhilarating read’ – SFX

‘Introduces a truly badass heroine to the world of YA’ – Book Riot

Rumer Cross is cursed. Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.

Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.

Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.


Vicious Rumer: Haunted. Hunted. Cursed. You’ve…

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Guest blog post: Welcome to the world of Sour Fruit by Eli Allison

Today I am very excited to host a guest post by Eli Allison, the debut author of new dystopian thriller Sour Fruit, which is out now.

The concept behind Sour Fruit is very cool – it’s set in a future hell hole known as Kingston. This ramshackle world is full of shady characters who’ll cut your throat as soon as look at you.

So over to Eli, who’s going to introduce us to this wacky, dangerous world…

Picture of The Body Quater 1

Want to say a big thank you to Josh for hosting my twisted novel Sour Fruit, on this second spot of The After Party Book Blog Tour.

So I thought we could do a fabulous sneak-peek into the world of Kingston; the setting for my dark dystopian novel. Kingston is a rotting scrap yard of misery, a river city in a country plagued by yearly devastating floods. VOIDs (people deemed unworthy of British Citizenship) are forced to survive in this place, and they try to have forged a life out of a city that year by year is rotting away under their feet.

We are going to look closely at one area in particular and the best way to know a place is to know its stories. There is a character in Sour Fruit who collects and tells people the stories of Kingston. Here is one of their tales about The Body Quarter…

There was two Janes, one tall, one small, one dusted with freckles, the other pale as bridal silk, one who danced amongst rubble and bullet holes, the other that couldn’t breathe.

These two Janes never meet, although they were forever changed by the other. VOID Jane and Citizen Jane, two tiny bubbles racing to the surface.

Citizen Jane, small and pale liked to slide the days away picking daisies to make crowns for her doll. She grew up in a nest of love, two hummingbird parents who hovered around their only child. But all her days were almost gone, she’d never fly the nest, never fly at all. She was dying and all that was left was nearly gone.

But there was a place, a hurried whisper of a last chance. ‘Kingston,’ they were told, but it came at a price.

‘Any price,’ they said. ‘Any.’

Who wouldn’t burn the world to save their child? The parents were lucky it wasn’t the whole world that needed burning… Just one girl.

Silly VOID Jane had asked for help from the wrong aid worker; he wore his bright orange vest like he wore his smile; tight. The worker had taken her blood like he had taken everyone’s blood he helped. He filed VOID Jane’s picture, name and test results into his private files and with the stab of the enter button everyone’s fates were sealed.

Citizen Jane took her first good breath in years, her new lungs stretched wide. Her eyes opened to see a shiny white room her parents watching. Her mother embracing her doll, her father embracing his tears. They thanked the doctor, the nurse, the porter, everyone but the one person they should have.

They found VOID Jane’s body burnt in The Black Quay, but those that found her knew the hollowed out child had spent her last days in The Body Quarter, carved up for parts.

VOID Jane, tall and freckled would slide the days away, twirling, and leaping to music played through the tinny speakers of an old phone. She would wait hours at the Charge shop, to fill its little battery. Racing to find an old room, secret and long dead and she would place the phone tilted against rumble and hit play. She would dance in muted light, etching graceful lines into the dusty floor with pointed toes, her fingers outstretched reaching for the sky.

The End

Hope you liked the glimpse into the underbelly of Kingston. If you’d like to know more about Kingston then my book Sour Fruit is out now.

body quater 2

About the Author
EliAllison-iconEli Allison tells people at parties that she’s a writer, but she mostly spends the day in her knickers swearing at the laptop. She ping-ponged between one depressing job until finally she said, ‘This year I’m writing that book.’ Years later the book is done…There is a sneaking suspicion she would have kept quiet had she known quite how long it would have taken her. She lives in Yorkshire, works in her head and does not enjoy long walks on the beach or anywhere, in fact she gets upset at having to walk to the fridge for cheese.

Find Eli on Twitter @EliAllison3

And visit her website at

Vicious Rumer by Joshua Winning~Interview and Ellen’s Review

Bibliophile Book Club

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be able to share a Q&A I did with Joshua Winning, author of the Vicious Rumer, AND Ellen’s brilliant review 😊

About the author:

Joshua Winning Sentinel Shoot 2014

Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for TOTAL FILM, SFX, GAY TIMES and RADIO TIMES. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany.

In 2014, SENTINEL – the first book in Joshua’s SENTINEL TRILOGY – was published by Peridot Press. The second book, RUINS, followed in 2015. Joshua’s short story DEAD AIR appeared in SPEAK MY LANGUAGE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF GAY FICTION and Joshua’s new novel, VICIOUS RUMER, will be published by Unbound in 2018. He also co-wrote ’80s teen…

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The Friday 56: Vicious Rumer

Such a fantastic idea. Thanks for having me, Kate!

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. The idea is to share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading every Friday, to promote the book or simply just to showcase your current read!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s OK.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple

This week I’m reading an ARC of a new thriller, Vicious Rumer.

Vicious rumer

‘I remember reading the article as a teenager. Kobayashi was the monster who formed the Divine Order, the cult my mother joined before she fell pregnant. She worked for him.
It all comes back to my mother. A snake eating its own tail.
‘I should go.’

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Happy #WorldBookDay 2018!

To celebrate World Book Day 2018, I thought I’d post a few of my favourites. Here goes…

TEACHER’S PET. Not the first Point Horror I ever read, but definitely the scariest. There’s stuff in this that still haunts me.
Because obviously. Essential reading for any human being, whether they’ve experienced mental health issues or not. This one has got me through some darkness, and continues to.
A love story for my next #WorldBookDay favourite. This is just gorgeous. Beautifully evocative and romantic. I fell for Achilles HARD, and I loved being in his world. Not just a gay classic but a classic full-stop.
THE WHITBY WITCHES. Robin Jarvis single-handedly inspired my love for language. His ability to find the perfect word at the perfect moment is second to none – and he’s a master of the fun/fear formula.
Savage alt-world stuff in my next #WorldBookDay favourite. ONLY EVER YOURS is a riveting thriller mixed with pulpy sci-fi and razor-sharp satire. It has serious fire in its belly. Unputdownable.
And #WorldBookDay wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Stephen King’s incomparable writing bible. This thing is gold dust for any scribbler. So good I’ll read it every year for the rest of my life.
I could go on and on but I won’t. I’ll end this #WorldBookDay love-in with this gorgeous newbie. It’s packed full of goodies. I’ve lost hours to its riches. Happy WBD all! 📚


Vicious Rumer: can we get a title chaaaange?


Hey everybody! It’s me, that writer you supported a few months ago. Yes, I’m alive! (And yes, I’m still grateful.)

Now that the dust has settled on 2017, and that depressing first month of 2018 is toast, I thought I’d give you a quick update on all things Rumer.

First, the big stuff. As you may have guessed from the subject line, Killing Rumer has a new title! After recent movie masterpieces like Killing Gunther and Killing Hasselhoff (oh my), my editors and I thought it might be a good idea to give Rumer a refresh. Y’know, so that we don’t upset the Hoff. So VICIOUS RUMER was born. I don’t know about you, but I sort of prefer it.

Elsewhere in the Rumer mill (sorry), the structural and copy edits are DONE, which means the manuscript looks the best it’s ever been. Like those fancy show dogs on TV. Now, Vicious Rumer is being typset, which means it’s being made to look pretty in preparation for the printers. All being well, you should have a copy of the book by April. Woo!

Do you have a blog? Fancy running something in April to spread the Rumer? That would be lovely, thanks so much for offering. Just chuck me an email to discuss!

Meanwhile, the third book in my dark fantasy series, The Sentinel Trilogy, is due out in July 2018! And if you can’t wait that long, in March we’re releasing an ebook novella set in the Sentinel-verse called WITCHPIN. If you’re not familiar, there’s more about the series here:

OK, that’s quite enough jibber and indeed jabber. Thanks again for your continued support, see you on the flipside.

Josh x

5 women who inspired Vicious Rumer

1. Nancy from The Craft
I had a picture of Fairuza Balk (actually, the one above this text), aka Nancy, on my desktop all the way through writing Killing Rumer. It’s not so much that Rumer is like Nancy – rather, I wanted Rumer to possess the same dark humour and edge-of-crazy personality as Nancy. They’re both outsiders, slightly unhinged and believe in something dangerous. Also, they both have black hair.

2. Stevie Nicks…
…and Crystal Visions, the compilation of her biggest hits. That album both inspired, chilled and nursed me through Killing Rumer – so much so that I, of course, HAD to make Rumer a fan. I’ve been a little bit obsessed with Stevie ever since I saw a tiny indie film from 1998 called Edge Of Seventeen, and her music is perfect for Rumer; ethereal, weird, haunting. It has it all and then some.

3. Holly Hunter in Top Of The Lake
Shocking revelation – I’ve only seen the first episode of this (ducks). I know I know. BUT the thing that really made me sit up in that first episode was Holly Hunter and her ghostly silver hair. Without her, I wouldn’t have created one of the main characters in Killing Rumer – the image of Holly’s wise-but-wary loner stuck with me throughout writing and I couldn’t be more grateful.

4. Daphne du Maurier
Nobody writes women like Daphne du Maurier. Strike that, nobody WRITES like Daphne du Maurier, and I’d be an idiot to try to, but she’s been a literary hero of mine ever since I devoured Rebecca as a teenager. Killing Rumer is nothing like that book (I mean, what is?), but it certainly inspired me to tackle writing in the first person, something I’ve never attempted before. If I failed, I blame Daphne.

5. Joan Jett
Alright, maybe not quite as ‘kooky cool’ as Stevie Nicks, but her song ‘Bad Reputation’ is anthemic for a reason (and not just because it’s the Freaks And Geeks theme tune). Those lyrics and that guitar really helped get me into ‘angry teenager’ mode for the book’s all-important flashbacks. Without them, Rumer wouldn’t be half as badass.

Pre-order your copy of Vicious Rumer here!

Hell’s belle

jessica-jonesThe inside line on Jessica Jones, Marvel’s second Netflix TV series…

INT. BAR – HELL’S KITCHEN. NIGHT. A dark-haired woman bowls inside just as a fight erupts. The bartender – big, imposing – trades blows with drunk patrons. The woman hurls a guy across a table. Breaks another guy’s hand. Within minutes, groaning bodies litter the floor. The woman and the bartender share a look, recognising that this isn’t exactly normal…

“I actually did punch somebody in the face by accident,” laughs Krysten Ritter, the dark-haired pugilist in question, chatting to Lounge six months after shooting that bar scrap on location in New York City. “I didn’t mean to, accidents happen! I punched a stunt guy, and I sent him a bottle of whisky to apologise. Honestly, I think he got a kick out of it. I feel like the stunt guys like it a little bit.”

That, or this stunt guy was understandably intimidated by Marvel’s latest superhero. After all, Jessica Jones isn’t somebody you mess with. Sarcastic, abrasive, always ready to throw a punch (or a barbed one-liner), she’s the star of the studio’s second Netflix TV series, which arrives in the wake of Daredevil’s acclaimed first season. Set in the same neighbourhood – Hell’s Kitchen – /Jessica Jones/ is equally as dark, following the titular private eye, an ex-superhero who snoops on behalf of freelance clients and sniffy attorney Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss). At least, that’s when she’s not drinking herself unconscious.

“Because of her dark past, she can really see the darkness in others,” explains showrunner Melissa Rosenberg (Dexter, Dark Skies). “What she’s lacking is the ability to see the good in people. She’s a pessimist by nature.” They’re characteristics drawn directly from Brian Michael Bendis’ R-rated 2001 comic, Alias, but Rosenberg also references Chinatown as a tonal touchstone for a show that trades in gorgeous noir imagery. It also fosters a foreboding sense of paranoia, not least when Jones is drawn into a case involving dangerous mind manipulator Kilgrave (David Tenant), who may hold the key to her traumatic past.

Rosenberg initially pitched the show to ABC back in 2010, when Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb gave her a copy of Alias, and she’d had her eye on Ritter to star ever since. Though Ritter was best known for comedies like Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23, her role as Jessie’s girlfriend in Breaking Bad proved she wasn’t all sweetness and light. “The Breaking Bad role was like, ‘Ooooh-kay, I get it, you’re dark. You can go deep,’” Rosenberg recalls. “The range that she displays in this show is just extraordinary.”

For Ritter, it was a no-brainer. After reading the script in secret (“Jeph Loeb locked me in a room, took away my cell phone”), she was struck by the strength of Rosenberg’s story, and in particular how different it was from Daredevil. “That show is super-violent and has a lot of fights and cool stunts and shit,” she says. “And Jessica Jones is a much more character-driven psychological thriller, where the violence is more psychological.”

“There’s a need for redemption, which is a very traditional, heroic drive,” adds Rosenberg, “but buried on top of that are so many wrong moves, so many mistakes and bad choices… It’s quite fun trying to get there.” Perhaps hindering more than helping Jones on her road to redemption is that imposing bartender, who just so happens to be Luke Cage (Mike Colter), another Marvel hero. Where Jones possesses superhuman strength, Cage seems almost indestructible.

“They’re opposites, yet they have the same fucking thing they can’t tell anybody about,” Ritter says. “They’re, in a way, the same person. I love their relationship. A lot of it exists in the quietness, in the subtext. And I love me some Mike Colter.”

Colter’s getting his own solo series next year (it’s currently shooting), but Jessica Jones is notable as the first female Marvel superhero to get her own series – and it’s also the first time a Marvel character has been brought to the screen by an almost entirely female team.

“Don’t mess it up!” laughs Rosenberg on how it feels to be the first woman in Marvel’s hitherto all-boys’ club. “It’s incredibly inspiring and I’m utterly delighted and honoured to be here! I think women have earned their place in the cannon, but it’s also a great deal of responsibility, which I know Krysten feels as well.”

Not half, though Ritter is more excited than nervous. “This is amazing in so many ways,” she enthuses. “It feels very groundbreaking, very exciting. I would love for a generation, the girls coming up behind me, to be inspired by this character. There can be strong, amazing female antiheroes and complex characters we can root for. Jessica Jones is so unique.”

While Jones will eventually team up with Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist in mini-series The Defenders, Lounge can’t help wondering how she’d react to meeting the Avengers. “I think she might think they’re a little full of themselves and a little glossy,” Rosenberg muses. And Ritter? “Erm… I can’t talk about any spoilers,” she says. This is about to get very interesting…

As featured in Total Film magazine.

Jeff Bridges: “Lebowski gave me my Beatles moment, man! It’s given me a lot of gifts.”


Whether sipping White Russians in The Big Lebowski or conjuring musical alchemy in Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges has spent six decades populating cinema with some of its most engaging characters. Born and raised in the shadow of the Hollywood Hills, Total Film discovers he’s still Tinsletown’s coolest Dude…

Words Josh Winning

“You want a drink, man?” asks Jeff Bridges, ambling over to a counter in a high-end Austin hotel room. “I’ll take a water just to have by me.” At 66 years old, the Oscar-winner’s reputation came into the room ahead of him. He’s “the nicest guy in Hollywood”. He’s part cowboy, part hippie, all Buddhist. Mostly he’s “The Dude”, the character he played in The Big Lebowski who became a pin-up for pre- and post-millennials just wanting to “hang loose, man”.

Meeting him in Austin’s trendy Rainey Street district, Total Film finds he’s all and none of these things. At the start of our 40-minute chat, he shakes our hand – not too soft, not too firm – and relaxes into a sofa, his back to the Colorado River (“I’ll let you take the view, man”), nonchalant but with eyes perpetually crinkled with curiosity. Having grown up in Hollywood, he carries an undeniable aura of glamour. His attire – knitted navy cardigan over a white shirt, jeans, comfy grey loafers – is up-market Dude, and he’s uncharacteristically clean-shaven, his famous unruly mane tamed into ear-grazing silver waves for Granite Mountain, the action film he’s currently shooting in New Mexico with director Joseph Kosinski (they met on Tron: Legacy).

“I kind of consider myself a product of nepotism as far as my career goes,” he shrugs. “My dad really encouraged my brother and I to get into acting, he loved it so much. So it’s hard for me to really think of life any other way. My life seems very normal to me, but I guess I do have kind of an inside view having grown up with all that stuff.”

Given his upbringing, it’s fitting that the film Bridges is promoting today – dusty drama Hell Or High Water, from Starred Up director David Mackenzie – hinges on family. As edge-of-retirement Texas Ranger Marcus, Bridges pursues two bank-robbing brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) across state, following a trail of dollar bills and bodies. Combustive, funny, sad, it’s about desperate people and family and life’s changing seasons, themes that have followed Bridges through a career that’s seen him lend heart to quirky dramas (Crazy Heart, The Fisher King), heft to action flicks (Tron, King Kong) and roguish charm whether playing a goodie (Starman, Thunderbolt And Lightfoot) or a baddie (The Vanishing, Iron Man).

Family, though, is the cornerstone of Bridges’ career. Married 39 years (to Susan Geston, whom he met while filming Rancho Deluxe in 1975), he worked with his veteran father Lloyd and brother Beau numerous times (The Fantastic Baker Boys, Hidden In America). When he won the Oscar for Crazy Heart in 2010, having been nominated five times over a 40-year period, he pointed his trophy to the ceiling and called, “Mom and Dad! Look!”

It’s this wholesome image that has earned him a place as one of America’s national treasures, and despite having over 80 credits to his name, he’s not looking to slow down any time soon – though he admits retirement is something he’s considered since his twenties. “I think a lot of people can relate to that idea,” he muses. “Having to leave behind the thing they’ve done all their lives…”

What did you find interesting about Marcus?

Texas Rangers are kind of the cream of the crop as far as law enforcement goes, but Marcus has reached the end of the line. As the movie begins, he’s just got a letter from the higher ups telling him it’s time to shut it down and retire. He’s spent his whole life doing this – getting the bad guys and solving crimes – and now it’s come down to this: one last hunt.

He’s a guy on the knife edge of retirement. Could you relate to that?

Yeah, I do think about that. Dependent on the day, my mind changes all the time… Making movies is funny, you use what I call a pretend muscle, you know, pretending to be somebody else, and that’s fun to do for a while, but then it gets fatigued, that muscle, and you think, I’ll kind of just lay it down. And other times, I think, “Gee what a wonderful profession, I can act as an old man on my death bed!” My dad, man [laughs]. I remember visiting him on the set of one of the Hot Shots on his 85th birthday and he’s swinging on a chandelier! He loved it and he turned all his kids onto making movies.

Hollywood is very much an industry, but you came into it through family. That must feel different…

Yeah, but I don’t know how unique it is. I would imagine all kinds of families and kids put on Christmas plays and stuff. We did a lot of that. A couple of my high points in movies I’ve made have been working with my father. My brother on The Fabulous Baker Boys, and I got to work with my dad on Tucker and a movie called Blown Away…

Did working with Beau on Fabulous Baker Boys make that a particularly special experience?

Oh yeah, oh that was like a dream come true. We’d be pinching ourselves. We had lunch together every day and pinched ourselves and said, “Can you believe we get to do this? Isn’t this great, man?”

Is your main memory of the film the fight scene that landed Beau in hospital?

Well now that you’ve mentioned that one, I remember that one, but there’s so many great memories from that movie. Working with Steve Kloves, that was his first movie, I think he wrote it when he was like 24 or something, directed it when he was 26 or 27. He went on to write all the Harry Potter screenplays. He was wonderful.

Back in the ’70s, despite films like Last Picture Show and Thunderbolt And Lightfoot, you didn’t become a movie star in the vein of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Do you feel you were doing something different to them?

I don’t know, it’s kind of a mystery, I don’t know what that’s all about. I had as much fame as I wanted; I never craved any more than what I was getting. I thought I’d been really lucky to work with all those wonderful directors and actors I’ve got to work with. I look back on the movies I’ve made and I say, “Wow, those are pretty good!”

The Last Picture Show was your first big break, but you’ve talked about feeling like an imposter. Did the Oscar nomination justify your career to you?

No, not really. It’s funny, like most kids, you don’t want to do what your parents want you to do. You wanna do your own thing, and you don’t want to get a job just because of who your father is, so I had a lot of resistance to that thing. I was interested in music. My dad would say, “Oh no Jeff, don’t be ridiculous, acting is so great, one day you’ll get to /play/ a musician!”

And he was right, you played a musician in Crazy Heart and won the Oscar…

That’s right! Absolutely. I’m glad I listened to the old man!

So what convinced you to pursue acting instead of music?

I made a movie called The Last American Hero about Junior Johnson, the stock car racer, and like after ever movie, I was saying, “I’m gonna retire, I want to do something different.” I got a call from my agent who says, “I’ve got great news for you, John Frankenheimer wants you to play a part in The Iceman Cometh,” this would be with Frederick March and Lee Marvin and Robert Ryan! I thought, “Huh, well, I am bushed but… maybe I’ll use this as a little experiment and see if I’m built for this.” I had most of my scenes with Robert Ryan who’s a wonderful actor. After that experience I said, “Oh yeah, this is something I can do.”

Were you pleased with how the film turned out?

When I look back on it I didn’t particularly like my performance or anything like that, but the life experience was really very rich. I really enjoyed it. It’s a great profession. I just love it so much, but I love it and I hate it, too. It’s the gamut, it takes me through all the emotions. There are so many things that… Fear! You know. You deal with fear all the time. That’s what these old guys, you see Frederick March concerned with getting it right. [screws up face] “Uuuuuughh!’” Wanting to do the material justice, all this weird psychic pain, it’s hard to describe. I love to talk about it with other actors; they get it! You get pissed man, when you’re not quite… it’s not coming through right.

Is there a lot of pressure to deliver as an actor?

It’s a weird thing. One of the gifts of acting is that you’re not doing it alone; you’re doing it with all these different people, so every once in a while there’s this transcendence that happens. You have high expectations and the thing that you imagined as good, it is better because of all these other talents putting their fairy dust on it.

So with Crazy Heart, was it particularly rewarding winning the Oscar for two things you love: acting and music?

Yeah, and talking about fear, that’s a great example of exactly what I’m talking about. Here you get, what a blessing, getting to play a musician, and not only that, but have my dear friend T Bone Burnett do all the music. And the downside of that is, “Yeah, but what happens if I can’t do it? Maybe in the dream it’s safe because it’s just in the dream realm, but once you start to make it real, am I gonna drop the ball or be able to do it?”

You definitely caught the ball with The Dude in The Big Lebowski. Is he a character you relate to?

Ah, maybe so. That’s the starting place for all the characters I play, is myself. I guess the first thing is the script and then you get the character, but I’m always thinking about the parallels between myself and the character and what I can use and what I want to kick to the kerb, what aspects I want to magnetise and magnify a little bit. So that’s the approach I take for most of the characters I play.

How did the part of The Dude come along?

I remember a couple of years before we made The Big Lebowski, the Coens said, “We’re writing something for you,” and I said, “Oh great, great!” Then I got it and I said, “What the hell is this?! This is like nothing I’ve ever done before! How did they know that side of me? Did they crash some high school party I was in and base [it on that]?” But there are quite a few aspects of The Dude that I share. I remember Mary Zophres was the costumer; she came over to my house and I said, “Well, let’s go up to my closet, there might be some stuff in there.” She’s picking out the jelly shoes, those are mine! Different T-shirts… So I guess I got a lot of Dude in me, what the hey.

Then you wrote the book about The Dude’s philosophy with Bernie Glassman…

Oh yeah, now that… When the film originally came out, it was a bigger hit in Europe and then splashed back on our shores and now there are all these festivals. My buddy who’s a zen master, Bernie Glassman, he said to me, “You don’t realise that The Dude in many Buddhist circles is considered a zen master.” I said, “What the fuck are you talking about, man?” He says, “In the movie there are all these koans.” You know what a koan is? They’re like questions, the famous one is, “What’s the sound of one hand clapping?” that kind of thing. So he says, “’The Dude abides’ is a very Buddhist concept!’ And ‘Shut the fuck up Donny’, that’s a kind of a koan.” Then he says, “Look at the directors! The Koan brothers!” [laughs] So anyway, he said, “Let’s write a book,” so I said, “OK,” and we wrote this book called The Dude And The Zen Master. It was a lot of fun!

Did The Dude teach you anything?

Heck! More after the movie! It’s sure given me a lot of stuff, that movie. It’s given me a lot of gifts. My band is named The Abiders! You know? We played at LebowskiFest. Not in costume, but to a sea of Dudes and bowling pins. Lebowski gave me my Beatles moment, man! “NOW, The Dude!” [laughs and makes a crowd sound] It was pretty great.

You were at Marvel in 2008 with Iron Man, which kickstarted the MCU. Did you get a special feeling on that?

First of all I think that movie came out so great; it’s my favourite superhero movie, I guess I’m partial! But the making of that movie was so fascinating. Jon Favreau, the director, he ran such a great ship. He’s such a talented guy and of course [Robert] Downey [Jr.], those two guys, they made it just a wonderful, unique kind of experience.

Is it true the script got thrown out just before shooting began?

We had a couple of weeks rehearsal and we didn’t like the script too much. We rehearsed for two weeks and we rewrote. Then about a day or so before we were gonna start shooting, the Marvel guy said, “Oh no, none of this is working,” and threw it all out. I started to really get upset because the way I work, my method is, you learn the lines. The play is the thing! So you’re kind of lost at sea, sort of.

How did you work around that?

We would literally show up… Often, all the crew would be in the sound stage waiting for us to write the scene! We’d be in my trailer there with Jon Favreau, Downey, the suits, Marvel guys, all the suits in there trying to figure out the scene… Jon calling writer friends, saying, “What do you think about this?” I mean, we would swap roles; Downey would play my side and I’d play his, trying to come up with stuff. We’d be in there a couple of hours and finally come out and do the thing!

Was it tough working that way?

I was so frustrated until I finally made a little shift in my mind that made all the difference. Which was, “Jeff, just relax, you’re making a $200m student film. Have fun! Go back to when you were making movies with your family, just play!” I was like, “Oh, of course.” And then I just kind of let it go and like I said, Jon Favreau was so suited to do this thing because he was able to not blow it, with all these suits wanting different things. He was so relaxed and that was kind of a contagious feeling around the thing. Of course you had Downey who was a great improviser and so perfect for that part. It worked out well.

Talking of comic-book movies, is it true you came close to playing Batman for Tim Burton?

I don’t think so! I don’t know anything about that. I heard that with Raiders Of The Lost Ark, too. It’s not true!

Iron Man must’ve provided an interesting gauge for how technology has changed, having been in Tron in 1982. Were they two totally different experiences?

Totally different, totally different. The original Tron was shot in black and white, 70mm, hand-tinted by these ladies in Korea. And then the sequel, Tron: Legacy, I got literally scanned into a computer, it felt like something right out of the original film, when the computer scans me. Now I’m in there and they can do whatever they want with me. I was a little upset with the rendition of [my younger version], I looked a bit like [comedian] Bill Maher. Whenever my character came on, I said, “Hmm, Bill Maher, what’s he doing in the show?” They’ll probably get that down better and that’ll be the end of the acting profession. They’ll be able to say, “We’ll put a little Bridges, a little De Niro, get some Josh Brolin in there,” stir it up and come up with a completely different person.

With the sci-fi genre you’ve had as many hits as misses. Do you take it personally when a movie doesn’t do well?

[long pause] I don’t know if I should answer that question. It’s not so much what the public thinks as, I mentioned every once in a while you do a movie that’ll transcend all your highest expectations, but then also the reverse will happen, where you do a movie and say, “Wow, we had a great time, it’ll be good!” and then it’s much lower. They chose all the worst takes, the suits got in there and said, “Oh no,” and the director, they kick him to the kerb.

That happened with RIPD, didn’t it?

We had a great time doing that movie. The director was terrific, then they kicked him to the kerb and they cut it and just screwed up the whole thing! So that’s disappointing. Usually when the movies come out and how they do, it’s almost like a horse race, “The horses are at the gate!” There’s this kind of excitement and you’re rooting for your horse, but most often, as is the case now, I’m working on another movie, so most of my attention is on that.

Is it weird to see franchises like King Kong and Tron coming back decades after you worked on them?

That’s kinda cool in a way. Doing Last Picture Show and then 20 years later we got the same group together with Peter Bogdanovich and the story continues. Larry McMurtry, who’s one of our great writers, he’s got three more books in that series, those characters, so I’m hoping to do those again. There’s something great about being able to extend it. And it also kind of plays into the whole Hollywood thing now of the sure bet, what worked, let’s do it again. There’s two sides to that coin.

Has Hollywood changed a lot since you stepped into the industry?

Quite a bit, yeah. I remember working on Last Picture Show, it was a great outfit that financed our movie called BBS. They had that independent spirit and support of the directors giving their vision, you know… Unique vision was really more prevalent back in those days. Nowadays you got these $200m movies, but you also have almost like the reaction to that, you got a movie like Tangerine, have you seen that? Wasn’t that great? On the iPhone? That’s really cool, man! Or you know Starred Up… I remember that film Once, do you remember that movie? You gotta see that, it’s a great movie.

Small, independent, skin of its teeth filmmaking was integral to your father’s career, as well as yours. Is that something you enjoy being a part of?

Yeah, I do. The main thing that drew me to Hell Or High Water was David McKenzie and seeing Starred Up, do you know that film? What he did with that movie for that little bit of budget that he had to work with, the goods he came up with… It was pretty terrific. I loved working with him, he was great. But yeah that kind of independent movie is wonderful to make. I mean, it’s fun making both big multi-million, $200m, there’s some fun there. Try to have as much as fun always as I can! But these kinda movies… the stories are so terrific, usually. The big budget movies, there’s some kind of formula that they’re working or something like that. Smaller movies are more unique.

Do you find yourself looking back at what you’ve achieved?

Yeah I do that. A couple of things come to mind. My stand-in, Loyd Catlett, we’ve done over 60 movies together, I think that’s a record. We met on Last Picture Show in ’69-’70, whenever we shot that thing and he’s here right now. He’s like a through line through all of those experiences and, unlike me, he’s got a pretty good memory. I can say, “What was that guy’s name? Oh yeah, remember that?” So we relive a lot of the adventures that we’ve had. And also I take photographs. I got this camera called a Widelux that’s a panning still camera and I’ve been doing that since Starman, I guess, taking pictures and making books for the cast and crew. So those books, I’ve got those on my shelf. Whenever I think, “Baker Boys! Let’s relive that, let’s see…” It’s just like looking at home movies. And it’s not somebody else’s home movie, it’s right from my point of view! Where I was. It really snaps me back.

Featured in Total Film magazine.