The Dude still abides in Jeff Bridges, whose 1998 film The Big Lebowski is due on DVD Oct. 18.
Among the DVD extras is a photo you took of the film-makers kneeling by a toilet. Please explain.
I was very concerned that I would break my teeth when my head gets hurled into a porcelain toilet bowl. That's the Coen brothers [the directors] working on that problem.
Why has your slacker-stoner character, the Dude, become such an icon?
A fella who accepts himself and is relaxed into who he is--that appeals to people. And his relationship with John Goodman's Vietnam vet--you wouldn't think they would ever be friends. Somehow the fact that they are gives hope to the world.
Have you any Dude-like qualities?
A lot of those clothes are mine. Those jellies, those plastic sandals.
Have you been to any of the Lebowski Fests, where fans obsess about the film?
I went to one in L.A. and played some tunes. It was amazing performing to a sea of Dudes.
As a dad, did you fret about playing a pothead?
I talked to my family about this. My daughter said, "Dad, you're an actor. It's make-believe." I guess drugs are lightweight compared to seeing your dad kiss other women.
You've been called Hollywood's most under-appreciated actor. Do you feel that?
Never have, no. I've always felt pretty well stroked.