Bridges' dance card is full

Last updated 05:00 03/12/2013
Beau Bridges
NO STRANGER TO THE TWERK: The Millers' Beau Bridges

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Three celebrities who twerk: Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Beau Bridges. It's a surprising confession from 71-year-old Bridges, who did the hip-shaking dance move for a scene in his new comedy series, The Millers.

"I had seen it a lot, you know, people twerking on TV, but I thought, ‘Oh, no - I have to twerk', so I went home and asked my wife Wendy if she knew how to twerk . . . and she says, ‘Come with me' and she takes me into the bathroom in front of our big mirror. I could not believe it - my wife can twerk. She twerked her head off, and I got into it, and it helped me a lot because then the next day I had to go [to work] and twerk."

But the dance will not become a regular pastime for Bridges; twerking is hard work. "I almost hurt myself, I mean, you've gotta be careful because it's all those hips and everything."

Bridges was putting his body on the line for his character, Tom. The Millers depicts a family living in close quarters after Tom and Carol Miller (Margo Martindale) divorce and move in with their grown children - Tom with Debbie (Jayma Mays) and Carol with Nathan (Will Arnett).

From this unexpected start the series follows Debbie and Nathan as they navigate these new living arrangements, while Tom and Carol start life afresh. For Tom, this means learning how to use the remote control and microwave - something Bridges can empathise with to a certain degree: "In my own household, my family, they say if I touch anything technical or mechanical it's going to fall apart."

The Millers is a multi-camera show filmed in front of a live audience each week and Bridges is adapting to the challenges that come with the format.

"We're not doing it perfect in front of the people and we all love mistakes. It's like the old slipping on a banana peel, so they wait there for us to make a boo-boo and they love it.

"That took getting used to for me because I've done a lot of theatre in my life and I like to be perfect when I come before the audience. I want to get it as best as I can," he says.

"In the beginning it was upsetting to me but then I realised that they were laughing, so I went, ‘well, I'm not going to take it seriously myself'."

Bridges is known for his work across film, television and theatre and has nearly 200 screen acting credits. He starred in films The Fabulous Baker Boys with brother Jeff; Kissinger and Nixon as former president Richard Nixon; and more recently in The Descendants. It's a double whammy for Bridges this year as he's also currently in SoHo's Masters of Sex.

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Since his first credited role in 1948 (in comedy No Minor Voices) there have been significant technological changes to the film and television industries that Bridges has embraced.

"It's an exciting time to be a storyteller, which is basically the way I see myself in the tradition of people sitting around a campfire telling a story.

"I remember the first excitement of going to see the first television show, which I think was The Lone Ranger. There was only one kid in the neighbourhood who had a TV and we all flocked over to his house and now, of course, we've got the internet, people watching shows on their phone - that was like some kind of outer space fantasy when I was a kid and here it is in my lifetime."

The Millers, 9.35pm, Sundays, Prime.

- Wellington

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