Actors sometimes take keepsakes from their sets — an outfit their character wore, or a cool prop.
But after starring in a movie that turned out to be a colossal failure and almost ruined its studio, Jeff Bridges thought bigger.
Bridges starred in the now-infamous 1980 Michael Cimino movie “Heaven’s Gate,” an over-three-hour epic that looks at the Johnson County War in Wyoming. When filming wrapped in Montana, Cimino offered up the whorehouse set, known as the Hog Ranch, to his cast.
Bridges jumped at the chance to own the fake whorehouse.
“Every couple of years we’ll watch the movie and it’s like watching home movies, seeing the ranch on-screen,” Bridges told Business Insider recently while doing press for his new movie “Hell or High Water” (out Friday).
Bridges went into a little more detail about the purchase back in 2010:
“We disassembled the buildings, numbered the logs, put them on a flatbed truck, and drove 200 miles south to my and [wife] Susan’s ranch.
“Since that time we’ve added to the buildings a bit, but the core of the main house is built around the Hog Ranch. The bullet holes [from the film] are still in the walls.”
The Hog Ranch was a major location for the movie. The main character, James Averill (Kris Kristofferson), had a relationship with the house’s madam, Ella (Isabelle Huppert). It’s also the setting at the end of the movie when Bridges’ character John and Ella are killed. The gunmen riddle the log cabin with bullets.
The movie went on to become a box-office disaster that went down in the history books, earning only $3.4 million on a $44 million budget (a large chunk of money back in 1980).
Cimino, best known for the classic “The Deer Hunter,” passed away in early July of this year. Bridges also worked with the director on “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.”
Though Bridges admits he hadn’t talked to Cimino in years before his death, he believes “Heaven’s Gate” has finally become accepted by audiences.
“He got a bad rap on ‘Heaven’s Gate,'” Bridges told us. “That movie, people are appreciating it more and more as time goes on.”
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