Fox Searchlight threw a slate-promoting holiday party early this evening at Soho’s recently opened Crosby Street Hotel. Attending talent included the Crazy Heart team — Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, director-writer Scott Cooper — and Fantastic Mr. Fox director Wes Anderson. I got some face time with all four plus prolific screenwriter Ron Bass, with whom I discussed college experiences, sons and hallucinogens.

Crazy Heart star Jeff Bridges holding court in Crosby Street Hotel lounge — Friday,12.11, 6:10 pm.

I also discussed drug adventures with Bridges, who partially based his acclaimed performance as Bad Blake on his own bad-boy history (which happened in either the ’70s or ‘early ’80s or both). He also pigged out two months before shooting began, eating mostly greasy high-calorie foods, and drank a little more than usual and got into smoking, etc.

Bridges performance is “honestly scuzzy…his best since The Big Lebowski but tonally opposite and much harder hitting, of course,” I wrote on 11.13. “He really swan-dives into the toilet. No sweeteners, no movie-star charm moments, no winking…except when he’s on-stage. The fact that Bridges doesn’t seem to be ‘acting’ is what makes it great acting.”

I had to compete a little bit for Bridges’ attention with a very fetching CNN segment producer sitting to his right. She wore an alluring black and white dress with a red scarf and red-suede boots. I can be a fairly spry conversationalist and managed to steer Bridges away for brief discussions of the late Harry Nilsson, the Santa Barbara Film Festival and the old Chez Jay restaurant in Santa Monica, but the segment producer…

Cooper and I discussed cinematography, mostly. Having never gone to film school, he educated himself in the look of ’70s movies, which he wanted Crazy Heart to resemble. He sank into a slew of ’70s films (Terrence Malick‘s Badlands, etc.) and took it from there. I told him I’m a huge fan of the look and pacing of Crazy Heart, but that I’m doubly impressed by the fact that Cooper doesn’t seem to be advertising to the audience how visually clever or gifted he was — he knows enough to stay out of the way of the story (which is based on Thomas Cobb‘s book and partly, Cooper said, on his hard-living grandfather).

Anderson and I mostly talked about the pleasures of Paris (he lives in Montparnasse), his girlfriend’s newly purchased home in Kent, England, and the prospect of hosting several guests, my liking of his screenplay adaptation of Patrice Leconte‘s My Best Friend, called The Rosenthaler Suite. It’s just a script for hire, he said. But you’ve really made it your own and it’s really good, I said. Yeah, he said, but I’m not sure what my next film will be.

I took two snaps of Wes and his brother, Eric Chase Anderson, and for some reason the auto-focus function failed both times.

Crazy Heart director-writer Scott Cooper — ditto, 6:35 pm.