A little known Tinseltown tidbit about actor Beau Bridges: He was born Lloyd Vernet Bridges III two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was given the nickname Beau by his parents after Ashley Wilkes’ son in Gone with the Wind. Over the years, Bridges has moved easily between large screen and small in movies (The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Descendants) and television (most recently in the mini-series Lessons in Chemistry). Now Bridges is starring in a new low-budget, independent film, Camera, partially shot in Morro Bay. Camera is an official selection in this year’s SLO International Film Festival; it screens at the Fremont Theater on Monday, April 29, at 3:30 p.m., followed by a Q&A with Bridges and director/producer Jay Silverman. Bridges talked with me about his involvement in the movie and what keeps him acting at age 82.

David Congalton: What was your initial reaction to the script for Camera?

Beau Bridges:  Well-written and conceived and, you know, it’s about important things in life—redemption and forgiveness and it has at its core real heart and soul. There is the whole idea about family, not in the traditional sense, but of coming together, these two strangers, different generations, who are basically lost souls and they come into contact with each other, find a common ground, and they become like a family. It’s a really uplifting tale that I think people will enjoy.

DC:  The young boy playing Oscar (Miguel Gabriel) doesn’t say a word in the entire movie, but you have multiple scenes with him. How did you find a connection to his character when he couldn’t speak?

BB: I have five kids myself and six grandchildren, all around Miguel’s age. I really enjoy being around young people. As actors, what we do is “playtime.” You’re in there with a young person, so I messed around a lot with Miguel. I teased him. I joked with him. I used to say he had it easy because he had no lines.

DC: Whatever you did must have worked.

BB: We had a lot of fun and that takes the pressure off of trying to act. You don’t have much time on an independent film to get things right. When you have fun, that makes everything a lot easier.

DC: This was your first time working with director Jay Silverman. Were you on the same page from the beginning?

BB:  When I first met with Jay, I told him what I tell most directors, which is I want to help him achieve his vision. That’s how I see myself as an actor—I’m paint in his hands and I wanted to make sure I understood what he’s trying to accomplish. So, yes, I think we were in agreement all along about how to approach Eric, my character.

DC: Put a plug in for the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. You’ve been to a lot of these kinds of events over the years—why should people come to our festival?

BB: They should especially come because it’s in San Luis Obispo, which is a fantastic town to explore. I was just there last week visiting wineries and having a great time. Now throw in a bunch of really interesting movies and you have a unique experience.

DC: You and director Jay Silverman will both be at the Fremont Theater on Monday (April 29) at 3:30 p.m. for the festival screening, followed by a Q&A.

BB: Yes, and I’m looking forward to that. It was a real joyful experience making this movie. The cast and crew were wonderful. It was great working with Bruce Davison, who has been nominated for an Academy Award.

DC: What happens to Camera after this film festival?

BB: The movie is going to be released in the U.S. and Canada on July 17, followed by multiple platforms in Europe. We’re going international.

DC: You’re now 82 years old. You’ve had this incredible career in both movies and television. So why do you keep working? Why not enjoy all the children and grandchildren?

BB: (laughing) Because I really like what I do, of being part of the storytelling community. It’s a real blessing and I like what I do. That’s really the truth of it.

:: David Congalton

Editor’s Note: This interview was edited for length and clarity.