Call him the Dude. That or his Dudeness, Duder or el Duderino -- if you're not into the whole brevity thing. Addressing Jeff Dowd -- the real life inspiration for Jeff Bridges' character in "The Big Lebowski" -- is not a formal affair. But as the cult of the Coen brothers' 1998 mistaken identity comedy has grown, so has Dowd's fame. The 55-year-old film producer first met Joel and Ethan Coen when he helped promote their 1984 debut, "Blood Simple." The Coens decided the large, boisterous Dowd, who referred to himself as "the Dude," would yield endless possibilities if inserted into a genre film -- a Los Angeles film noir. Jake Coyle speaks with Dowd in AP.