“I know nothing” veteran actor Jeff Goldblum says in the trailer for his Emmy-nominated Disney/National Geographic series, The World According To Jeff Goldblum, and that’s the kind of into-the-fire mentality the veteran actor (Independence Day, Jurassic Park, The Fly, The Big Chill, and on and on) brings to his popular show, where he dips into topics ranging from sneakers to food to fireworks to dogs and so on. Now in its second season, Mr. Goldblum is taking on a topic close to my heart – motorcycles and the people that ride them – in a new episode that will premier January 19th on the Disney Plus streaming service. He took some time recently to talk to Forbes.com by phone about the episode and series – and his history with motorcycles.
Goldblum told me that he doesn’t own a motorcycle, but it’s also not entirely new territory for him. Very early in his storied film career, he had to ride one – a doozy of one – in the seminal Robert Altman movie Nashville. It was the mid-1970s, and Goldblum, all of about 20 years old, had a small but important part in the movie: to tool around the music city on a white, wide-body trike with a hugely choppered-out front end while wearing an outfit that, even for the 70s, was pushing it. You can see him riding it for a quick second in the Nashville trailer below at the 1:34 mark (and those shades!).
Auteur Altman once said Goldblum’s part as the weirdly dressed guy on the motorcycle is a key part of the “connective tissue” of the ensemble movie, despite the fact he has essentially no lines. So it’s not fair to say that Goldblum hasn’t ridden before, and he clearly had fond memories of his riding role as a scene stealer in the film. Before the film, Goldblum said he was not a motorcycle rider, but he took a riding test and then headed out to do the movie, only to find out during filming that he had failed the test. He kept riding anyway. “It was a great experience, I loved being on the bike and all that,” he said, even though he also had to learn to drive a stick-shift transmission since his trike used a car engine (likely a VW motor, as was common at the time).
In the World episode, Goldblum initially meets up with a group riding meeting up to display some elaborate custom motorcycles and eventually gets some seat time with Black Girls Ride CEO Porsche Taylor on her touring bike. He then turns some wheels in the dirt with another group of women riders who get him going on a dirt bike. “I was thrilled to ride with them and be taught by them,” he said. Sharp-eyed viewers will also see that a Zero electric motorcycle also gets a few moments on the screen.
And as the show wraps up, Jeff is back in the saddle once again – on a Harley trike, coming full circle to his trike time decades ago. So why motorcycles as a topic? “I was kind of fascinated with them early on,” Goldblum said, especially after a family member gave him a ride as a teenager. Does he want one now? Goldblum said not really, although he was curious about the new crop of electric bikes now available.
An electric trike can’t be far behind.