Demian Bichir talks about “The Bridge” Season 2

THE BRIDGE -- Pictured: Demian Bichir as Marco Ruiz -- CR: Kurt Iswarienko/FX

“The Bridge” returns for a 2nd season on FX.  The story centers around Mexican detective Marco Ruiz played by Demian Bichir and El Paso detective Sonya Night played by Diane Kruger as they join forces to find a serial killer menacing both nations along the Bridge Of Americas at the Texas-Chihuahua border.  It premieres on July 9, Wed. 10/9c on FX.

Demian Bichir is an Oscar nominated actor with a notable career that spans decades.  During a set visit, the talented Demian Bichir met with journalists and bloggers to talk about the second season of “The Bridge”.

The Bridge promo poster

Demian Birchir had his first acting role at the age of 3 at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City.  Both his parents Alejandro Bichir and Maricruz Nájera and both brothers Odiseo and Bruno are actors in Mexico.   At the age of 14, he was cast in one of many telenovelas, followed by numerous films.  He went on to win the Ariel Award (Mexican equivalent of the Oscars) for “Sexo, Pudor y Lagrimas”, breaking box-office records in Mexican cinema.  His role as a Mexican gardener in ” A Better Life” earned him an Academy Award nomination for best actor.  He was the first Mexican actor to receive this honor since Anthony Quinn.

Demian Birchir Oscar nominee

Can you talk about Marco on season 2?

It is darker and it goes deeper into the emotional and psychological aspect of the characters.  After losing everything he had including his dead son, it is hard to recover from that, so marco’s situation is really down.  so it is like that, esp. for marco.  but I think in terms of the character, it goes deeper into their own feelings and in the emotional ride.

Marco has always had pent up aggression, and now we’re starting to see some of that come out when he beat another person.  Will we see more of that?

One of things I established in season 1 is he’s a good cop but he’s no angel.  He knows where is he working.  He’s in a very difficult environment to try to do the right thing.  He’s really bad with anyone who is not right, or who’s an obstacle for Marco to do the right thing.

You don’t see Marco doing those type of things to good people.  We will see that in season 2.  Someone has tried to kill him from his own team and that is not good news for anyone.  But he is very smart, because he could have done that in an alley alone, but he needs to salvage that message as soon as possible in front of anyone so everyone knows that he knows, so whoever pointed a gun at his neck knows they have to play smarter than that if they want me dead.  It’s only a natural reaction when things don’t work the way justice make things work.

You will see Marco because he’s a real human being.  I believe in those type of characters.  I like those type of characters.  Characters that are not black or white.  I believe in different tonalities. That is how we human beings are. We can be fantastic people or horrible, all in the same day.  We will see if they make Marco mad.

Marco & Sonya interacts

Can you comment on the evolution of your character with Sonya? Sometimes you look at her with amusement and affection.  Could you comment on how the relationship evolves during this season?

We ended up in a really difficult place last season because Marco considered that she didn’t let him take care of & finish the guy who killed his son.  He takes that personally against Sonya.  iIn season 1, Marco understands why she did it.  There are no hard feelings on Marco’s side.  I think one of the great things about these two characters is that they pretty much work the same way the US & Mexico works.  It is clear how the analogy is established and how different we are and how much we need each other and how important we stop pointing fingers at each other blaming one another and work with one another on problems we  share.

We will see how much we respect each other.  I think you can say that we care for each other.  I’m not sure if we actually love each other but we respect each other’s work and we can count on the other.  However, Sonya will be having issues with trusting Marco truly or not because how Marco plays his own cards.  He needs to do that in a place like this particular border in a state like Chihuahua or city like Juarez.  So many problems going on.  You need to be able to play with demons and angels at the same time in order to get things done.  That will create some suspicions on Sonya’s side.

Your brother Bruno Birchir  is guest starring in season 2.  How is that like working with your brother?

It’s incredible!  Two of finest actors I know are my brothers.   Bruno is one of them.  We have done many things together ever since we started acting.  One of first things we did in English was for NBC “Choices In the Heart” directed by Joseph Sargent with Melissa Gilbert. I was 19 at that point. Bruno was playing another role there.  I got that part.  I memorized the whole thing phonetically. I didn’t know what I was saying.  I was very relaxed so that’s probably how I got it because they thought I was cool.  It was first time we worked in English.

Then there was Ireland.  I remember  looking at the Atlantic Ocean, and next stop was New York.  We were standing at the ocean laughing.  I thought, “Did you ever think growing up in Mexico, in the barrio playing soccer, going with my parents wherever they perform in the theatre company when we were kids, that this day would come where we are actually working together?” I remember when we were “acting” in English.   It was like something really far away.

Bruno came last year to the premiere of “The Bridge”.  That’s when Elwood saw him.  He met everyone.  He said “I love your brother’s face.  Let’s write something for him.”  You hear so many BS all the time.  A year later, voila he actually wrote something! It was great that Bruno could come over here.  It is the first time we have done tv together.  We did many films and theatre together.

It must be an amazing trip for my parents to see that this thing that they loved, called theatre, acting, that their three kids are doing it.  It’s a privilege to have my brother in the same show and be able to play together.  I don’t have many scenes with rest of the cast.  I regret that because we have a fantastic cast.   It’s a shame.  I love futbol (soccer).  It is like that.  Who do you play with?  I’m only as good as the rest of my team.   I like tennis.  Your game reaches a different level when you have a fantastic player with you.  It’s been like that here.  I’m really grateful for that.

Demian and Bruno

I want to talk about the evolution of Marco compared from this season to last season.  Is there any nuances put into the character?

When you create a character, there’s a lot behind it.  We actors like to change as much possible from one character to another.  We always feel those certain specific characters, your physicality.  I gained 35 pounds twice for 2 different characters before.  It is hard for me to lose that weight but I’ve done it a couple times because we needed that.  then you have to shape up a character not only physically but emotionally.  Tricky part about tv is finishing that, and recovering it when  everyone says guess what? We got season 2!

There is a mourning period where we kill a character, then put it away.  We give it time to heal.  Sutures have to go in but nobody tells us how to get out.  You always think best scenario is to have a new canvas.  A new painting.  Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t.  When you finish the season, you do’t know what’s going to happen next.  So when they offered me the pilot, those 30 days were it.  that’s all I had.  That’s all I could see and work. When they order then 2nd season, you have to go back into that frame of mind.  4 months, 13 episodes.  Then you finish it; then you go home.

I go do my scene by scene, day by day.  1st thing I do is that I count everything Marco represents.  Then I let everything grow.  beard, hair.  That’s part of the healing process.  then they say let’s pic it up again. It was hard the 1st 2 wks.  I couldn’t find it in my house.  I looked in every drawer.  It’s difficult.  It’s hard.  I had a long beard and when I had meeting with the writing staff & Elwood. he said “it’s perfect”.  i said it’s a good place for Marco to begin because he’s taken this fall which is understandable.  If you don’t know anything and you don’t know what’s going to happen.  you don’t have a line or an arc.  i find the character is already working again, but then i realize he’s working again,so everything changes again.  You have to play with all these things. For example in “Breaking Bad” he begins with hair then later he shaves his hair due to chemotherapy.  that changes the physicality of this character.

The only thing I pursued that we were thinking about is that Marco stops smiling.  All those things of Marco being witty and cynic, that stuff, we can’t show that anymore.  He barely smiles.  The only time he smiles is when he talks with a group of kids at school.  Those kids represent purest form of human beings. He doesn’t have any more reasons to smile anymore. That’s pretty much what’s different.

Marco Ruiz screenshot

How does hair and makeup department contribute to your day?

I think we have the best group in every department.  We have such a great team.   I have been able to shoot many places in the world –  Mexico, Colombia, Ireland.   We have one of the best.  One of our ladies in makeup and hair are fantastic.  I’m a little bit boring because I ask to see if I could do my own thing because it is how I connect right away with my character.  What you see is what I live with for months.  It’s such a short amount of time so I don’t want to be disconnected.   I need to get a hold of everything in order to connect sooner and better.  That’s one of things I do.  They always make sure I do it right.

Do you think there is much of a difference in working in tv in Mexico versus the United States?

TV is a different animal which requires a different training.  It’s the same game and same rules but different positions.  Training must be different.  TV has its own difficulties and challenges.  It is kind of different when you think of Mexico. I think we have more time here in the US.  Film is same anywhere.  Depending on (tv) budget you have, you have a couple extra hours to get it right.

Demian and Diane screenshot

Recently the show won a Peabody Award for excellent portrayal of both sides the border.  What do you think sets this show apart?

I think we are brave enough to be straightforward.  We talk about many issues we share.  As I said before, making one country good and other other bad.  We talk about the responsibility we share.  In season 1, whenever we talk about human trafficking or weapons, we talk about both sides of the border.  How everyone has much responsibility.  When we talk about violence, we talk about two countries, not just one.  When we talk about corruption it is the same way.  I think that takes you away from issues of stereotypes.  I don’t think one place is better than the other.

Everyone says Mexico is very dangerous.  “I won’t go to Mexico for vacation.”  It’s called organized crime because they are well organized. They know where money is and they know you are a tourist. Everyone keeps talking about the violence and how dangerous it is, but up until now, no one in Mexico entered a movie theatre or an elementary school and killed kids.  I don’t really know which is more dangerous.  That’s difficult to happen in Mexico.  There is a war going on between cartels and the federal government.  That is a reality.  We have our own issues.  That is where “The Bridge” is brave and fearless as FX calls themselves, because we have been afraid of talking about issues the way it is.

!Muchas gracias Demian!

Demian Birchir headshot

Every body is connected.  “The Bridge” premieres on July 9, Wednesday at 10/9c on FX!

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Twitter:  @TheBridgeFX

Courtesy of FX