“The Bridge” finally had its season finale “Jubilex” yesterday. Season 2 was darker and grittier. It deviated from the original Bridge series and took chances on being more than just a serial killer story. Evil continued to abound in both in the US and across the border in Mexico. It is an imperfect world where people want the unreachable perfect solution. Let me take you back to June 26 when I had the lovely opportunity to visit the set and chat with creator Elwood Reid and cast members Demien Bichir, Diane Kruger, Matthew Lilliard, Emily Rios, and Nathan Phillips. The interviews of Demian, Diane, and Matthew were posted to top off the beginning of season 2. To mark the end of season 2, I got a chance to talk with Elwood, Emily, and Nathan during a roundtable with other reporters and bloggers. Links to Demien, Diane’s, and Matthew’s interviews are below.
ELWOOD REID – Creator/writer/executive producer
Showrunner Elwood Reid (“Cold Case”, “Hawaii Five O”) has enjoyed a successful career in tv. From college football to carpentry in Alaska to becoming showrunner of a hit tv show, this American novelist, television and short-story writer has been keeping busy. Elwood continues to bring stories to life through tv. . .
Congratulations on your show!
Thank you. It’s a different show, not a serial killer show. It has its plusses and minuses. If the show is gong to survive multiple seasons, we need to open it up more.
Did you know that from the get go?
I knew in between seasons we would have to do that. I was nervous how to do that. because the easy thing to do is to continue copying the original. If you’re on FX, you really have to push the narrative because all those shows are narratively pushed.
Your background is “Hawaii Five O” and “Cold Case”, so you’re used to that.
Yes, I was a novelist and I was a developer for a few years. And then I started staffing. Especially with FX, they are not afraid to push things. When you work with a network like that, why not take that chance.
Why did you want to take it a darker, grittier avenue?
It can do well. If you have more characters, you have to open that world up. Every week, you jump into this cool world. Unseen worlds. That’s where you’re going to get your stories versus the f***ed up case. It’s just repositioning the storytelling.
EMILY RIOS – “Adriana Mendez”
Mexican-American actress Emily (“Breaking Bad”, “Quinceanera”, “Friday Night Lights”) was first discovered by a talent scout at an early age. After appearing in the short film “For Them”, this natural talent soon rose through the ranks, appearing in several tv shows and movies and garnering nominations for her performances on “Quinceanera” and “The Bridge”.
Can you tell us what to expect with your character?
She’s still reeling with the girlfriend situation. She’s trying to come to terms of whether she wants to continue down that path and to continue to get her loved ones in the line of fire. She is not being selfish but she wants to tell these stories. She needs to pick what side she wants to choose. It’s subconscious what happened to her girlfriend and the danger she put her in. She’s just going after the story because she understands that this is deeper if they are coming after her and want to kill her. From the beginning from the first episode, she wants to brush off that everything is that serious and that emotional. She just wants to wants to focus on her career. Whether she knows it or not, the entire second season she brings it out in a different kind of emotion. You find that a lot in the dialogue.
Your character is a lesbian. What kind of reaction are you getting from the Hispanic community or are you hearing more from the LGBT community?
I’m surprised nobody in the Latino community has not raised a stink about it. We had a huge discussion (with the writers and creators of the show) before I agreed to come on board for the second season as a series regular that I didn’t want it to be this huge coming out story. What I liked about the first season is it’s thrown out there. It was like Diane’s (Kruger) Asperger. Nobody really said anything about it. It is what it is. I’m blessed to not play a stereotypical character. I was asked to join the Fox panel earlier this summer for their next GLAD event. It’s been all great.
How did you get the role?
I was talking with Elwood and Carolyn Bernstein and asked, “Did anyone else audition for this role?” He said, “No. I saw you on ‘Breaking Bad’ and I wanted you… I pitched the idea for the person I wanted to play this character and so I brought you in and that was it. Carolyn recently binged watched and said, “You made the right choice. A season later, I’m glad you came on board”. And that’s how I got the role.
What is the best part of playing this character?
Not being a stereotype. I love that she’s an educated woman. The other side of the border and made a change and graduated from the University of Texas. Because she came from the other side of the border, she is able to be so honest and respected when she’s writing.
At the end of last season, your character was settling into a partnership with Frye. There were problems but she got over that. How do you see that evolving?
This is what I love. Their relationship is a working relationship. I always try to see, who am I going to keep in touch with. Are these the people I work with? Are these the people I can consider a friend? This second season, it is not out of pity. It is out of mutual respect. She respects him (Frye) and understands he has a problem, but she sees both sides of everything. She also realizes he is all about the story and hungry for the story. For the writers on the show who were journalists, they love that we’re hungry for the story. Closer to 6th or 7th episode, you’ll see that it kinds of comes together. When somebody is fighting , he steps in on my to defend me. I never throw in the towel for him and he never throws the towel in for me. It’s a weird relationship. If we ever come to a third or fourth season, it will build more in the friendship.
When you’re not on the set, are you compelled to watch?
No. Even in the screenings, I’m not compelled to watch. I want to watch with an audience. Even if a director needs me to watch for continuity reasons, I don’t ever want to see if possible. It’s such a spoiler.
Do you not like to watch yourself?
I try to avoid it but I’m a fan of the show so I do watch. Same with other shows I have done. It is still strange to watch and hear my voice. I can’t describe it. It’s not for everybody I guess.
How much time have you spent in Juarez, Mexico?
I haven’t spent a lot of time in Juarez. I once went and it was weird. There were no women in the street and there were about 30 men in a park. It was so strange. I went with my mother, sister, and father. We tried to have lunch there. Just getting these stares and looking around. It didn’t feel like Mexico to me. I grew up going at least 2 times month to Mexico. I go there often. We go there all the time. Guadalajara, etc … I have family all over Mexico. I’m comfortable there With Juarez, maybe because I’m not from there. Maybe the stories. Mind over matter.
When it comes to second season, what do you look forward for the audience to see happen to your character?
You get into her personal life. You are introduced to her significant other from the get go. A little later on, you get to see her in her personal life, even if just for a second. Little tiny hints of differences you weren’t able to see from the first season. I didn’t know if we would be able to go down that road to establish more scenes with her girlfriend, but they were able to go there. It’s surreal because there are dangers on the other side of the border when you are trying to cover stories like this.
NATHAN PHILLIPS – “Jack Dobbs”
Australian actor Nathan Phillips (“Snakes In A Plane”, “Wolf Creek”) started in Australian tv show “Neighbors” and worked in tv until 2002 where he embarked on his movie career. He was nominated as Best Actor for the ‘Film Critics Circle of Australia’ award. Award winning film “Wolf Creek” catapulted him to an international audience.
She thinks she transferred her feelings from the brother to you. Do you see it that way, or is character just happy to have sex?
No, his life was turned upside down just like hers. Some keep their wound open and pick at the scab. It’s easier to have drama and take on the victim mentality than a survivor mentality. I think there is a little bit of that with their life situation having Jim with that kind of link in the chain. I created my own backstory and Diane has the same process and has her own thing. You go to the writers and say, “Tell me what you do know about Jack Dobbs and where has he been?” For me, for Jack, timing has a lot to do with life. It’s my own mentality in life. I think they just meet each other and obviously there is a need. They are both revisiting a wound that hasn’t healed. It’s a cool character. As mysterious as it sounds right now, for me it was like a treasure map where I was only given one little bit of this map every so many steps. Once you get to the tree, then…
As an actor, you’re going from your own imagination creating a character. The writers are giving you ample choices to make. It’s really fun for a show. It gives you ample space to make authentic choices to create a character. And I love working with these amazing actors.
Would you say that is the best part of playing Jack on the show?
Yes. And Diane is beautiful so I think, “I get to hang out with Diane again!” Having her European sensibilities is really cool. She really is great to watch on set.
It’s just awesome for someone from the outside to come in and see how the machine is oiled. Who’s taking care of what. Elwood is really driving it.
What is your background as an actor and how did you get this role?
Timing. I was in the country at the right time at the right place. They asked me to come in. They saw a film I was in that went to Canne “Directors Fortnight” which helped. I worked with Thomas Wright. That is how they got to know me.
Did you have to physically fly in from out of the country from Australia for the audition?
I was already here. I spend half the year here. It’s a good balance.
The days you do work do you stay and watch because it’s like a master class?
Yes, I tend to be a fly on the wall because I love watching the crew. I love watching actors make choices. I don’t get to work with too many of the other actors. I don’t get to work with Demien or his brother. The only time you get a taste is at the cast read through. You hear everyone go through the sript and read it. They are already for the first day. It’s really fresh When you are reading things for the first time My first scene is with Ted. Ted is a real cowboy. To be in the industry for that long, I was in awe. I was blessed to create a relationship with him.
Is it love interest or just sex?
It’s very physical.
But she started it?
I concur. (laughing)
How is it filming a sex scene?
It’s like being a 16 year old being caught by your parents.
Are there less crew on the set?
Yes. Diane is a model and has the European thing again. I’m a surfer so I’m pretty much naked. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s just the chemistry and the physicality. I’m not going to say it’s a piece of cake. It’s just about making it authentic and making it work. It’s a trip.
Are the tattoos for the character?
No, they’re mine, but they are covered. But I kept to keep this one (pointing to a tattoo). It takes 30 minutes to cover the tattoos. I love my makeup and hair crew.
What do you look for in a script?
It is an opportunity to bring something to life. This is an amazing canvas and I’m one of the colors and one of the brush stokes. I had already seen season 1. I was in awe of the authenticity of the show with the fictional and nonfictional elements. It is just the collaboration. A lot of issues. Drugs and cartel in the border. The characters are flawed. It is always interesting playing these characters and not judging your character. I’m looking for the character and bringing it to life. It’s always fun discovering things and creating a world.
Does it start from the page to script or the director?
You only have so much to go from. That is how you tell the difference between a great actor and a good actor. The choices they make and the authenticity. Then you have the directors and the writers. The good thing about this show is that there are 7 writers. Writers are brining elements as experience as a war correspondent, etc. There’s a wealth of information. All an actor wants is to make a choice.
Hank makes it clear he doesn’t approve of the relationship between Jack and Sonya. Are his opinions well founded or they jumping to conclusions? Will we see a different side of Jack as the season moves on?
There are assumptions which are antagonizing to Jack which gets him off the wrong foot at the onset. It lets you know about Ted’s character and Jack. If they met in a bar, they could just shoot the s*** and a beer. But life doesn’t have it this way. It’s a good plot. It allows the writers to bring out Jack’s antagonism and bring up the past.
What else are you excited for people to see throughout the second season?
I want to throw as many curveballs as I can and have people guessing. Is this a mysterious guy that has come back with questions unanswered and a lot of ghosts? He finds her refreshing. It’s become a place he never felt comfortable. What I really enjoyed about Jack is that he brings something out in her that nobody else had. You get to see her almost become feminine. Is he dark? Is it that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree like his brother? It’s cool playing that duality.
Season 2 has come to a brilliant close and finale. Thanks again to the cast and crew of “The Bridge” who took time to bring us on this adventure from beginning to end.
Official web site: http://www.fxnetworks.com/thebridge