Emmys: On the Set of 'The Bridge' as FX's Series Takes a More Sinister Tone
A trip to the set of the Peabody Award-winning drama, starring Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir, reveals the challenges of depicting autism and moving on after a showrunner shake-up.
This story first appeared in the June 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
"Remember, you have this scrim of awkwardness."
It's morning on April 23 in Santa Clarita, Calif., and co-creator/executive producer Elwood Reid is calibrating the degree of Asperger's syndrome that star Diane Kruger, 37, should infuse into a scene of the serial-killer drama that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border. Without autism consultant Alex Plank on the set that day, the task is more difficult for the German actress, whose Detective Sonya Cross is interviewing a victim. But Kruger is intent on delivering a nuanced performance.
"People with the condition are often used as comic relief," she says. "It was important to show a woman who is actually able to have a full life."
Bridge's freshman run last summer performed solidly with an average of 3.5 million viewers. Based on the Danish drama Broen, the FX series that revolves around Cross and Detective Marco Ruiz (Oscar nominee Demian Bichir, 50) experienced growing pains heading into season two. A clash of visions spurred co-creator and Homeland veteran Meredith Stiehm to depart.
"Meredith is more comfortable in the world of police procedurals," says Reid, a former exec producer on Hawaii Five-0. "The hard, emotional stuff was tricky to pull off. I was more willing to go there."
When season two premieres on July 9, it will do so with a more sinister tone, he says. "It's much more of a weird-character crime mystery now. I'm finally writing the show I want to write."