It seems like every TV newscast — jam-packed as it is with stories involving illegal immigration and drug and gang wars along the border — is practically a commercial for The Bridge, FX’s gritty crime drama, which begins its second season at 9 p.m. Wednesday. The show focuses on the great divide between the cultures of El Paso and Juarez, between the U.S. and Mexico. That’s one reason Diane Kruger, who stars as Sonya Cross of the El Paso P.D., finds the show so compelling.
“I don’t pretend to know everything about the conflicts that are going on,” she says. “But you have to be practically blind and deaf not to hear about those issues. So I’m intrigued by that aspect of the show. I find it fascinating and quite risky on FX’s part to try to shine a light on that situation.”
Kruger, a German-born actress perhaps best known in the States as Nicolas Cage’s leading lady in the “National Treasure” movies, talked last week about the new season of The Bridge.
1 How will Season 2 differ from what the show did last summer?
It’s a very different show in many ways. We don’t have a classic serial-killer storyline. We were following the plot of the original Scandinavian show [upon which this series is based] in Season 1. Now we’re completely on our own. And it’s not just one story. There are many storylines that seemingly are not connected. The show is darker, for sure, and more complex. Our personal lives get involved in what is happening on the border.
2 Your character has Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. What’s the biggest challenge to playing a role like this?
Because she is such an emotionally restrained person, whenever there is a scene where I show emotion, it’s truly heartbreaking. To see someone who is seemingly aloof — nothing really shocks her or touches her — and then to have scenes where you see the loneliness of this person, those are hard to do.
3 Is it safe to say that Sonya’s ill-conceived romantic relationship this season won’t end well?
It is with her sister’s killer’s brother, someone she shares history with, but clearly this is not a good way to go about things. I don’t think Sonya has ever been in a relationship. She opens herself up and gets burned.
4 How much of the show is actually filmed in El Paso?
We shot a little bit there for the pilot and obviously we have B-roll [supplemental footage] that goes down to El Paso and Mexico on a frequent basis. There is talk about going back for the finale to film a couple of days there. But Santa Clarita [in Los Angeles County] is a pretty good match for El Paso and Juarez.
5 What makes television more appealing to you today than film?
You have 13 hours to bring a character to life. You have the luxury of time to tell a story and to color a character. I’m not sure this character would have been offered to me in a movie. A person with Asperger’s is not necessarily the lead in a film. And the best female roles are on television. So it’s an exciting time.
— David Martindale, Special to the Star-Telegram