Diane Kruger's crossover role

ONE of the big television events on Fox this year is The Bridge which is an American drama TV series developed by Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid. It is based on the 2011 Danish/Swedish series, Bron.

While Bron was originally set on the border of Denmark and Sweden, The Bridge is set in the US-Mexican border.
This much-awaited series has German-born actress Diane Kruger and Mexican actor Demian Bichir in the leads.

Kruger plays Sonya Cross, a cop with a form of autism (Asperger's syndrome) but is extremely effective at her job.

Meanwhile, Bichir plays Marco Ruiz, a dedicated homicide investigator, in a corrupt police force that is outgunned by the powerful drug cartels.

The two cops meet when investigating a dead body found on the Bridge of the Americas after a blackout and soon discover a serial killer is operating on both sides of the border.

In an interview transcript provided by Fox International Channels, Kruger talks about her character in the series.

How much do you know about the problems on the US-Mexican border?

"I feel like I know as much as most Americans do. I've been living in the US on and off for the past 20 years. It's definitely something that I'm really interested in and I thought that the show is looking at it from a less clichéd point of view.

"The fact that Demian (Bichir) is actually Mexican and we had a Mexican director (Gerardo Naranjo) for our pilot, it does feel like FX (the channel that produced the series) is trying to make a conscious effort to portray Mexico and its problems realistically.

"I'd rather be in a show where we can look at the problems that are realistic but we don't necessarily have a solution for any of it."

And working with Bichir?

"I don't know if you've met him yet. He's the most charming person I've ever met. Every woman on set is like ahhhhh!

"He has every girl wrapped around his finger, it's not even funny. His accent is just so charming … and he's very easy to get along with. And not to say the least, a very talented performer."

How did you build up this character? What kind of research did you do to prepare for the role?

"Well, I loved the original series. She's a super cool cop, but she's not the gun-toting kind. I'm sure she obviously went to police academy so she trained doing all that stuff but her brilliance lies in other thing, like she sees things people don't.

"And she's obsessed with dead bodies and serial killers and so that's what I found fascinating about her.

"I'm terrible with handling a gun, you don't understand, my gun drops out of my holster every day … they're so exasperated with me and I have to go do gun training. I literally go like once a week.

"But getting to do the police work is fascinating, connecting the puzzles, the pieces and she's really smart. I'm very, very fond of Sonya."

How do you get into, or think to play someone with Asperger's?

"Well, the thing is that it's a huge undertaking because it's not like you can really play it; it's a total way of being, it's not an affectation, and that's where Alex Plank (famous autism advocate) is so helpful to me because no scene is ever just a scene. I can't ever just phone it in if that makes sense.

"She looks at everything from a different perspective, and she's very literal. So every answer I give, everything I ask is different.

"It was daunting for me in the beginning because I didn't know much about autism or Asperger's.

"I'm very, very grateful that FX allowed me to meet with Autism Speaks which is a big association in the US for the Autistic community and then Alex, who actually has Asperger's, is on set when I work, so I'm able to pick his brain."

Since you've been playing this character, has it in any way influenced you outside of work?

"A little bit. I've gotten in the habit of saying things straight up and I have to catch myself sometimes now to be a little less direct!"

You watched the Danish-Swedish version?

"Most of it, but not the ending."

How are you with dead bodies and blood and this half-split body?

"Well, the dead and blood don't affect Sonya. That's another thing that's so cool about Sonya. She can't touch an actual person in real life but with dead people, she's super. And I love that, because I can totally identify with that.

"Not that I'm into dead people but I can be very shy when I'm with a lot of people. Then when I'm with one person, I can be extremely personal, so I totally get a person who can't talk back is more interesting than somebody who talks."

The Bridge airs on Fox (Astro channel 710) premiered yesterday and will air every Monday at 9.50pm. The first episode will repeat this Sunday at 8pm.