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April 19, 2014

Aaron Douglas Takes on 'The Bridge'

by Chris Jancelewicz, posted Mar 2nd 2010 11:57PM
Last time we saw Aaron Douglas, he was walking off into the unknown as Chief Tyrol on 'Battlestar Galactica'. We may have thought that the Canadian actor disappeared, but he's been working – a lot, by the sounds of it – on 'The Bridge', where he plays cop-turned-union-leader Frank Leo.

Just in case you haven't seen the promotional ad (which was played mercilessly throughout the 2010 Olympics), 'The Bridge' follows a young, troubled cop who grows more and more disillusioned with the corrupt police force. As he tries to right the wrongs going on around him, Leo becomes enmeshed in the complications of power. Executive-produced by Craig Bromell (who served as president of the Metro Toronto Police Association from 1997-2003), and set on the streets of Toronto, 'The Bridge' is a raw look behind the Blue Curtain.

TV Squad talked with Douglas about what it's like to play a police officer, how it feels to drive a hot car (really fast), and if he misses 'Battlestar' at all.
You moved from a Cylon to a cop – quite a 'jump', wouldn't you say?

[Laughs] Hey, at least I'm still a union leader!

Do you like playing a cop?

It was fun to strap on different boots, a vest, and a gun belt, sure. Also, I got to drive around really fast. Frank goes from cop to union leader rather quickly, though, so now it's all suits and shaving twice a day, which pisses me off. [Laughs]

Do you actually get to drive around yourself? Is there no stunt driver?


Yes, they have three cars for me. A cop car that I can drive sort-of fast, the Dodge Charger that's all souped up – I can drive that one as fast as I want – and then there's a thing called a 'Robocar', where a guy has literally taken out the back seat and put a stunt driver's seat in the middle. A stunt driver drives from the back, and I sit in the front while pretending to turn the wheel.

That sounds potentially terrifying.

It is. It's really weird. He's such a great driver, he literally comes right up on that car or that tree and will turn at the last possible second. I thought I was going to die a couple times, but then I realized that this guy is super-badass.

I could tell in that scene when you got out of the Charger that you love that car.


Yeah. I do. It's like a bat out of hell. I want to see if I can be the spokesperson for Dodge and get one for myself. [Laughs]

What's it like being the lead on a show instead of a supporting character?


'Battlestar' had such an ensemble cast, that even if you were working a lot in the episode, it would only amount to about 3 or 4 days. For 'The Bridge', the sets are all over the place. We shot 78 days, and I was working 72 of them. I would get up, shower, go to work, come home, straight to bed...it was mind-numbing. I've never worked so hard in my life.

How did you get involved with the project in the first place?


They were doing their big, giant searches and they couldn't find anybody. Then someone over at CTV – a 'Battlestar' fan – said, 'How about Aaron Douglas?' The director was like, 'Absolutely!' They cast me off my audition tape, and that was it.

Did you have any qualms about accepting the role?

Well, I had the typical west coast mentality about Toronto, about how it sucks. I bought into that crap. Now, I've fallen in love with the city. I love the people, my castmates, the baseball games... it was great in the summer.

You're all over the city – on bus shelters everywhere! How does that feel?

Not bad! It's cool. It started off with 'Dude, I'm seeing you everywhere' to 'Dude, I'm getting sick of seeing you everywhere.' People send me pictures every day.

Did you receive any training for this role?

I don't really do stuff like that. I just show up, say my lines, and that's about it. I did ask about how cops stand, and where they carry this, how do they put that away, the more procedural-type things.

There's so much sadness, and so many deaths, even in the pilot episode. Was that ever hard to deal with for you?

No, I'm coming off 'Battlestar'. Somebody had either just died, was dying in my arms, or was about to die. This show is 'Will & Grace' compared to 'Battlestar'.

Does it feel good to take a break from sci-fi?

I do miss 'Battlestar', the cast and crew. That was a pretty well-oiled machine. It's sort of like you don't know what you've got till it's gone. But I go to a lot of sci-fi conventions, and I love going and talking about the show. I miss it, but it's nice to get in a cop car, drink a coffee, and shoot a gun.

'The Bridge' premieres on CBS on July 10 at 8PM. It airs in Canada on CTV on Fridays at 10PM.

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