Interview With Beau Bridges, Guest Starring On The Closer
by Laura Tucker
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We never really found out why, but it seemed like Detective Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey) was all out of sorts on last week’s The Closer. We did pick up a little inkling that it might have something to do with some problems with the opposite sex. On next Monday’s show he’ll end up having even more than he bargained for as one of his ex-partners, Det. Andrews, shows up … as a woman!
If John Travolta can do it in Hairspray, then Beau Bridges can do it on The Closer. He stars as Lt. Provenza’s ex-partner, and in a recent conference call, explains star Kyra Sedgwick has been a friend of his for awhile, and he was sent the script for this role as Det. Andrews and really liked it. He had worked on a TV movie earlier that Sedgwick’s husband, Kevin Bacon, had directed. He likes the show. Like Shakespeare said a long time ago, “The play is the thing,” and in addition, they have good team of writers and a wonderful group of actors.
Bridges felt the character of Det. Andrews was “a real unique pair of high heels to fill.” Asked what it was like to walk a mile in a woman’s shoes, Bridges calls it “brutal,” and says he’s never again going to tell his wife to hurry up when they’re late trying to get somewhere and she’s got her heels on. It’s just not going to happen.
The uniqueness of the role certainly appealed to Bridges, that this person had gone down the path of having a sex change. He has a lot of respect for people who have the courage to go down that path, as it isn’t an easy one. He had actually done a play called Looking for Normal in which he played a guy contemplating a sex change. During that, he met a lot of people who had had a sex change, and “began to understand a bit of how challenging that is.”
It gave Bridges another opportunity to examine the situation and represent it to other people that don’t know too much about it. Bridges found when meeting these people that they really cover all spectrums and “you can’t really fit them into a niche.” He did meet one woman who started her life as a man, and was now quite beautiful and “coiffed,” and also very comoforable in her skin. He also met a woman who had been a male fire chief, and after her operation, only moved stations, and is still a fire chief, leading him to see the realm of experience is very wide. He also believes that aside from that, most men have female attributes, and most women masculine attributes. As a matter-of-fact, he admits he loves women’s clothes and picks out all of his wife’s.
Asked if it was just a one-time only role or whether it would become a recurring character, Brdiges says it was offered to him as a one-time only role, but they didn’t kill him off, “so you never know.”
I’ve been a fan of Bridges since the movie Other Side of the Mountain. There’s quite a big leap from Dick Buek to this character on The Closer. I asked him what he thought Mad Dog would have had to say about Det. Andrews. Bridges thinks maybe there’s some parallels, as Mad Dog was a really brave guy, living on the edge, and wasn’t afraid to try something new and was a bit edgey for society, and he thinks the same can be said for Det. Andrews. They’re both somewhat fearlesss.
The Closer is a typical cable show, filmed with equal parts drama and comedy, so I wondered if Bridges played the role of Det. Andrews with humor, or if he played it more straight up. Brdiges replied he enjoys humor in any role he takes on, and as an audience member himself, he loves to laugh. Yet, he didn’t want any of the laughter to be at the expense of someone who had gone through a sex change, as he knows how “profound” it is. He hopes any of the humor that comes out of this will come out of the relationships of the people. A lot of the humor comes out of Lt. Provenza’s atttempt to get used to his old buddy as a woman. “It’s tough, but there is some humor in it.” He thinks the writers did a great job in towing the thin line.
Bridges’ episode of The Closer airs Monday, December 14.
Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com
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