Diane Kruger on bridging real and reel lives

THE BRIDGE - Pictured: (L-R) Diane Kruger as Sonya Cross. CR: FX Network
Diane Kruger plays Sonya Cross, a no-nonsense cop with Asperger’s in The Bridge.
Actress Diane Kruger on how close she is to her TV character Sonya
Published: 4:02 AM, July 30, 2013
Updated: 10:50 PM, July 30, 2013

SINGAPORE — She was the face that launched a thousand ships in the movie, Troy. She died an ignoble death as the countess Bridget von Hammersmark in Inglorious Basterds. And she was one of France’s most famous queens, Marie Antoinette, in Farewell, My Queen.

But these days, actress Diane Kruger is taking on a role of a more gritty kind. Namely, as the dedicated detective Sonya Cross, who also has Asperger’s Syndrome, in the new TV series, The Bridge. Based on the Danish/Swedish show, Bron, the show follows what happens when Cross is teamed up with Mexican detective Marco Ruiz (played by Demian Bichir) to hunt a killer who works on both sides of the American-Mexican border.

“Well, you don’t want to get bored. You don’t want to play the same parts. But every character has its challenges. I never set out thinking, ‘Oh I want to play a waitress or I want to play a cop’. But I feel like sometimes parts find you. It just came at the right time,” said the German actress of her decision to play the no-nonsense cop.

“I loved the original series. She’s a super cool cop, but she’s the not the gun-toting kind,” she added. “Her brilliance lies in other things, like, she sees things people don’t necessarily pick up on. And she’s obsessed with dead bodies and serial killers ... that’s what I found fascinating about her.”

Another point of interest for Kruger was playing someone with Asperger’s. “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,” she said, adding that she had on-set help: FX connected with Autism Speaks, an American autism awareness and research organisation, and arranged for a young man with Asperger’s, Alex Plank, to advise Kruger during shooting.

“I’m able to pick his brain. I was so concerned to get the Asperger aspect right because I think that is much more what defines Sonya,” she said. “She looks at everything from a different perspective, and she’s very literal. It was daunting for me in the beginning because I didn’t know much about autism or Asperger’s.”

Another aspect of Cross that Kruger said she could relate to was the way the former dealt with people. Specifically, her fascination for dead people. “The dead and the blood don’t affect Sonya. She can’t touch an actual person in real life, but dead people, she’s super into. I can totally identify with that. Not that I’m in to dead people but I can be very shy when I’m with a lot of people. But when I’m with one person I can be extremely personal.”

So perhaps it’s not surprising that Kruger admitted some of Cross’ traits have rubbed off on her. “I’ve definitely had friends say, ‘That was really blunt of you to say’. I’ve gotten into the habit of saying things straight up and I have to catch myself sometimes now to be a little less direct!” CHRISTOPHER TOH

The Bridge is on every Monday on FOX (Mio TV Ch 330 and StarHub TV Ch 505/558 HD).