Theresa Joy becomes ‘everything she wants to be’ on ‘The Bridge’
Interviewee: Theresa Joy
By: Tyrone Warner
Date: March 31, 2010
Note: This is an interview with THERESA JOY who plays Billy on THE BRIDGE.
This classically trained actor finds strength portraying a detective on the new CTV series.
Theresa joy plays Billy, a feisty and tough street cop, who draws more danger and trouble than she deserves.
“I think she’s just totally driven and has a lot of energy, and she just wants to do the job right. Being a girl, you meet a lot of bad guys in your life and you don’t want to be a victim. So I think for her, she’s in a position where she can take them down and she can help other people,” Joy tells CTV.ca.
“Billy has the power to go out there and stop bad things from happening instead of waiting for them to happen to her. When she reads the newspaper, it doesn’t have to brew inside of her; she goes to work the next day and tries to stop it from happening.”
Billy is just one of the many characters that inhabit the world of “The Bridge,” which chronicles the actions of controversial union boss Frank Leo, played by “Battlestar Galactica” alum Aaron Douglas.
Joy has a number of television and film credits, including appearances on “Nip/Tuck,” “Entourage,” “Reno 911!: Miami,” and “Puck Hogs.” At one point, Joy was also a former NFL cheerleader. The actress currently splits her time between Toronto, New York City, Los Angeles and Europe.
When comparing herself with her character, Joy says playing Billy gives her a certain feeling of empowerment.
“Billy’s intimidating and I am not. I’m passive and I don’t like fights… I’ll let people be jerks and shrug it off because I don’t need to confront them. It’s weird, because if there’s a character that is not like me, then I really feel like I’m faking it,” says Joy.
“I never felt that way with Billy, so there must be something inside of me. It feels so comfortable to be her. She’s everything I would want to be. My characters in the past, they’d be someone Billy would have in handcuffs!”
When Joy found out she landed her role in “The Bride,” she discovered what life for police offers is really like.
“I went on a ride along in Buffalo, with the Buffalo Police Department in one of the most dangerous parts of Buffalo, and it was scary,” remembers Joy.
“I thought I was brave, but when I got there, I got a bullet proof vest, and I laughed and thought I was going to stay in the car the whole time. The first time I stepped into a house, it was a domestic call, but it’s the east side of Buffalo and it’s pretty scary, I don’t think I’ve even driven through the east side. So it was intimidating just to be there. The house was dark, the two officers I was with went in front of me, and all of a sudden I was like — ‘I don’t know who is around the next corner, I don’t know who is in the next room, I don’t know who might have a gun’ — I felt so helpless. Of course, they had guns and I didn’t. It was really scary. We did a high-speed chase, talked to some gang members, there was a robbery. I think we basically went through a lot of the crimes I find in my scripts, and that was all on one shift.”
The biggest lesson that Joy took from her ride along experience, was just how similar the lives of the officers on “The Bridge” reflect those of real-life cops.
“As an actor, you’ll read the scripts and hear about marriages going bad with alcoholism and suicide and somebody might think, ‘Oh, its TV, they want to keep the show interesting.’ From what I heard from the police officers, is that it’s all real. It’s hard on them. It’s not like other 9 to 5 jobs.”
During her ride along, Joy also remembers some of the more unusual reactions she received while accompanying the police officers.
“I was in character, in a sense, so I was wearing what Billy wears for the first few episodes. I just pulled something out of my own wardrobe which resembles that… these straight leg jeans and this black leather coat,” says Joy.
“During this one stop, this girl came out and said, ‘That’s what the cops are wearing now? That’s too cool for cops!'”
“The Bridge” airs Friday nights on CTV, with full episodes available online at Watch.CTV.ca.