INTERVIEW: As cop boss, Douglas builds ‘Bridge’

As cop boss, Douglas builds ‘Bridge’
By: Bill Burke
Date: July 10th, 2010
Source: Boston Herald

 


LIONHEARTED: Aaron Douglas is union leader Frank Leo.

Aaron Douglas is getting a taste of what it’s like to be The Man. 

As Toronto police union boss Frank Leo on CBS’ “The Bridge” (series premiere tonight at 8 on WBZ, Ch. 4), Douglas is stepping up from his former role as Chief Galen Tyrol on Syfy’s “Battlestar Galactica.” 

“Now I know what it feels like to be James Gandolfini or Kiefer Sutherland,” Douglas told the Herald during a recent telephone interview from Toronto. “The guy who has to work every single day in every scene. It’s a big difference in workload for me.” 

In this TV series imported from Canada, Douglas plays a cop elected as the new union boss to lead 8,000 fellow officers. He comes up against street criminals, his bosses and corruption from within the ranks. 

“I like that he’s a real guy,” Douglas said. “I like that he’s honest and he tells it like it is. He doesn’t pull punches, he’s a real person. I love the fact that he has flaws. As an actor, the most interesting thing to do is play a character that’s flawed and does the best he can with the tools he has. He owns up and says he’s sorry.” 

Douglas’ cop-show viewing while growing up in Vancouver consisted of the 1980s spoof “Police Squad” and “Magnum, P.I.” – the latter primarily because his mother had an eye for Tom Selleck. 

Leo, he said, wouldn’t fit in on either of those shows. 

“Not everybody is going to like him,” he said. “But some people are really going to like him.” 

The 38-year-old spent four seasons as Tyrol on “Galactica.” During that show’s run, he was part of an ensemble, sharing the load. Now – not so much. 

“I remember the day before we started shooting (‘The Bridge’) pilot, I phoned (‘Galactica’ star) Edward James Almos and said, ‘Eddie, what do I do?’ And he said, ‘Be yourself.’ I thought that was nice advice.” 

In his higher-profile role, Douglas said he has the responsibility to dictate the tone of the set. 

“How you go, so goes the day,” he said. “If you’re grumpy and stomping around, the set gets tense and weird. If you’re light, everyone gets to lighten up. If someone is getting snippy, it’s your prerogative, your responsibility to take them aside and say, ‘Knock it off.'” 

“The Bridge” has already aired its first season on CTV in Canada and has been renewed for a second season there. At this point, Douglas is waiting to see what CBS has in mind for the show. 

He has traveled to many of the “Galactica” conventions around the United States. 

“The great thing about ‘Battlestar’ is that it gets you in the room and gets the conversation going with potential employers,” Douglas said. “Everywhere I go, producers love that show. They bring me in the room so they can meet me. They’ll say, ‘I love the Chief (Tyrol), man. You’re not right for anything in this movie, but I just wanted to meet you.'”

INTERVIEW: State of the Police Union

State of the Police Union
By: Megan Walsh-Boyle
Date: July 5th – 18th, 2010
Source: TV Guide Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a new cop show on the TV lineup. The Canadian dram The Bridge premiered July 10 and introduced viewers to Frank Leo, a dedicated beat officer who is fed up with the corrupt police brass. he takes action by getting elected union leader, making him some powerful new enemies who have already proven they’ll go to great lengths to bring him down.

But it’s nothing Frank can’t handle, according to the guy who plays him: Aaron Douglas, who likens the character to Tony Soprano. Says Douglas, “Frank runs the police union like a gang and rules with an iron fist. He has a sense of morality about him, although it’s a little skewed. You’re either going to love this guy or think he’s a little too far gone.”

Best known to audiences for his work on the critically adored Battlestar Galactica, on which he portrayed Chief Galen Tyrol for four seasons, Douglas sees similarities between the two roles. “Frank’s not unlike the Chief – he’s a blue-collar guy and he fights for his people and and sometimes hr has too many drinks. he’s a flawed man, but he does the best he can with what he has.” Expect to see some not-so-lawful behavior tonight when our hero is forced to play by the bad guys’ rules to solve the murder of a retired narcotics cop. Do the criminals have a chance against Frank? Fuhgeddaboudit!

 

 

 

[click thumbnail to enlarge image]

NOTE: A HUGE thank you to kathm13 for the above scan

INTERVIEW: ‘The Bridge’ links both sides of badge

‘The Bridge’ links both sides of badge
By: Kate O’Hare
Date: Date: July 1, 2010
Interviewees: Alan Di Fiore and Aaron Douglas
Source: Zap2it and Kate O’Hare’s Hot Cuppa TV

 

Being a police officer may be a calling for some, but it is also a job — a union job. And where there are unions, there are the bosses and the rank and file; there are negotiations and disputes and sometimes a strike.

And there is always a police officer whose extra job it is to stand in the middle of all that, to bridge the gap between the officers and the men, between the police and the people, and between the police and one another.

With a two-hour episode on Saturday, July 10, CBS premieres the Canadian-produced drama “The Bridge,” loosely based on the life of Toronto radio personality Craig Bromell, who also used to be head of the Toronto police union from 1997 to 2003 and is an executive producer on the show.

“Battlestar Galactica” star Aaron Douglas plays Frank Leo, a tough and dedicated officer in a big-city police force who is voted in to head his union. To serve the 8,000 officers under his care, he must battle street criminals, corruption in the ranks and his own bosses, the so-called “brass wall.”

Also starring are Paul Popowich, Frank Cassini, Inga Cadranel, Theresa Joy and Michael Murphy.

“The question is,” says executive producer Alan Di Fiore (“Da Vinci’s Inquest”), “the moral ambiguity of the show is, how far will he go? He ends up quite often crossing the line, dealing with a bad cop on his own terms, so it doesn’t hurt the department. Because to hurt the department means that the funding is going to get cut, that they’re going to have problems with the mayor, with money.

“I knew so many cops that when I met Craig, it wasn’t a big surprise to me. I got him right away. I understood where he was coming from. The idea was to present that world differently than anybody had ever seen it before. The fact that Craig had become head of the police union — that’s where the comparison ends. He’s not Frank Leo.”

And Frank Leo is not Chief Galen Tyrol, the character Douglas played on “Battlestar,” but there are similarities between the street-wise cop and the tough, resourceful chief.

“It’s funny,” Douglas says, “it’s very, very similar to the chief in many respects — blue-collar guy, he’s there for the working man, he’s going to do his best and is very loyal and very honest, just tries to make life a little bit better for those around him. And he will go to the wall for the people that he believes in.

“I like the fact that Frank’s a real guy. He’s flawed, just like people in life are. He’s doing the best he can with the tools that he has. He makes mistakes, and he owns up to them. But he does the best that he can. He leads by example, and he leads with his words. People rely on him and need him.

“He will do whatever he needs to do to make a better environment for the people around him, and particularly the people who don’t have the ability or the power to do it for themselves.”

For his part, Di Fiore had no doubt about his pick to play Frank.

“I kept telling everybody, ‘Look, I don’t want a traditional pretty boy. I want somebody who has some character in his face,” Di Fiore says. “I want somebody who looks like a young Gandolfini – better-looking than that. I wanted somebody with some power behind them.

“Finally, we found Aaron, and I was just over the moon. As soon as we got him, I said, ‘We have to have this guy.’ He’s exactly who I pictured in this part, somebody you could believe was actually a cop on the street.”

That means Douglas is again wearing a uniform. As to whether he prefers his police blues or his “Battlestar” flight suit and orange work jumpsuit, Douglas says, “Oh, ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ by far. I know if the fans had their druthers, they would rather see me walking around in an orange jumpsuit than a cop’s uniform.”

He’s also learning to cope with wearing a gun belt, a radio and all the other accoutrements of a street cop.

“They hang a lot of stuff on your belt,” he says, “put it over your shoulders. It’s not just getting dressed and walking on the set; you’ve got 10 minutes with the prop guys.”

“The Bridge” has already started airing in Canada , and Douglas is beginning to experience what it’s like to have fame beyond “Battlestar.”

“In Canada,” he says, “when I do [get recognized], people point and wave and say, ‘Hi, Frank!’ It’s weird. I’m so used to people yelling ‘Chief!’ across the street. I don’t know whether to respond or whether they’re talking to the guy with the beard behind me.”

INTERVIEW: My Car: Unique and quirky, just like his car

My Car: Unique and quirky, just like his car
Story By: Petrina Gentile
Photos By: Jeff Vinnick/The Globe and Mail
Date: May 18, 2010
Source: The Globe and Mail

 


Canadian actor Aaron Douglas's Volvo 'likes the limelight'

 

Aaron Douglas plays Frank Leo, a cop battling corruption on and off the force in the CTV/CBS drama, The Bridge. But he’s probably best known for his role as Chief Tyrol in the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. 

As chief mechanic he was tech savvy on set, but off set it’s a different story, especially when it comes to his car – a 2007 Volvo S80 3.2 sedan. 

“When it comes to real life I can sharpen a pencil and that’s about it,” says Douglas, one of Canada’s rising TV stars. “I do know it’s a 3.2 and its all-wheel drive. It’s got enough juice to get up and go. And it drives like a sports car, but it feels like a tank. If I smacked into anything, the other thing would lose out.” 

 


Aaron Douglas inside his Volvo S80

 

Douglas adores the gadgets in his S80 – although it took him a while to figure them out. 

“It’s got so many cool things. I love the [adaptive] cruise control. I didn’t even figure it out until I was driving on the highway and somebody cut me off and all of a sudden the car started to slow down. What happened? It was like, ‘Oh no, my car is broken’ and then that car got out of the way and it just started speeding up again. The car’s a genius,” he laughs. 

“You set the cruise control and you tell the car how many car lengths you want to stay behind the car in front of you. You let it go and it constantly sends out sensors front and back and if the car is set to 120 and you come up behind a car that’s doing 110 the car will automatically slow down. If it speeds up, it’ll speed up. You can literally drive for hours without touching the gas and brake.” 

His S80 also has a back-up camera, a built-in navigation system, Bluetooth, and a blind spot monitor system. 

“The only thing it doesn’t have which drives me crazy is an iPod dock and it doesn’t have satellite radio,” says Douglas who is working on a new TV pilot called Betwixt. His film credits include X-Men 2, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, White Noise, Catwoman, and I, Robot. 

“I like Volvos because not many people have them. I drive all over western Canada and western U.S. and it is very rare that you see the make and model of my car. So many people have BMWs and Mercedes. I like the fact that this is unique and that aren’t many like it, which is probably how I see myself. It’s quirky that’s for sure,” he says. “It likes to be clean. It likes the limelight. It likes when everybody goes, ‘Hey what is that?’ 

“The last car I had was the S40 T5 and I loved that car. I came back to get another car and I was looking at Volvo, Lexus, Mercedes, and Infiniti. I went to the Mercedes dealership and nobody would talk to me. I get frustrated when it’s poor service,” he says. “I went to Volvo and the guy was great. I wanted something a little bigger and a little sportier than the S40 because I’m dragging around hockey bags and golf clubs. I took the S80 for a spin and I loved it, so I went with that.” 

His first car was a 1978 Ford Fairmont. “My grandfather worked at the Oakville Ford plant for 35 years and so it was sacrilege to buy anything but a Ford. I remember when I was 11 or 12, my dad bought a Nissan Sentra and my grandfather didn’t speak to him for two weeks. ‘We didn’t fight those guys in the war for you to …’ He was so serious. I swore when I bought my first car it was going to be a Ford – I didn’t care what it was. So I got this Ford Fairmont for $1,200 and I drove that thing into the ground, literally.” 

 


The Bridge star Aaron Douglas and his Volvo S80

 

He had some close calls with it, too. “My most terrifying memory is falling asleep driving back from Calgary in my Fairmont and waking up upside down and a bunch of people, ambulance, and cops peeling me away from my car. That wasn’t good.” 

Later, he bought a 1981 Volkswagen Cabriolet. “I loaded four of my friends in, we put the top down and we drove from Kelowna to Vancouver to see a B.C. Lions game. It took us about six hours there and back. We laughed hysterically the entire time,” says the 38-year-old actor. 

He also owned a 1990 Ford Mustang, followed by a Ford Taurus. “You can’t compare the cars built in Europe with the cars built in North America. North American cars are big and they drive like boats. They don’t feel tight. My car is a big car, but it feels like a small car. It’s very tight, compact and handles very well. A lot of the components are probably made out of plastic but it doesn’t feel plastic. Whereas American cars are big, noisy, and cheap – that’s what I’Ve experienced in the past.” 

Douglas changes cars every two-three years, but he hasn’t thought about replacing his Volvo yet. 

“There’s nothing else out there that I see and go I want that. I still get in it and say, ‘Wow, that’s my car’.”

INTERVIEW: WV actor lays down the law on The Bridge

WV actor lays down the law on The Bridge
By: Jerome Turner
Date: April 16, 2010
Source: North Shore News

 

Aaron Douglas keeps it real in post Battlestar Galactica world 


North Vancouver actor Aaron Douglas stars as Frank Leo in the new CTV series The Bridge. Photograph by : NEWS photo Mike Wakefield

Aaron Douglas, currently playing street-wise cop Frank Leo in the new CTV series The Bridge, in real life enjoys his home on the North Shore and getting fired up about hockey. 

Best known in science-fiction circles for his role as Chief Gaylen Tyrol in the Battlestar Galactica series, Douglas likes to play Canada’s game in his ever-shrinking spare time. 

Growing up admiring players like Richard Brodeur, Kirk McLean and Ron Hextall solidified his choice to be a goalie, and also illustrates his pull toward the spotlight. 

“I think I like the fact that I am always on the ice,” says Douglas. “I can be the hero or the goat.” 

Douglas compares his style of goaltending to Ron Hextall, especially when protecting the sanctity of the sacred blue ice. 

“If you got near (Hextall’s) crease, he’d chop you down like a big oak. I like that guy,” says Douglas. “I don’t know if I’ve broken any ankles, but I’ve chopped a lot of people down that’s for sure.” 

His netminding skills and celebrity status got him into this year’s Gordie Howe Pro-Am in Edmonton April 10-11, where he faced shots from former NHL stars like Lanny McDonald, Glen Anderson, Wendel Clark and Paul Coffee. The event raised $1 million for Alzheimer’s research. 

Having played an event like this before, he did what he could to recover from an injury sustained four years ago. 

“I tore my groin playing in Whistler,” says Douglas. “I’ve been scrambling to try and get back in playing weight so I can stand up and make a save.” 

For rest and relaxation he likes to head to the North Shore. 

“Whenever I get a chance, I come home.” said Douglas. “It’s my favorite place to be in the world. It’s nice and quiet.” 

While filming season one of The Bridge in Toronto Douglas swapped houses with Canucks back-up goalie Andrew Raycroft, but this does not mean he has any kinship with the Maple Leafs. 

“I would never cheer for the Leafs. I am an unabashed Leaf-hater,” he says. “The Canucks will always be my boys.” 

When he is not stopping Hall of Famers, filming or at home; he is fulfilling the needs of his loyal fan base from his former role in BSG at comic conventions around the world. 

Last month he was in Seattle, earlier this month he was in San Fancisco and will be in Chicago from April 19-22. 

He attends functions regularly and because of his openness his followers may have crossed over to The Bridge. 

“Everybody that watched BSG will watch at least one episode of whatever show former BSG actors move on to just to see if it’s their kind of thing,” says Douglas. 

The Bridge posted the largest audience for a Canadian drama when it drew more than a million viewers for the two-hour premiere March 5. 

Leo, Douglas’ character, is the centre of the fast-paced show that is loosely based on former Metro Toronto policeman Craig Bromell, who is also a writer and producer of The Bridge. 

Douglas received tips on how a cop moves and where his equipment goes from Bromell and everything else is from the script. 

“My character follows Craig’s ascension,” says Douglas. “But I don’t play Craig. I play, Frank Leo, the character as I see him.” 

Leo is voted union representative after suggesting a lock-in strike in support of two colleagues being wrongfully accused. After most cops in the city support the cause the two cops have their charges dropped. 

Corruption has infiltrated the Metro force and Leo becomes a target because of his ability to do the right thing as union rep. 

No mention is ever made to what city The Bridge occurs. 

“It’s big city cops in anytown U.S.A.” says Douglas. 

 

CBS is partner in producing the show, but no date has been set for release on American television. 
The Bridge runs every Friday night at 10 p.m. PST.

INTERVIEW (VIDEO): eTalk – Aaron Douglas Interview (March 19, 2010)

eTalk – Aaron Douglas interview
Date: March 19th, 2010
Source: eTalk

Friday’s edition of eTalk aired an interview with Aaron. He talks about the episode that aired on Friday (1×04: The Unguarded Moment) and there is a few scenes from that episode. The scene isn’t too spoilery so you should check it out and watch our man Frank Leo in action.

New action in store on ‘The Bridge’
An all-new episode of ‘The Bridge’ is set to air Friday night on CTV, and star Aaron Douglas is dishing about what to expect.

INTERVIEW (VIDEO): ET Canada – Aaron Douglas Interview (March 17, 2010)

Below is a video interview with Aaron (on the set of THE BRIDGE) that aired on ET Canada on March 17th, 2010.

So great to see our guy smiling :)

INTERVIEW: Crossing The Bridge from sci-fi to cop drama

Crossing The Bridge from sci-fi to cop drama
By: Ian Johnston
Date: March 8th, 2010
Interviewees: Aaron Douglas and Craig Bromell
Source: Metro Canada

 

Aaron Douglas’ face may be splashed all over subway stations and bus stops these days, but it hasn’t changed who he is in the minds of fans.

Douglas – who is currently starring in the new CTV cop series The Bridge – says he still gets recognized for that other role – as Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica.

“It’s funny because I’ll be in the street and here’s my face everywhere (for The Bridge) but people still come up and want to talk about Battlestar Galactica.”

That wasn’t always so. When Battlestar premiered in 2003, it didn’t exactly earn immediate respect.

“It was scoffed at by critics when it came out. But viewers loved it. Now I feel it’s transformed a little how people look at science fiction,” says Douglas.

The Bridge is sure to help change people’s image of the actor. In the series he plays Frank Leo, a tough-as-nails beat cop who is driven by his own anger at the system to become the head of the police union.

That act puts him right between the police brass and the cops he works with. It’s a balancing act that Leo must negotiate on a daily basis.

“It’s not a pro-cop show, which I think maybe people might expect. But it’s a pretty factual, truthful one,” says The Bridge creator Craig Bromell, a former Toronto police union head, who serves as executive producer on the series.

“I think he (Douglas) really nailed the part. He got it.”

Still, being realistic can get pretty dark at times. Bad cops, drug deals, corruption, blackmail, suicide — it’s all in The Bridge and more.

“I showed it to a couple of cop friends and they liked it, though they wished there were less bad cops,” says Douglas.

“So I asked them if they knew any bad cops. And they said of course. I think what it (The Bridge) plays on is that cops are just human beings.”

 

INTERVIEW (AUDIO): 104.5 CHUM FM (March 5, 2010)

104.5 CHUM FM
Interviewers: Roger, Darren and Marilyn (Roger Ashby, Darren B. Lamb, Marilyn Denis)
Date: March 5, 2010
Duration: 09:39
Source: 104.5 CHUM FM – Roger, Darren & Marilyn

I found the podcast of Aaron’s interview on 104.5 CHUM FM. I downloaded it and edited it to just Aaron’s part.

The play a game called ‘Casting Couch’ where they recreate a scene from a movie and people call in and try and guess what movie it is and they win a prize. Then they talk to Aaron about THE BRIDGE (no spoilers).

INTERVIEW: New CTV series modelled on Toronto police union boss

New CTV series modelled on Toronto police union boss
Date: March 5th, 2010
Source: CBC News

 

In his portrayal of Toronto beat cop turned union chief Craig Bromell in the new series The Bridge, actor Aaron Douglas says he channeled Tony Soprano, “if he was a cop.”

The role of Frank Leo is based on Bromell, a powerful and controversial figure who stepped down as union boss and resigned from the Toronto police force in 2003.

Bromell is executive producer of the series, which debuts Friday on CTV.

Douglas, a Vancouver actor whose last big role was as Chief Galen Tyrol in Battlestar Galactica, says he didn’t use Bromell as a model as he stepped into the role of Frank Leo.

“I don’t really tie it to Craig Bromell,” he told CBC Radio’s Q cultural affairs show on Friday.

“Craig was really there to show me how to wear my nightstick and show me how to get out of the car and …. where to put the donuts on the dashboard.

“Other than that, I just kind of pick up the character off the page and play it for a real human being.”

Bromell’s story is tied to the Toronto force, where he led a wildcat strike in 1995 and fought management over issues such as charges laid against officers for mistreating black citizens.

 

Although it was Bromell who first pitched the idea of the series and it takes place in a Canadian city, The Bridge is not overtly Toronto-centred.

“It could be based anywhere — a cop is a cop is a cop,” Douglas said. “They all have similar issues.”

But he agrees the show reflects Bromell’s abrasive approach and sometimes comes across as dark and gritty.

“He is polarizing, and I think the show w“Very few people are going to land on the fence.”ill be polarizing, too,” he said.

Douglas sees similarities between Leo and Battlestar Galactica’s Chief Tyrol.

“I thi“They are both blue collar guys who work hard, and it’s all about protecting the people who can’t stand up for themselves.nk they would go to a bar and sit down and have a beer together,” he said.

“He’s a loyal standup guy and will do whatever it takes to protect the men and women. The character is very complex. He’s very flawed.”

The show, which has been sold to CBS, has shot 11 episodes in addition to the pilot. Douglas said he got the call to take the job just as Galactica wrapped its final two weeks.

Shooting took place over five months last year, but the TV debut kept getting postponed, he said.

INTERVIEW (VIDEO): Canada AM – Aaron Douglas Interview and Tour of ‘The Bridge’ set (March 5, 2010)

Aaron Douglas Interview and Tour of ‘The Bridge’ set
By: Seamus O’Regan (Canada AM)
Date: March 5, 2010
Source: CTV News (Top Picks: The Bridge)

 

This morning (March 5, 2010) Aaron was interviewed on Canada AM in Toronto. The first video is Aaron being interview in the CANADA AM studio. In the second video Aaron takes Seamus on a tour of the set of ‘The Bridge’.

Canada AM: Aaron Douglas, ‘The Bridge’
Canadian actor Aaron Douglas stars in CTV’s ‘The Bridge.’ He plays union boss Frank Leo, who takes on upper management and tries to clean up his corrupt police force.
http://watch.ctv.ca/news/top-picks/the-bridge/#clip272852

 

Canada AM: Tour of ‘The Bridge’ set
Take a look at CTV’s new police drama ‘The Bridge’ from the inside, with a behind-the-scenes tour of their Police Protective Association office and on-screen hangout.
http://watch.ctv.ca/news/top-picks/the-bridge/#clip272818

Posted: Friday, March 5th, 2010 @ 9:14am ET
Source: http://twitter.com/theaarondouglas/status/10025540027

INTERVIEW (VIDEO): InnerSPACE – Aaron Douglas Interview (March 5, 2010)

InnerSPACE – Aaron Douglas Interview
By: Teddy Wilson
Date: March 5, 2010
Source: InnerSPACE

INTERVIEW (VIDEO): Q CBC Radio – Aaron Douglas Interview (March 5, 2010)

Q CBC Radio – Aaron Douglas Interview
By: Jian Ghomeshi (Q CBC Radio)
Date: March 5, 2010
Source: Qtv (YouTube channel)

 

Police Drama ‘The Bridge’ on Q TV

Video Description: Aaron Douglas, who plays Frank Leo in the Police Drama ‘The Bridge’, sat down with Q host Jian Ghomeshi to talk about the show.

INTERVIEW (VIDEO): The Canadian Press – Aaron Douglas and Craig Bromell Interview (March 4, 2010)

The Canadian Press – Aaron Douglas and Craig Bromell interview
By: Victoria Ahearn
Date: March 4, 2010
Source: Toronto Sun

 

INTERVIEW (VIDEO): 102.1 The Edge – Aaron Douglas Interview (March 4, 2010)

By: Fearless Fred (102.1 The Edge)
Date: March 4, 2010
Source: 1021theedge (YouTube)

Aaron Douglas of Battlestar Galactica Interview on The Edge

Video Description: Fearless Fred interviews Aaron Douglas (The Chief) from Battlestar Galactica as they discuss Aaron’s new TV show “The Bridge”.

INTERVIEW: ‘Bridge’ not biography

‘Bridge’ not biography – Former union head says Canadian cop series fictional
By: Victoria Ahearn
Date: March 3, 2010
Interviewees: Craig Bromell, Aaron Douglas and Paul Popowich
Source: Telegraph-Journal

 

TV: Former union head says Canadian cop series fictional

TORONTO – In the new cop series The Bridge, debuting Friday on CTV and CBS, Aaron Douglas plays a tough police officer turned union head battling top brass and an “old boys’ network” as he cleans up the force.

Though the storylines are inspired by the insights of outspoken former Toronto police union head Craig Bromell, the events and characters are purely fictional, he insists.

“My life with the union is very well documented – it’s in the public, there’s no way around it – so I wanted … a fictional side to this primarily because it’s an international story,” Bromell, an executive producer and adviser on the show, said in a recent interview.

“That’s what I was trying to get out more than anything is: ‘Yeah, I’ve lived a certain situation, I was quite prominent in law enforcement in this country, but these stories could happen anywhere.'”

Bromell became president of the Toronto Police Association in 1997 at age 37, after a lengthy career on the force. He left his post in 2003 and went on to do a radio show in the city.

Several years ago, when Bromell heard someone was writing an unauthorized book on him, he thought of the idea for the series. “I really wanted to try to set the record straight on what goes on behind the scenes of any police service anywhere in the world,” he said.

He joined forces with Adam J. Shully to form 990 Multi Media Entertainment, and asked five-time Gemini Award-winning writer Alan Di Fiore (Da Vinci’s Inquest) to write a drama that showed the personal side of law enforcement.

The series title is inspired by a bridge that separates two Toronto neighbourhoods – one wealthy and one low-income – that Bromell’s unit patrolled when he was an officer.

He also says some on the force were worried that the series would spill secrets. When the pilot was being shot for CTV in Toronto in 2008 (CTV later picked it up as a series, followed by CBS), Bromell says some of his friends were offered money (he wouldn’t say who made such offers) to visit the set and find out what revelations were in the plot.

“They were being offered large sums of money to come up to me and say, ‘Listen, what story did you use in there?'”

“It happened several times … I think the highest offer was three-thousand bucks.”

Douglas, a Vancouver native, signed on as the lead, Frank Leo, right after the conclusion of his last series, the heralded sci-fi drama Battlestar Galactica.

He said he was drawn to the script because it shows the “real gritty, grimy stuff” in law enforcement.

“So many of the cop shows are that real glorious, glamorous: cops run in and save the day and the bad guys lose.

“It’s so refreshing to have a real human drama. I’m coming off Battlestar which did for sci-fi kind of what I hope this show does for cop shows,” said Douglas.

Added Hamilton’s Paul Popowich, who plays Frank’s partner, Tommy Dunn: “We’re trying to capture what it is about the (police) experience, what it is about the day-to-day that hasn’t really been seen in other shows of the genre.”

The police force in the 13-part series isn’t set in a particular city.

From a procedural point of view, the show is authentic, but it does have a “Hollywood spin,” said Bromell.

Any comparisons between him and Frank Leo stop at their job title, he added.

“The crime reporters that covered me for six years might think there are some comparisons … but the truth of the matter is with my character, with all the other characters that are around Frank Leo, it’s just not there.”

 


An abbreviated version of this article appeared in the MetroNews on March 5th, 2010.

 


Photo credit: Jo (canadiangirl_86)

INTERVIEW: The Bridge leads to grey areas behind the thin blue line

The Bridge leads to grey areas behind the thin blue line
By: Joshua Ostroff
Date: March 3rd, 2010
Interviewees: Alan Di Fiore and Aaron Douglas
Source: Eye Weekly

 

 

There’s no lack of cop shows on TV. Never has been. They fill too many essential criteria to become passé — workplace drama, mystery solving, random violence — and police officers make easy heroes because, ideally, they protect the public. Except, of course, when they don’t.

That’s the territory into which The Bridge crosses. Inspired by the controversial career of former Toronto police union boss Craig Bromell — who serves as executive producer — the new CTV series revolves around beat-cop-turned-union-rabble-rouser Frank Leo (Battlestar Galactica’s “Chief” Aaron Douglas).

“Anybody in the public domain is going to be controversial,” Douglas says recently during a break from shooting at a Toronto waterfront parking garage. “JFK, there were people who didn’t like him. Obviously. But there are a lot of warts. [Bromell] has no problem showing his faults, his foibles, the mistakes he’s made. The show will be very balanced.”

Few cop serials have delved into union politics. Police unions don’t exist to protect the public but to protect the police, even when they harm the public. The Bridge’s two-hour pilot doesn’t pussyfoot around this notion — there’s no politically correct crackdown on arguably excessive force. Instead, Leo’s concerned with protecting some cops who accidentally kill a teenage boy.

In another incident that occurs before he becomes union boss, Leo is among a group of officers who fire 68 bullets into a grandma who, though involved in some nefariousness, is still a grandma. The first time we meet Leo he’s blustering to a young kid: “don’t fight me little man, I’ll throw you into traffic, I swear I will.”

Those words came from Alan Di Fiore, an award-winning writer who had previously worked on the series Da Vinci’s Inquest, inspired by Vancouver coroner-turned-mayor Larry Campbell. But while Campbell was a consultant, Bromell has actual creative control.

“Craig is a very smart guy and he knows that there are going to be various takes on his life, so we’re basically trying to show his perspective,” Di Fiore says, acknowledging the Rashômon-like danger of showing differing points of view. “We also want to honestly show how other people felt about it, too. Obviously, we’re telling his story to a certain extent, but I want to emphasize it’s inspired by his life. Frank Leo isn’t Craig Bromell. He is, and he isn’t.”

Given CTV’s co-production deal with CBS, who bought Flashpoint but have yet to put The Bridge on their prime-time sked, obvious Toronto references have been scrubbed. Still, the “Bridge” is basically Bromell’s old 51 Division, incorporating both Rosedale and Regent Park.

The wildcat strike that Bromell led in real life, precipitating his election as union boss, does makes it into the show and seems shockingly unheroic to a civilian eye. There’s corruption shown at all levels, including the self-serving police brass and sleazy politicians, but ultimately The Bridge seems to sell Bromell’s line that Internal Affairs and the civilian-run Police Board are detrimental to policing.

When someone asks Leo if he thinks cops should be held to a higher standard, his response is “not when it is being used to screw with them.” Later, a prosecutor is disparaged as a dangerous “zealot” because “he really believes he is protecting the public from bad cops,” as if that weren’t admirable. Certainly, Leo doesn’t seem admirable when smirking that the “contagious fire” shooting spree at grandma’s truck was necessary because, “it was a really big pickup.”

“Many cop shows are watered down and pure-hero and it all wraps up at the end and the bad guy gets caught,” says Douglas. “The [real-life]cops aren’t always the ‘good guys.’ They make mistakes. They’re doing it with the best of intentions, but they’re real people.”

Watching the rank and file grumble about use-of-force restrictions as their union leader rages against oversight makes it hard to root for the beat cops, even in the face of dangerous streets and corrupt management, because they seem to be fighting for a freer hand to beat people down.

By showing what Di Fiore calls “the things that happen to cops between the things that happen to cops,” The Bridge removes the police force’s perennial white hat to reveal the many shades of grey behind that thin blue line.

 

» THE BRIDGE DEBUTS MARCH 5 AT 9PM ON CTV, AND AIRS SUBSEQUENTLY ON FRIDAYS AT 10PM

INTERVIEW (VIDEO): eTalk – Aaron Douglas and Paul Popowich Interview (March 3, 2010)

Date: March 3, 2010
Source: eTalk

On Wednesday (March 3, 2010) eTalk aired a feature on THE BRIDGE. There are a couple of snippets from an old interview with Aaron Douglas and some new scenes from the premiere episode.

video description: etalk showcases a new police series on CTV, ‘The Bridge,’ which premieres Friday.

INTERVIEW: ‘It has to be the most authentic cop series going’

‘It has to be the most authentic cop series going’
By: Michael Posner
Date: March 3rd, 2010
Interviewees: Craig Bromell, Alan Di Fiore and Aaron Douglas
Source: The Globe and Mail

 

Former officer and Toronto police union leader Craig Bromell says The Bridge captures the complicated nuances of a cop’s life

 


[From left, Frank Cassini, Paul Popowich and Theresa Joy in character from The Bridge]

 

It’s hard to think of a new Canadian TV series that has generated as much preliminary buzz as CTV’s The Bridge.

Billed as a hard-hitting take on life inside a major urban police force, it comes with an impressive creative pedigree, including lead actor Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica), five-time Gemini Award-winning writer Alan Di Fiore (Da Vinci’s Inquest) and producer Laszlo Barna.

But everyone associated with the production –- it premieres with a two-hour pilot on Friday night and continues for another 11 episodes – knows that its soul belongs to former Toronto police officer Craig Bromell, who is executive producer for the series.

A constant thorn in the side of the force’s leadership, Bromell led a brief wildcat strike in 1995, protesting a decision to charge two constables with mistreating black citizens. Later, as president of the 7,500-man Toronto police union (1997-2003), he spearheaded a campaign to tackle crime and corruption – not just on the street, but inside higher command. He became a powerful and polarizing figure, adored by much of the rank-and-file, feared and detested by many senior officers and local politicians.

It’s that internecine element Bromell and his team are trying to inject into the popular, but crowded, genre of cop drama. The show’s central character, Frank Leo (Douglas), is largely based on Bromell. The title comes from the actual bridge that separates the verdant lawns of Toronto’s upper-crust Rosedale neighbourhood from its hard-core crime zones south of Bloor Street – an area Bromell patrolled for part of his 26 years on the force.In the series, the physical bridge becomes a metaphor for other dualities, including the gulf separating commanding officers from the rank and file.

 


[Aaron Douglas as Frank Leo in The Bridge. The character is based on former police-union head Craig Bromell]

 

“Few institutions are as political as a major metropolitan police force,” says Bromell. “Cops hate drug dealers, that’s true. But they hate brass even more. The tough part of the job is inside the building. And it’s the same everywhere.”

As a TV project, The Bridge was born shortly after Bromell left the police force in 2003. He made a segue into radio, hosting a talk-show on Toronto radio station AM640 (where he still serves as a part-time consultant on police issues).

One day, at his favourite watering hole, Toronto’s upscale Bistro 990 – “all of my important union decisions were made there, over fish,” says Bromell – he met TV producer Adam Shully (Blood Ties, Odyssey 5). Both thought the Bromell story had series potential and took the concept initially to Barna and, with him, to CHUM, which commissioned 10 episodes. When CTV acquired CHUM in 2006, the project was temporarily shelved, but later revived. CTV ordered a two-hour pilot, shot in the summer of 2008. Later, they ordered the rest of the series and sold it to CBS. The U.S. network has yet to announce an American launch date.

“It’s actually better that we had that delay,” Bromell explained in an interview on the set. “It needed more time. And it gave us a chance to get Alan Di Fiore on board. The key thing is it has to be real – every little detail. You have to really believe that you’re with the cops out there. It has to be the most authentic cop series going, because everyone will be coming after us. Because of my background, this thing will be picked at, picked at, picked at.”

 


[A scene from The Bridge’s premiere episode, Red Door / Paint It Black. Star Aaron Douglas is shown standing on the right]

 

Bromell grew up in Oshawa, the son of a city employee. Influenced by the writing of Joseph Wambaugh, the former Los Angeles policeman turned novelist, and by TV cop shows, which he consumed voraciously as a teenager (The Rockford Files, The Mod Squad, Police Story, Dragnet), he joined the force at 18.

Di Fiore was an obvious candidate for the writing assignment, having been a key part of the team responsible for Da Vinci’s Inquest, CBC’s long-running series about a cop turned crusading coroner, and CBS’s short-lived FBI series The Handler.

He’d always wanted to write and, convinced that writers should write what they know, hit the road after college to gain life experience. He worked as a union organizer among Mexican-Americans, and then came to Canada, employed variously as a fish-packer, as a herring fisherman, in a dog food factory, as a log salvager and finally as part-owner of a jazz club, Pagliacci’s in Victoria.

It was a visit to the club by actor-director Stuart Margolin that led to Di Fiore’s first TV credit – Vendetta, a miniseries shot in Rome.

When The Bridge was in development, Barna, who produced Da Vinci, recommended him to Bromell. “I’d never met him or even known about him,” says Di Fiore. “But when Craig told me the bones of his story, I was riveted. Except for Wambaugh, in prose, no one has ever done the story of the ordinary street cop.”

Approaching the pilot script, Di Fiore said he had a brief chat with Bromell, but cut him off at a certain point. “I felt if I knew too much about his particular story, it would limit me creatively. So most of the storyline and most of the other characters are invented.”

He wrote the first draft in 21 days. “I wanted to contemporize the story, because the truth is, rank and file cops today are still battling the brass as much as they’re battling the drug dealers on the street.”

Lead actor Douglas, a Vancouver native, didn’t try to model the character directly on Bromell. “I just wanted to make Frank Leo a real guy. It’s a fictional character based on Craig’s life. I don’t put a lot of forethought into the scene. My approach is to say the words as simply as you can. Don’t try to act. Just be naturalistic.”

Ultimately, naturalism is also Bromell’s ambition – to accurately depict the true, hugely complicated nature of a cop’s life.

“No one,” he promises, “will be able to come back to us and say: ‘That’s not how it is. It’s not that way.’ No, I’m sorry. It is that way and that’s how we’re going to show it.”

 

The Bridge premieres Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, then moves to a regular Friday, 10 p.m. ET/PT timeslot on March 12.

INTERVIEW: Aaron Douglas Takes on ‘The Bridge’

Aaron Douglas Takes on ‘The Bridge’
By: Chris Jancelewicz
Date: March 2, 2010
Source: AOL Canada – Inside TV

 

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.

AOL TV 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 CTV on Friday, March 5 at 9 pm ET. Its regular timeslot will be Fridays at 10 pm ET, beginning March 12.