Interview: "The Bridge" Star Eric Lange Talks Tonight's Season Finale and If "The Bridge" is the Next "Breaking Bad"

Interview: "The Bridge" Star Eric Lange Talks Tonight's Season Finale and If "The Bridge" is the Next "Breaking Bad"Photo by Corey Nickols

Good news for The Bridge fans: FX recently announced that the hit drama will be renewed for a second season. The high-stakes drama, which follows two detectives (played by Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir) investigating a serial killer terrorizing both Mexico and the U.S., ranked as the summer's top new scripted cable series, and for good reason. It's a compelling drama whose twists and turns keep viewers coming back for more. And one cast member in particular knows exactly what that's all about: Eric Lange, who plays former good guy (named Kenneth Hastings) turned hunted serial killer David Tate.

Complex got the chance to chat with Lange before tonight's season finale to discuss his character's double identity, what fans can expect next season, and how The Bridge can fill the void left by Breaking Bad.

Interview by Arianna Friedman

You had to keep your identity as the serial killer, David Tate, a secret from everyone, including the rest of the cast, until the eighth episode. Was it difficult to keep your involvement on the DL?
It did feel a bit like a second job at times, trying to keep everything from the cast and the crew. Not to mention my friends and family who were all incredibly curious about what I was doing on the show. People eventually start to guess and I just played dumb: "Well, you'll just have to wait and see!"  

 

I was very relieved when episode 8 came around and I could finally read the killer's lines and sit in front of everyone saying, 'Yes, I'm that guy.'

 

We would do table reads once a week as a cast and crew and, even then, I would only read Kenneth Hastings; someone else would read "K" (the killer's name in the script before he became known as David Tate). But I was very relieved when episode 8 came around and I could finally read the killer's lines and sit in front of everyone saying "Yes, I'm that guy."

Then I still had to wait for America to see it and the episode to air before my friends would find out. But I was very happy to have the cat out of the bag.

Many people are calling The Bridge "the next Breaking Bad." Will next season fill the void left by Walt Whitman and Jesse Pinkman?
Breaking Bad will leave a tremendous void. Personally, I think it's one of the best shows that have ever been put on television. So, it would be rather presumptuous to assume that our show could completely fill those very big shoes. But I did always feel that David Tate and Walter White had something in common. They were both, at one time, very normal men who, through a series of circumstances, became very bad men. I'd like to see Walter White and David Tate in a boxing ring, though I'm pretty sure he'd beat my ass.

Breaking Bad was a show that grew in its audience and its fan base gradually over time from the beginning to where it is now. So, as I see it, The Bridge is in its first season and it's just making new friends with television viewers. I hope that the show continues to gain an audience as it goes into its second season. And, as people who have never seen it watch it for the first time on their DVRs or Netflix or the like, I hope we're able to make fans of them as well.  But, basically, I hope people find it compelling, entertaining, and fun to watch.  

You’ve guest-starred on several hit shows—Lost, Weeds, Victorious—and cultivated a loyal yet assorted fan base. What has that been like?
Lost was unlike anything I'd done before and likely anything I will do in the near future.  It was a cultural phenomenon on a very large scale. And I've come to accept that, to many people, I will always be "Radzinsky." But I'm OK with that. Victorious has a very similar fan obsession, they're just much younger. To those people, I will always be "Sikowitz."  And, again, I'm OK with that, too. 

Then you have shows like Weeds and The Bridge which span a group of cable devotees and I'm more than happy to have them in my camp as well. It really is like a buffet of sorts. I'd like to have as many people as possible familiar with my work and, thankfully, because of the shows you've mentioned, I've got most of my bases covered, no matter what character name you might know me as. But, as far as fans go, I've experienced nothing but very sweet and kind people. I'm always happy to stop and chat or take an odd selfie with you on your camera phone.

You said it was a relief when you finally got to come out and reveal your dual identity as Kenneth Hastings/David Tate. Do you feel the same kind of relief/closure with this season finale or are you already immersed in season 2 and Tate's business with that?
At this point I'm happy to be out in the open as David Tate.  I always felt like I had this big surprise that I was going to get to share with the viewers. That surprise is now out and it's certainly a relief. But you always have different opinions about the outcome of that surprise. I know a lot of people don't like him, but he's definitely a necessary evil. I think he needed to teach Marco that when you throw a rock into a pond, there are ripples. And, in his way, David Tate is his own rock, causing his own ripples. 

I think a lot of people forget, he was on a task force in Juarez trying desperately to stop these girls from going missing, and he was thwarted by the officials there. Left helpless. There's a lot of anger that stems from that and it feeds into his whole game plan with Marco and the things he wanted to bring to light. Now that the pond is settling a bit, the waters are still quite murky. So we'll have to wait and see what becomes of David Tate, if anything, and see if Marco can handle the new world Tate's left him with. I do think, all in all, David accomplished much of what he set out to do. And he should have. After all, he planned it for years, right? But, for now, regarding the future for both men, the water is still very murky.  

Mr. Sikowitz, Kenneth Hastings, and Stuart Radzinsky are trapped on a deserted island. Who gets the last bit of Spam?
I would say Radzinsky, because he'd probably force them to give it to him at gunpoint. But Mr. Sikowitz could probably take that Spam and make something completely different and original out of it. Kenneth Hastings would probably just sit there and make the rest of them feel bad enough about getting the spam that they'd finally relent and give it to him instead.

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