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Actress Talks Playing Character with Autism on Award-Winning TV Show

July 09, 2014

Autism Speaks Staffer Kerry Magro interviewed actress Diane Kruger (National Treasure, Inglorious Basterds) who plays a character with Asperger Syndrome on the hit FX series “The Bridge.” You can tune into the season 2 premiere of "The Bridge" tonight at 10 PM ET/9 PM CT on FX!

Kerry Magro: Thanks for sitting down with us Diane. Can you tell us a little about your character in Sonya Cross and how you first got involved with the FX Series "The Bridge."

Diane Kruger: Sonya Cross is a detective with the El Paso PD. She's a very accomplished detective, who has the ability to focus on details that others don't see. She also has Asperger's. The Bridge is the American adaptation of the Scandinavian show, called "Broen." We followed the Scandinavian story lines for season 1, but for season 2 we are venturing out. This season is a dark and intriguing web of stories set on the El Paso/Juarez border. I wanted to be part of the project for it's relevant context and to explore a character as complex as Sonya who is living with Asperger's and yet manages to live a full and successful life.

KM: Was there any special preparation you did while getting ready to play the role?

DK: Autism Speaks has been a big part of helping me understand what Asperger's is, how it manifests itself and what the daily challenges are for people who live with it. It's been a long journey for me and I try to educate myself as much as I can. I feel a deep commitment and duty to portray a woman who lives with Asperger's to the best of my abilities and I am very grateful for the help and encouragement I have received so far from the community.

KM: How has it been working with autism self-advocate Alex Plank on the show?

DK: He's essential to me and the show. He meets with me and every director and points out the moments that are not to be missed. I know he always has my back and I rely heavily on him.

Watch Alex Plank's interview with Diane Kruger below...

KM: What would you say is one the biggest things you've learned about autism from being on the show and playing a character with Asperger's?

DK: How often people misunderstand what Asperger's is and the negative reaction it can provoke in people. We never say that Sonya has Asperger's on the show, and at the beginning reactions to her ranged from bewildered-to-why is she so rude and bitchy? It took quite a few episodes for people to be able to look past her "oddness" and now it's a complete 180. People find her quirkiness endearing and fun and just different enough. 

 

KM: What do you hope people take away about autism from watching the show?

DK: That we should embrace what's different and not judge quite so easily. Autism can be incredibly isolating for people who live with it and just a little encouragement and understanding can help a lot. 

KM: What's next for you? Any fun projects coming up?

DK: Once the show is wrapped, I will be doing a French film called "Sky."

Have you seen the show so far? Tell us what you think in the comments! Remember to tune into the season 2 premiere of "The Bridge" which airs tonight at 10 PM ET/9 CT on FX!