As an industry veteran, Beau Bridges could be forgiven for a little nonchalance about awards. After all, this year sees him reach his 15th Emmy nomination (he’s won twice). But Bridges remains humble, saying, “Every time I get invited to the party it feels good. You know, it’s a nice time to acknowledge what we do as storytellers.”
This is his second nom for playing sexually-repressed provost Barton Scully in Masters of Sex–a role he calls “a fascinating turn.” He says, “I thought, ‘Okay, this is interesting. I can do this.’ And it wasn’t until the second or third episode that I found out, like all the characters, that beneath, they have such interesting stories. And Barton is a very tormented closeted gay man in the ’50s, at a time when ignorance was rampant in the land, unfortunately, and still is today. It was a great opportunity.”
Of his approach to playing the tortured Scully, Bridges says, “like any acting experience, you don’t do it alone. You have these fellow actors here, and you have some great ones like Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald, and Annaleigh Ashford, and I love working with Allison Janney. Just wonderful, wonderful actors.”
“I’m in unfettered waters,” Bridges says. “I’m really enjoying it. It’s a chance to lift up some rocks because, unfortunately, we do still seem to, as a culture, define ourselves by our sexual preference or the color of our skin. When it comes down to it, it’s your capacity to love. So what it really comes down to is, the love that they have for one another through it all. It’s a pretty interesting story to work on.”
Bridges was a teenager when Masters and Johnson’s Human Sexual Response was published in 1966, something that, he says, “turned everything upside down. Even at that time women were revered and put up on a pedestal and respected, but as far as sex and all that, it was women along for the ride. Masters and Johnson said, ‘No, you guys have got it wrong. The ladies are driving the bus.’ It’s just really changed the whole perspective. It’s very interesting to jump back into that time.”
Of moving forward on the show, Bridges says, “I would love to do more. I’ve just finished our last episode just a couple days ago and I haven’t heard if he’s coming back or not.”
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