Jericho's Brad Beyer on His TV Sister's Death and the Show's Future
Brad Beyer, Jericho
In last week's episode of Jericho
(Tuesdays at 10 pm/ET, CBS), "Oversight," a gun-toting Bonnie Richmond (Shoshannah Stern) went out in a blaze of glory, fighting to save her family home. The image of Bonnie's big brother, Stanley — played by Brad Beyer
— cradling his sister's lifeless corpse was a heartbreaker. Here, Beyer shares his thoughts on how Bonnie's death will propel Season 2's final episodes, the fabulous Alicia Coppola (who plays Mimi), a Jericho
movie and why violence can sometimes be, well, funny.
TVGuide.com: To paraphrase the South Park guys: "They killed Bonnie!"
Brad Beyer: I know. It was unbelievable.
TVGuide.com: What did you think when you read of Bonnie's fate?
Beyer: I was very sad. Working with Shoshannah Stern has been one of the best experiences that I've ever had. She's amazingly talented. I thought the relationship between Stanley and Bonnie was one of the show's strongest. I had very mixed feelings about [losing Bonnie]. It's a definite loss to the show. As an actor, I get to [now] go places that I probably wouldn't have.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think Bonnie was killed off?
Beyer: I think the writers needed something to bring the town together against this crooked government. They needed a person who would do that, and Bonnie was that person. She makes people feel.
TVGuide.com: Using subtitles to explain what Stanley and Bonnie (who was deaf and used sign language) were talking about was effective in that it made watching their private conversations feel like eavesdropping. Did you know how to sign prior to Jericho?
Beyer: I didn't. Shoshannah and her interpreter Ramon have been extremely helpful. I've been learning as I go along. Shoshannah and I established early on that Bonnie reads lips, so [communicating between us] is a combination of signing and speaking. That was their way.
TVGuide.com: Do you have any siblings in real life?
Beyer: Yes. I have a younger sister, so I understand the dynamic. We're very close and I've drawn on that relationship in order to play Stanley. There's a certain overprotective nature that an older brother can have toward his younger sister.
TVGuide.com: There are already tributes to Bonnie on YouTube.com, another sign of Jericho's passionate online audience.
Beyer: I don't think our show's success can really be measured by just the Nielsen ratings. People are watching it on TiVo, online and they're downloading it, too. You really need to add another million [viewers] to our numbers.
TVGuide.com: Stanley and Mimi's relationship is a nice contrast to all the heaviness going on with the rest of the show. Skeet Ulrich's Jake always looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Beyer: Thanks. I think they offer some balance. You're right in that Skeet's character has to save the world. It's intense. Stanley and Mimi's relationship has shown that even in a complex situation, life can and does go on. [Stanley and Mimi] bring levity to the show. Alicia and I hit it off right away. She's an incredible actress.
TVGuide.com: How will Bonnie's death change Stanley? How will Mimi keep him grounded?
Beyer: The next few episodes are about Stanley and the town dealing with Bonnie's death. She'd been his life for as long as he can remember. It takes a toll on him and he goes to some dark places. Mimi does her best to help him, but she's suffering, too. I have to say these [most recent and upcoming] episodes are probably the best that we've ever done. They're pretty exciting.
TVGuide.com: Are you hopeful for a third season?
Beyer: I think we all are. We're hoping that the ratings will go up and we'll have a reason to be picked up. This has been one of the best experiences of my career. Our show got rave reviews; people don't really write things like that very often. It's a shame that hasn't yet transferred into higher numbers for us. We're all cautiously optimistic, but at the same time there's the reality of the situation.
TVGuide.com: In other words, there are only so many peanuts out there.
Beyer: Exactly. It would be frustrating to be canceled twice.
TVGuide.com: What's been keeping you busy since the show wrapped?
Beyer: A friend of mine and I wrote a comedy short. We used the Jericho crew and cast members to be a part of it. We're excited about it.
TVGuide.com: What's it about?
Beyer: It's called Straight Bashers. We realized that there have been all these shows about gay guys helping straight guys redo their apartments, become more cultured and dress better. So we came up with this crazy idea about these gangs of militant gay guys who were so tired of these straight guys and their bad taste that they went around beating them up, dressing them in designer clothes and dumping them on their lawns.
TVGuide.com: Sounds funny, but how do you walk that line where you don't offend?
Beyer: It's so campy and over-the-top. Everyone is lampooned. I don't think anyone could be offended because it's so ridiculous.
TVGuide.com: Anyone who caught your guest spot on Sex and the City knows you can make violence funny. You played a guy Charlotte had brunch with after he saved her from a pest at a bar. She soon found out that your character was a guy with some serious anger-management issues. It was pretty funny.
Beyer: Thank you. I think people laughed because of the absurdity of the situation. I played this Harvard graduate working on Wall Street, who, on the outside, looked like he had everything going for him, but he was just this crazy maniac who liked to fight. I have had more people come up to me and comment on that episode than I've ever had people come up to me about Jericho. It was such a brief role, but a lot of people remember me for that.
TVGuide.com: What's the status of your film?
Beyer: It's being edited and we're trying to get it into some gay and lesbian film festivals. I think that audience will appreciate it. For years the gay and lesbian community has been oppressed and bashed just for being who they are. Why not turn the tables?
TVGuide.com: Are you in it?
Beyer: Yes. Kenny [Kenneth] Mitchell [who plays Eric], Michael Gaston [who plays Gray] and Skeet are all in it. It's like an all-Jericho cast.
TVGuide.com: Do you get beat up?
Beyer: I do.
TVGuide.com: So that's some Sex and the City payback?
Beyer: [Laughs] Exactly. There you go!
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