6 Questions with RECTIFY Star Sean Bridgers
RECTIFY fans were shocked to see the role that Trey (Sean Bridgers) played in last season’s finale. We spoke to Sean about his Southern roots, what to watch out for while disposing of a body and the movie that inspired him to pursue an acting career.
Q: There are so many questions surrounding the murder of Hanna Dean. Trey clearly knows more than he’s telling. Do you know things too?
A: I think Trey does know more than he has told anybody. There’s more to it than he even told the police. I don’t think Trey knows [who killed Hanna] but he does have his theories. I think we’ll learn more about that.
Q: In the Season 1 finale, Trey undresses and dumps George’s corpse in the river. Can you take us through filming that scene. Was it as creepy for you to film as it was for us to watch?
A: First of all, I had to stand around in my underwear all day. I got over that pretty quick. I’m not terribly vain. If you’ve ever seen me with my shirt off, you’d know why. It might’ve been creepy for other people. [laughs] It was hot outside, so being in the river was not uncomfortable. The scene was so creepy and cool, I never thought for one minute about being uncomfortable. I could see how beautiful it would be, and what a perfect way to end the first season. The only thing you worry about is snapping turtles.
Q: If you were going to dispose of a dead body, how might you do it?
A: Fortunately, I don’t really know. [The way Trey did it] did seem a bit short-sighted in some ways. I think that might tell us a bit about Trey. But then again, he didn’t have a lot of time. It doesn’t seem like a great way to dispose of a body, but at least he sort of pushed the question down the creek, so to speak. I don’t think Trey thinks things through necessarily. But he’s good at playing the hand that he’s dealt.
Q: You’ve said that Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies was a big influence on your career. What about his performance inspired you?
A: I saw Tender Mercies when I was about 15. My friend had seen the poster and said, “Hey, there’s a Western with Burt Reynolds, let’s go see it.” This was like 1983. And we went to see it, and of course it wasn’t Burt Reynolds, it was Robert Duvall. But on the poster, it’s a guy with a mustache and a cowboy hat. In 1983, you assumed that was Burt. My friends left [the theater] after like 10 minutes. I stayed. I had never seen a movie like that. I just got completely hooked into this guy’s story. I didn’t know who Robert Duvall was. He just seemed like a real person, like people I grew up with.
It was the first time I thought that I could be an actor. Up until that point, my idea of who an actor was was, like, Roger Moore. It’s not like now where you have Netflix. The only movies I saw were whatever came to my hometown. And those people were “movie stars.” I knew I wasn’t going to be a movie star, but maybe an actor. I love [Tender Mercies]. Robert Duvall is my acting hero. I’ve seen just about every movie he’s done.
Because of [Tender Mercies], I started reading Horton Foote’s work. There’s another movie he wrote, The Trip to Bountiful starring Geraldine Page. That’s another performance—she was like my grandmother. I thought “did they find some woman from a local theater in Texas?” She was so spot-on and real. That’s something I tried to aspire to.
Q: Was Tender Mercies the first time you had seen your life depicted on the big screen?
A: Yeah. To see [a movie] about Southern people where the story is invested in their lives and the Klu Klux Klan doesn’t show up at any point, that’s generally what it was. The only television growing up where I felt proud to be a Southerner was The Andy Griffith Show. The rest of it was like The Dukes of Hazzard. We watched it, and we loved it, but Tender Mercies just hit home for me. It took me a long time to realize you have to be really good to make it look that easy. Also around that time I saw Tommy Lee Jones on PBS doing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. That just completely blew me away. If you’re Southern, you’re told you can’t be an actor. Not necessarily overtly, but it’s implied. So it’s nice to see people make it work.
Q: If you could have a different role in RECTIFY, which one would you like to play?
A: I’d like to play Amantha because I think [Luke] Kirby is so dreamy. [Laughs] I’m just so thrilled to be in it. Any role would be great. To be honest with you, I’ve never had a part in 23 years of doing this professionally that I didn’t think was pretty good. I tend to think my part is the best part. [Laughs]