On Hulu’s The Bear, actor Ebon Moss-Bachrach portrays Richie Jerimovich, a troubled chef who is unhappy with the changes imposed by the new owner of the restaurant. He spoke to Variety about portraying the emotionally complex character and talks about comparisons to the character he played on the HBO series Girls.
As an actor, Moss-Bachrach tries to focus on maintaining relaxation. He explains, “I try to relax and negotiate this tightrope walk of nerves. You need to be relaxed to be able to make art and surprise yourself.”
One thing he does not do is watch his finished projects, as he finds the post-production work unsettling. He says “It’s just post-production. There’s music and editing, and the performance can be manipulated and modulated. It’s less with The Bear than almost any other thing I’ve done. But oftentimes when I watch something, it’s so different from what I experienced on the day that it makes me feel powerless and self-conscious. And it’s not very helpful for me going forward. It makes me cynical, and that’s not a good place for someone to create from.”
Later in the interview, Moss-Bachrach took the opportunity to compare his character on The Bear with Desi, the character he played on Girls:
“I’m not ever concerned with whether they’re likable. I also loathe judging my characters. With someone like Desi in Girls, who is such a strongly written character, I see the joke. But I never want to take that easy path. Because there’s much more of a payoff for the story — and then for the joke, ultimately — if the person playing the character is really in their corner and not judging them. Trying to pursue that character’s happy ending and achieve the best life for them as possible. All the failures and shortcomings, those will happen. But you don’t need to lean into that stuff. The actions and events will take care of that, and you don’t need to understand the faults so much. The more you strive and get what they want, everything else will take care of itself.”