Bruce Greenwood On ‘The River’ And Why He Took The Role Of Dr. Emmet Cole

The River may have received the axe from ABC, but that doesn’t mean that fans love it any less. Recently Bruce Greenwood spoke about his role as Dr. Emmet Cole on the creepy good series. Check out what he had to say in our interview below!

Why did you decide to sign up for the role of Dr. Emmet Cole in The River?

Bruce Greenwood: I signed up for The River because the character of Dr. Emmet Cole was very different from anything I’ve played before. I play a lot of guys in suits, but this character was something new. It’s nice to play a man who is not a ‘cat in a suit’ with a hidden agenda.

Did you base your portrayal of Dr. Emmet Cole on any wildlife experts or conservationists in particular?

Bruce Greenwood: No, not really. I watched a lot of nature shows as a kid, so I had an idea in my mind about who I wanted Cole to be. However, my portrayal of this character isn’t based on anyone in particular.

Did you research the animals and environments that your character is familiar with?

Bruce Greenwood: With this show, you never know what you’re going to get handed on any given episode. Cole goes from knowing a great deal about the animals, the flora and fauna of the area to discovering more about the legends of the region, which is something he isn’t too familiar with.

Dr. Emmet Cole clearly has a passion for animals, but are you naturally good with them?

Bruce Greenwood: I am good with animals. In fact, I really like animals. I can calm them and they calm me. Do I have any pets? It’s a constant source of anguish for me, but I travel so much that I don’t have any animals at home. It’s a shame because I’d love to have pets. I just can’t right now.

The show’s pilot was filmed in Puerto Rico, but the rest of the series was shot in Hawaii. What were the major differences between the two locations?

Bruce Greenwood: Practically speaking, Puerto Rico is much further away in terms of time zones and mileage when you’re trying to run a show from Hollywood. In Puerto Rico, there was food that I’ve never had before, which was really interesting, but it made sense to shoot from Hawaii on a whole lot of levels, especially when a lot of your team hails from the West Coast.

The characters searching for Cole in the show find lots of old videos of him along the way. What was it like to film those short and often chilling pieces?

Bruce Greenwood: It was a completely new experience for me, especially as I had to hold the camera for many of the shots. We used all kinds of cameras, from big ones to little video cams, and sometimes it’s even strapped to our arms. All of the actors on The River get to shoot a little with the handheld cameras, which is really fun. It’s intense to try and balance what you have to do emotionally with what you have to do practically and logistically with the camera, though.

How does that affect your performance?

Bruce Greenwood: There’s a little more juggling involved than you’re used to. However, once you get the rhythm down, you can operate the camera and you can have part of your brain go: ‘I want to frame this is in a wonky way.’ You want to frame everything so it doesn’t feel perfect, but you also don’t want to be shooting right up your nose.

How often do you get to work with the rest of the cast, especially as your character is lost and everyone his hunting for him?

Bruce Greenwood: I’m not sure how much I want to give away by answering this question. For the first few episodes, I was definitely alone – but as I worked on the flashback scenes, I had the experience of working with the cast. Ultimately, we ended up working quite a bit together – but you’re going to have to watch the show if you want to know exactly what happens.

Be sure to check out The River: The Complete First Season on DVD May 22nd!


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