‘Bridge & Tunnel’s Caitlin Stasey Reflects On The Season 1 Finale: Jill ‘Made The Right Choice’

'Bridge & Tunnel' star Caitlin Stasey revealed to HL EXCLUSIVELY why she doesn't automatically assume Jill and Jimmy get back together. Plus, she's got big season 2 hopes.

Caitlin Stasey
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Image Credit: EPIX/Everett Collection

Bridge & Tunnel’s first season left things open-ended for most of the characters, and Caitlin Stasey envisions an exciting future for Jill. She spoke with HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about the season 1 ending, the fate of Jill and Jimmy’s relationship, and nailing that Long Island accent.

For Caitlin, Jill is the girl that she “always” wished she was. The actress has a number of things in mind for Jill if the show were to get a second season, including a New York City-based season 2. Caitlin revealed that it’s been a “huge goal and a dream of mine to live and work in New York.” Read our full Q&A below:

Caitlin Stasey
Caitlin Stasey in ‘Bridge & Tunnel.’ (EPIX/Everett Collection)

The finale leaves things open-ended. Do you think Jimmy and Jill end up back together in the end? 
Caitlin Stasey: I think they probably go through a few rounds of this thing that they’re doing right now. They’ve known each other for so long because they’ve been together since they were 14. I love to imagine what that first “I’ll be your girlfriend” conversation was because I can only imagine Jimmy’s been in love with Jill since they were even smaller than that. I think what’s going to happen is he’s going to go away, and he’s going to see how big and exciting and expansive the world is. His jobs are only going to take him further and farther while she’s probably going to be slugging it out in New York. I’m hoping she gets to go to Paris and Milan for fun, but I think she’s going to meet a lot of really sexy guys in New York and maybe women, too. But it’ll be the ’80s, and that’s when a sh*tload of stuff was happening. It was so exciting. I feel like they’re both going to have their own single adventures for a while. I think they might end up back in each other’s lives, either in a romantic capacity or like that Gwen Stefani song “Cool,” the one about being best friends with your ex.

When they’re having that breakup talk beforehand about how this world is so big, and you can’t just marry the guy you’ve been in love with since you were 14… I feel like that’s such a real thing for so many people that come from small towns. It was so nice to not just tie them up in a really neat little bow with them together in the end.
Caitlin Stasey: I think oftentimes we sort of consider romantic love to be the greatest adventure that there is for young women, right? And what I really love about the dynamic between Jimmy and Jill is he’s the hopeless romantic. He’s the one who wants to lock her down. He’s the one who wants to get her pregnant, get married, and have a whole life with her starting today. And Jill’s like, I think that there’s more to this. She’s having a real Little Mermaid moment where she wants to be where other people are. I can fully empathize with that sensation. I think that the story of the couple who have known each other their whole lives and have been in love for just as long is beautiful. We’ve kind of immortalized that as the norm, when in fact it is exactly the opposite of that. Usually what happens is you realize that your brain isn’t even fully formed when you’re 21. You’re still a completely misshapen lump of clay that is yet to take on its actual form. I think she made the right choice. I think she’s f**king cool. Even though it’s scary, even though things aren’t really going her way, and she lost her job and her boyfriend’s leaving, she’s like, I’ll be fine. You just need to go away and give me some space to just figure it out. And she knows that she will.

In terms of Jill and her fashion career, do you think she got back in it eventually? 
Caitlin Stasey: I think she needs to find a really cool older mentor to take care of her. Not take care of her, but to lead her a little bit into the world that she wants to be in. Jill is a very sensible, very grounded person. I think she’s very dedicated to the things that she likes. What I would like to see happen for her is that she gets into costume designing and working on films. I see her more in that world than I do in strict fashion. Just because we have this gorgeous costume designer on set called Rosemary [Lepre Forman], who’s worked on most of Ed Burns’ projects. I’ve worked with her twice now, and whenever I look at her, I really see Jill. She’s just a cool chick in her jeans and a buttoned-down shirt. She knows what she wants and knows how to get it and is very in charge of her environment. That’s kind of what I want for Jill. I think Jill would do well to be like a costume designer on set, a wardrobe assistant on set, meeting movie stars. She could definitely bag a movie star.

The Long Island accent is such a specific accent. You are Australian, so tell me a little bit about that process to absolutely nailing that accent.
Caitlin Stasey: Thank you so much. I was so nervous. I spoke in that accent uninterrupted for about the five weeks that we were shooting. It’s such an intimidating one. It’s really specific, and if you’re not careful, it can sound like you’re making fun of it or that you don’t trust it. You don’t want to be too cartoonish, even though people from Long Island sometimes sound like they’re making fun of themselves. It’s the same with Australians. Anybody who’s from there knows what it sounds like to be from here. There’s a very strict balance with being over the top and very expressive and very big with the sound and also being a human being. It’s hard to do. I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out in the end. But it was really nerve-wracking for the period of time that I was there also because Ed is from there. Ed is straight up from f**king Valley Stream, but he’s always been super supportive. He’s always really believed in me. The first time I ever auditioned for Ed was for a film called Summertime, and I did it in a very, very thick Brooklyn accent. They called me back and were like, “Can she drop the accent?” I was mortified because I thought I’d made a mockery of Ed Burns’ dialect. And then it turned out that the reason they asked me to drop the accent is because they thought I was from Brooklyn and couldn’t do any other kind of accent. I’ve been constantly affirmed that what I’m doing is okay, and I think I’m finally ready to believe that I am doing fine.

Did you watch anything? Did you just pick up on cues from Ed or Sam?
Caitlin Stasey: It was great. Sam is such a supportive and loving partner to be on set with. I really, really lucked out that he was playing my boyfriend, and he was incredibly helpful and supportive. He never gave me any tips or anything, but he just always reaffirmed what I was doing was right. But we watched Mean Street, which was a great indicator of kind of the vibe we were trying to go for. I also watched Wolf of Wall Street. I watched Princesses: Long Island. I watched a lot of that with the woman who played  my mom, Leslie [Rodriguez Kritzer]. We were just dying laughing because they’re so cool and so insane. That was the extent of my research was a couple of darling films, and then really trashy TV. Also, I watched Long Island Medium a lot.

From what I read, the cast was sort of sequestered during filming, especially since you all filmed during COVID. What was that whole experience like with the cast and crew to be able to create something in the middle of chaos?
Caitlin Stasey: It was really interesting because we were also there during the election. I don’t know if you know, but Long Island, unlike its neighbor New York City, is quite red. It was interesting being around that, people who weren’t wearing masks, who were dining indoors, people being very defiant of the apocalypse. While we were there, we weren’t really allowed to partake in anything. So our well became incredibly small. It really felt like we could have been in it. It felt like we were kind of in a small town in the middle of nowhere because we didn’t really leave the hotel that often unless it was totally necessary to go to work. It was fun. It honestly felt like we were in a big dorm. We all had our own rooms and had our own bathrooms, so you could hear everything that happened in the hallway. You had to be careful about what you said and what you did. It was really, really fun. I had such a blast. Everyone I worked with is so cool, and lovely. We’re all incredibly close now following filming. I think that we probably would have liked each other regardless of the circumstances, but this really forced us into this incredibly close-knit bond.

This is your second project with Ed Burns. What have you enjoyed the most about collaborating with him?
Caitlin Stasey: I cannot say enough kind things about it. I think he is truly one of the most gracious, kind-hearted people I’ve ever met in my whole life. He stakes a lot on the actors that he chooses, and I think he has incredible taste if I do say for myself. The two projects I’ve worked on with him have been very similar in their essence. They’re about young people in Long Island in the ’80s, trying to make big decisions about the rest of their lives. But you always feel like you’re making something incredibly personal. None of it is based on his life, but it’s based on his experiences, and he is kind of gifting us with all of this information about life during this time. You feel very chosen when Ed Burns wants to work with you because he’s not the kind of guy who beats around the bush. He’s not a bullsh*t artist. He just looks you in the eye and speaks from the heart, which is a very, very powerful thing to be able to do. LA doesn’t really have a lot of that, and I think that’s why he’s been so successful for so long is because he’s intuitively not very Hollywood. He was an actor, and now he loves to direct. He’s actually a great actor. My mom and I are always like, he’s so gorgeous. Everybody is obsessed with him. The whole cast is obsessed with him. We would always come home at work after work and be like, “He said this to me today or I was good in this scene.” And it was just like this fun contest that we had to be the teacher’s pet, basically. Not that we would ever tell him. That’s so embarrassing because we’re all peers to him. He’s older than us, but he feels like a cool older brother.

As you got to know the character of Jill, how much do you identify with her? 
Caitlin Stasey: Jill is the girl that I always wish that I was. She reminds me of a lot of the coolest girls I grew up with in Australia who could hang with anybody. They were consistently themselves. They didn’t try too hard. They just were upfront and stood up for themselves, which I think is really important. I think sometimes we tend to apologize or bend to meet people, but Jill doesn’t do that. I don’t think Jill has ever done that. I think that’s something she inherited from her mom, which she will be very grateful for later in her life, even if it did get her fired. Being Jill was really fun for me because it was an opportunity to kind of grow into a version of myself that I’ve always longed to be. I feel very connected to her in that sense because I’ve been working for other people since I was 13. I have become incredibly flexible, and I think that flexibility in this industry or in life is important. But I’m finally learning to stand my ground on certain things and to do it in a way that is not combative. Even though she gets pissed off and might have a go at someone, she’s pretty cool. She’s very like, I know what I want. I’m going to tell you what I want. If you can’t handle it, then I don’t know what to tell you.

If there were to be a second season, is there anything that you would want to explore with Jill?
Caitlin Stasey: I think it could be really fun for them to jump to 1983 and just get a little bit more into the ’80s because currently they’re still quite ’70s based. Ed said that there was a baseball strike in 1981, and he said he doesn’t want to shoot anything in that year because he’s obsessed with baseball. I would just like to see them in New York. It has been a huge goal and a dream of mine to live and work in New York. I really think because it’s such an unaffordable dream at this stage. For almost anyone, the only way you can really do it is if you’re an actor. I would love for the show to transition into a New York-based show or at least go back and forth. I love shooting in Long Island. It’s such a good time. I could go there every summer. But I’d love to be in New York. I have not yet become fatigued by New York. I don’t feel cynical about it, and that’s because I’ve not spent a great deal of time there. It’s just a city that’s always called to me, but I’ve never really answered that call except for work. I’d love to spend more time there. I’d love to see Jill spending more time there and getting her bearings. Also, a lot of f**king crazy sh*t happened in the ’80s. There was a hugely dark span of time. But in contrast to that, that’s where all this incredible art and culture and music and film came from. I’d love to be in a show that is trying to recreate and resemble that just to be there for a small glimpse of time that I’ll never get to experience.

This filmed in the latter part of 2020. Now that we’re in a new year, what’s next for you? 
Caitlin Stasey: I’m just kind of auditioning and trying to figure out my next step. I’m more invested in writing and directing this year. I’m writing a couple of features that I’m hoping to eventually start pitching and putting together teams. I have around me an incredibly talented group of women who I try to work with almost exclusively. I’ve gotten to make short films with them. I’ve gotten to make music videos with them. But I think I’m finally ready to direct my own feature. I’m kind of gearing towards that as a goal for the next couple of years. I don’t imagine it’ll happen this year, just because who knows what this year is going to look like. I’m becoming more and more curious about every aspect of this industry. I’m in the process of auditioning for a bunch of other people’s things. I love acting. I love all the things I’m reading for, and it’s just kind of a numbers game, and hopefully, Bridge gets a second season. If it doesn’t then, hopefully, Ed hires me in the next thing he makes.

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