Edward Burns tries series work again with ‘Bridge and Tunnel’



Actor-filmmaker explores another group of friends for EPIX


Caitlin Stasey (left) and Isabella Farrell star in “Bridge and Tunnel,” premiering Sunday on EPIX.

Having built his filmmaking career on stories of young friends’ lives and loves, Edward Burns comes full-circle with his new series.

The writer-producer-director-actor established himself with the movies “The Brothers McMullen” and “She’s the One,” and many of their themes remain as EPIX premieres the seriocomic, 1980s-set “Bridge and Tunnel” Sunday, Jan. 24. Burns also appears as the working-class father of Jimmy (Sam Vartholomeos), who enjoys what may be his last days with Long Island, N.Y., friends including his ex-flame Jill (Caitlin Stasey, “Reign”) before he begins a photography job in Alaska. The central ensemble also includes Brian Muller, Isabella Farrell, Jan Luis Castellanos and Gigi Zumbado.

Making “Bridge and Tunnel” for EPIX reunites Burns with Michael Wright, the programming executive who ordered his previous series “Public Morals” while at TNT. “We went out to dinner and were talking about shows we were watching with our wives,” Burns says, “and a lot of them were really dark and depressing and cynical. He said, ‘Why don’t we do a show like your first couple of movies, that will put a smile on your face? I think that’s what viewers need right now.’

Edward Burns is the writer-director and a co-star of “Bridge and Tunnel,” premiering Sunday on EPIX.

“Those films were life-affirming while also being dramatic,” Burns confirms, “and now, here are these kids making their way into Manhattan to make their dreams come true.” Setting the show in the ‘80s wasn’t random for Burns, who reflects, “There are those eras you look back on and wish you could have lived then. Being 12 years old in 1980, I looked at the older kids on my block and just idolized them. The girls were gorgeous and the guys were cool, so I’ve always been obsessed with New York at that time.”

Reaching back to a period before people were wedded to mobile devices also appealed to Burns, also known for acting in such movies as “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Holiday.” He notes, “Sitting on your front stoop having a couple of beers, or having a backyard barbecue, or hanging out on the hood of your car in a parking lot … those were some of your best times, so this is to remind people that those one-on-one moments of communication used to be enough.”

The “Bridge and Tunnel” soundtrack is infused with original versions of 1980s hits by acts from Styx to Al Stewart, and Burns allows those weren’t cheap to license. “Almost any time I was on my third cut and I threw in a track, it was like, ‘I love that song! What’s it gonna cost?’ We were able to dip into the late ‘70s for a lot of the stuff, so it’s been fun to have that, as well as some deeper rock cuts.”


Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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