‘The Bear’ Cast on Being Directed by ‘Fearless’ Ayo Edebiri, ‘Bummer’ Paparazzi Leaks and Why the Emmys’ Comedy and Drama Categories Are Outdated

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Season 2 of “The Bear” saw Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) and the rest of the restaurant crew upending their lives to pivot their beloved Italian beef shop into the fine dining restaurant of Carmy’s dreams. Now, the third installment of the FX dramedy series will reveal whether the team can keep up the momentum of The Bear.

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In various interviews with Variety, the cast teased deeper character relationships, Edebiri’s directorial debut and the discourse about whether the show should be considered a comedy or a drama. They also shared their “non-negotiables” on set — a concept Carmy fixates on this season, as revealed in the trailer, demanding his staff to “push boundaries” and “constantly evolve through creativity.”

Lionel Boyce, who plays pastry chef Marcus, said his non-negotiable on set is “no ego,” while Liza Colón-Zayas, who portrays Tina, said hers is “just be cool.” White feels passionately about his: “Don’t be an asshole. There just aren’t any allowed on our set.”

But “The Bear” isn’t always able to control who’s on set. Earlier this year, paparazzi leaked photos of the cast as they shot a scene that takes place at a funeral.

“It was a bummer,” White said. “It was very difficult to pretend that moment could have been something else that was photographed. We had to learn how to be a bit more careful, and I think our production acted accordingly.”

Speaking alongside her Colon-Zayas, Edebiri described the episode she directed this season as the “peak of artistic collaboration.”

“I feel like I got a master class in acting from Liza and from the other actors who got to grace the screen,” Edebiri said. “I feel like I learned so much from our crew, from our camera department… just from everybody. It was really a blast and an honor to get to helm an episode that showcases everything that Liza can do. I mean, not even everything, like a fraction of the things that she can do. She’s such a powerhouse.”

Colón-Zayas said being directed by Edebiri was easy: “She’s open, smart and fearless. So fearless that I was watching and putting ideas in my head like, ‘Why can’t I just be so fearless and know that I could take chances like that.’ [Edebiri] sailed through it.”

Ebon Moss-Bachrach said that for his character, Cousin Richie, Season 3 is about whether he’s capable of acting on everything he learned in Season 2, especially in the critically acclaimed episode “Forks.”

“He finds some sort of optimism when the proverbial window gets cracked a little bit,” Moss-Bachrach said. “But then to actually put that into practice and make that a part of your life. I’ve been in relationships that’s that’s a different story. That’s where all the work is. That’s kind of his journey, and the third season is to actualize that realization.”

Season 1 of “The Bear” swept the comedy categories at the Emmys, Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, which led many fans and critics to debate whether the show’s darker tones and themes should push it toward drama instead. Moss-Bacharach doesn’t feel too invested in either classification, saying that television has moved beyond the confines of serious versus funny.

“I just think we’re in a more nuanced place, and those kinds of categories are a bit dusty,” he says. “When you double down in your commitment, a lot of humor can come out of that. It’s not a show with many jokes, per se; it’s all character stuff.”

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