Ebon Moss-Bachrach Gives ‘The Bear’ Its Abrasive Edge

He still gets nervous before big scenes — but it’s helpful, he said; it means there’s something to risk. “I’m probably attracted to people that are in periods of crisis or loss or confusion — when they can’t find their way home, you know?” And though his own upbringing was supportive, he’s had his share of dirtbags to draw on. “One rowdy Masshole can do a lot of damage,” he said. “I had my feelings hurt a lot.”

In “The Bear,” Matty Matheson, the Canadian chef and restaurateur, plays the hanger-on and handyman Neil, his first scripted role. “I’m a student of the acting school of Ebon,” he said. The two share more moments in the second season — and more fights. “I’m like this soft blade, trying to constantly be nice,” said Matheson, who is also a producer and consultant on the series. “Ebon’s character is allowed to be the most Richie with me. I’m not telling him to be woke.”

“There’s definitely Richies” in the food world, he added. “Richie doesn’t want change, and now more than ever, restaurants are changing.”

Storer, the series creator, did his own time behind a stove and comes from a Chicago restaurant clan. His sister, Courtney Storer, a celebrated chef in Los Angeles, is the show’s culinary director (she helps whip up the gourmet dishes for their close-ups), and Christopher spent his childhood at the Chicago institution Mr. Beef, which is owned by a friend’s family and was the model for the onscreen Original Beef.

“The Bear” has drawn praise for its verisimilitude. Before they began production, White and Ayo Edebiri, who plays the determined chef Sydney, were sent to culinary school and to intern at fine dining establishments, developing their bond in the process. Moss-Bachrach instead went to bars on the South Side to commune with Chicagoans. He had no idea his co-stars were training; back then, he thought they were doing a restaurant show the way “Taxi” was a show about drivers.

For him, “The Bear” was a character study in loss and change. After suffering the death of his best friend — Carmy’s brother, the original owner of the Beef, who is played by Jon Bernthal, Moss-Bachrach’s friend offscreen — Richie is “deeply distressed and mourning and volatile, and not in a place of self-reflection,” Moss-Bachrach said. “He’s medicating with, like, Bacardi and nachos.”

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