In 21 Bridges, NYPD detectives Frankie and Andre race against time as they hunt down cop killers in New York City. Sienna Miller and Chadwick Boseman, who play the two main characters, were both drawn to the film because it offered high stakes and complex characters. And they revealed exclusively to CinemaBlend that Sienna Miller’s Frankie was originally written as a male character.
The actors sat down to discuss why they chose to star in 21 Bridges. And Sienna Miller was quick to explain that she liked the film’s balance between action and character development. She told CinemaBlend:
I mean, I think everybody goes on a journey. It takes place in one night, so there’s only so much transformation that can take place. But the stakes are really high, and people have to respond to that. I think that’s what drew me to the script. It felt like a very fast-paced, exciting movie with real deep, complicated characters involved, which is kind-of everything you’re looking for with something like this.
Chadwick Boseman then revealed that director Brian Kirk was open to making changes that would best serve the characters and the story. He even went so far as to make one crucial change regarding Sienna Miller’s Frankie before the film even began shooting. He said:
Who these characters were completely changed. In fact, Frankie was a man.
While that may have been the most noticeable difference from page to screen, it wasn’t the only significant change. Chadwick Boseman shared that he and director Brian Kirk worked hard to add layers to the characters they’d be portraying:
So who these characters were was an entirely different -- were eons from where we are now. And I feel like, you know, my character was more of a political hand than he was a person with a skillset, a person with a code. And so pretty much all of that backstory was stuff that we came up with together.
Chadwick Boseman noted that the core plot elements that drew him to 21 Bridges remained constant. But he seemed pleased that he was given the freedom to explore his character:
The conceit of shutting down the island and the clock on the city, and what had been done is the same. The crime that had been done was the same. The camaraderie of the police was the same. But who Andre was was an entirely different thing.
21 Bridges is Brian Kirk’s first feature film, but he is no stranger to character-driven stories. He’s directed episodes of several TV series, including Donovan, Dexter, and Game of Thrones, and directed the BBC’s 2011 adaptation of Great Expectations. The film also stars Taylor Kitsch, Stephen James and J.K. Simmons. It's currently playing in theaters nationwide. Here's how much it made in its opening weekend at the box office.