Interview: Titus Welliver talks Bosch Season 2
Ivan Radford | On 09, Mar 2016
Everyone’s favourite jazz-loving LA detective, Harry Bosch, returns to Amazon Prime Video on Friday 11th March. The second season of Amazon’s original crime series is based on Michael Connelly’s books The Last Coyote, Trunk Music and The Drop and raises the stakes for the character, both professionally and personally.
We sat down with Titus Welliver to talk returning to the lead role and what’s in store from the show.
Welcome back – is it daunting at all to face a second season of Bosch? Some actors can be reluctant to be attached to recurring roles.
I’m not reluctant in the least bit! This is a a character who has many… obviously, there are many books and Connelly has created the character and the life and world this character lives in and he’s been able to maintain it. Every time he writes a book, there’s something new and interesting going on with him, I’ve said to Connelly, when he said ‘Are you ready to sign on to play this guy for a while?’ I said, you know, Bosch is a complex character. He’s interesting enough. I wouldn’t have signed up to do it if I didn’t think it could sustain me artistically and intellectually for a prolonged period of time. I think that’s always the rub when you sign on to do a series. I would never want to be one of those actors where they get kind of disenchanted or bored. I find the way that Harry evolves from book to book is interesting, it’s a wonderful study in the human condition.
Michael gave you the full box set of the Bosch novels when you started the role – have you finished them all yet?
What I did was I read the three books that we used for the first season and did likewise in the second season, which are The Last Coyote, The Drop and Trunk Music – although I also read the books on my own time, not as a form of homework, but for pleasure. But I find the way that Michael writes, I can sit down and read a 450-page book on Churchhill or Roosevelt or whatever, but the Bosch books, I have to be on a plane, or on a beach, somewhere where it’s uninterrupted, because I can’t stop – I think it’s the same experience for anyone who reads them, because you can’t really put them down. One of the first times I read a Bosch book, I realised it was half two in the morning and I was still reading! And I was like ‘Shit, I need to go to sleep’.
How hard is it to read the books and disconnect the homework part of your brain from the relaxing part?
When I’m reading them, two things happen: one is I’m just enjoying it as a reader and the other is Titus the actor, who’s looking for stuff. I try not to fall in love with certain things I’m picking up in the books because the truth is some of that stuff is not necessarily going to be translated into what we’re doing with the show. I just really sort of enjoy and experience the books, more so as a reader. I certainly, when they told me which books they were going to use, I wanted to know what we were going to be tackling – and I think they chose really well this season. I think, particularly, after the success of the first season, there needed to be some evolution for the character and I think they’ve done that. He’s still the same old Harry, but he’s in different circumstances and that’s the beauty of it: what’s he going to do now?
“The stakes couldn’t be higher.”
So what is Harry up to at the start of Season 2?
He’s back on homicide. He’s assigned a case pretty much straight out of the box in which they find a body in the boot of a car and it turns out he’s this guy who’s been laundering money for the Armenian mob and so what that does is place Harry squarely at odds with the mob. He’s very good at his job, but he’s still one LAPD detective dealing with a very tightly knit crime organisation, who don’t play by the rules, and so it’s tough. And in the process of doing that, he steps on toes and comes up against some people who are profoundly formidable. Shit gets pretty intense!
And what about his wife and daughter? We understand they play a bigger part in Season 2?
Yeha, Bosch is still in the process of reacquainting himself with his daughter, trying to navigate the waters of parenting, and also having to engage with his ex-wife. Certain obstacles come up that existed before when they were married – they’re still the both same people, but they have to navigate this together. We see him with his daughter and it’s him trying to facilitate bringing a new normal into her life and how he does that – because he doesn’t know, kids don’t come with an instruction manual, and he’s very much a fish out of water and he doesn’t want to screw it up. He loves his daughter, obviously, and he wants to do the right thing, but he’s not sure what the right thing is. And they’re placed in harm’s way – the stakes couldn’t be higher.
One of things we love about Bosch is the jazz soundtrack. Do have a playlist you use to get into character?
Yeah, it’s something that I’ve always done as an actor – it’s not that I create a playlist of music that relates to the character, but I always create a soundtrack… I still listen to jazz, I listen to jazz long before I played Bosch, but because the stakes are high and it’s so intense I found myself listening to music with intensity, more power rock, almost metal. I was listening to a lot of Filter, Nine Inch Nails, Deftones. Really heavier music, just from a standpoint of energy. That’s me in my car on the way to work. In the same way as the editor and directors are piecing together, they have a visual style and idea of how it’s going to be, I sort of create my own movie inside my own head and it helps me. It inspires me and creates a sort of energy level. It’s hard to explain.
“I have Harry’s dreams, or I have his nightmares, which is sort of odd.”
We wouldn’t want to be the person meeting you just after your car journey into work…
I’m also not that kind of an actor, you know. Ask anyone who works on Bosch’s set. ‘Is Titus intense?’ No. The truth of the matter is I’m a bit of a clown. When you’re dealing with such subject matter, I never lose my sense of humour – that said, when we roll action, I’m in there, but I don’t bring my work home. You can’t help but be touched by the material you’re dealing with, because a lot of it is heavy, but I don’t come home and my family go ‘Let’s give dad a bit of room because he just had to shoot an autopsy scene today’. But I realise now that I do have Harry’s dreams, or I have his nightmares, which is sort of odd.
That is odd.
Connelly will tell you I’ve lost my identity with Bosch, because I always sign my emails to him as Harry. Connelly says I’ve lost my mind, but he’s ok with it.
He’s slowly brainwashing you…
I’ve become FrankenBosch! [Laughs]
Do you do much streaming yourself? Do you watch TV on Amazon, Netflix or Hulu?
All the above. I was a bit of a luddite – I was watching things on my computer, until I released I can get one of those Amazon boxes and do it on my TV! I ingest an enormous amount of movies and television on my downtime, typically between seasons of Bosch. There’s been a lot of stuff I’ve been catching up on, not just Amazon shows, but certainly The Man in the High Castle, Season 2 of Transparent and Hand of God. I’ve been shushing all of my friends about Mr. Robot, because I know I’m the target audience for that show. That’s next on my queue. I’m also anxiously awaiting the next season of Daredevil…
All episodes of Bosch: Season 2 premiere on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 11th March, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription. For more on the show, read our reviews of Season 1 here.
Additional reporting by Neil Brazier