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The Bear’s Lionel Boyce on weekly cook-offs and Will Poulter ‘synergy’

The Bear star Lionel Boyce sat down for an interview with The Digital Fix, and broke down everything we need to know about Marcus and the exciting new season.

lionel boyce as marcus in the bear

While Carmy, Richie, and Syndey regularly tore strips off of each other at The Original Beef of Chicagoland, Marcus remained a consistent, calming presence. Throughout season 1 of The Bear, we watched the character unlock his passion for desserts and blossom from a shy and uncertain line cook to a talented and self-assured dessert savant.

Now, after a season on the sidelines, Marcus takes center stage in season 2 of the drama series. In our The Bear season 2 review, we note how Lionel Boyce’s portrayal of the character is a highlight of the TV series — and now, in an interview with The Digital Fix, Boyce tells us exactly how he did it. Also, he’s besties with Will Poulter now (Editor’s note: this interview was completed prior to the Actor’s Strike).

The Digital Fix: Where do we find Marcus at the start of season 2? How has he changed since we first met him?

Lionel Boyce: You get to see a bit more of everything. We start to see what’s kind of in his mind, why he gets lost in his work because he’s found something that brings him peace and joy. Season one ends with him discovering a passion, and season two is just him continuing to build on that, but also now you see things from his perspective a little bit more.

TDF: Episode 4 was a lot more focused on Marcus’ story. How did you feel about taking center stage?

LB: It was nerve-racking! For me, this has all been a tonne of new learning experiences. The things I’ve done before have all been smaller and easier — like, sketch comedy and things like that. So to be on this much bigger show, I’ve got to learn a little bit more, like, “Oh, this is what it’s like to carry full episodes.”

And because there’s a lot more shooting, you have to think about more things than you ever had to think about before, and everyone’s so great! [As a cast member] you’re just there to support and help them, so when you’re like, “Alright, how are we starting the story and where are we taking it?” there’s just so much more thought to it.

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TDF: After The Bear’s huge success last year, how did you mediate the pressure of filming the second season?

LB: The way I framed it was, you know, we made a show in season one where we all kind of went like, “Oh, I like this. I don’t know if people will watch it.” So it was just kind of like, the success of the show was tied to what you do.

You hope that people watch, but there are so many shows that are great, but how many shows have we all seen where we’re like, “This is an amazing show,” but then you find out, like, six other people feel that way? So [in season 1], we had no control over how everyone would take to it. So trying to feed that would only drive you mad, so we were like, “I had no control over this, so that doesn’t matter.”

So, we just threw that worry out the window and just made the show. I just tried to keep reminding myself that through this course of filming to keep those pressures away.

TDF: Did you do any specific culinary training or shadowing to prepare for your role?

LB: I worked with our culinary producer Courtney Storer — Chris’s sister — and she’s a great chef. I would go to her house, make desserts, and read books — she gave me some great books. I read ‘A Day at Elbulli,’ and I really liked looking through the book and learning more about the chef’s brother.

I also made different kinds of bread and desserts, like Foccacia and Parker House Rolls — which were delicious, and I got to take them home and eat them once a week!

lionel boyce and will poulter in the bear

TDF: What was it like working with Will Poulter in your solo episode?

LB:  He was great to work with! He came on, like, the first day. We were trying to meet before — once I found out he was doing the show, he was trying to meet up before, but it didn’t work out.

So, he got to set before we started shooting, I got there a couple of days early, and we hung out. It just felt natural — like being around a person you already knew. So, we already had this natural rapport.

He’s also such a great actor. And he took it so seriously, where he’d been practicing and everything. So I think seeing him like that, as someone who also cares much and is such a big fan of the show, it allowed that natural synergy.

We were like, “Alright, we’re both aware of what we’re making,” and he’s so prepared. He was such a great actor he was able to take the script and make it what those scenes turned into.

lionel boyce in the bear

TDF: Amazing! Can you tell us more about the kind of practice Will did?

LB: He was telling me how he staged in a couple of restaurants in London… I think it was the Black Axe Mangal and St. John? But yeah, he went around to observe and feel his way around the kitchen. And he also came to set with cookies he baked once, which were incredible!

You can watch The Bear season 2 now on Disney Plus. For more on the Disney Plus show, check out our guides to The Bear cast, how many episodes are in The Bear season 2, and The Bear season 3 release date.

Or, make the most of your Disney Plus subscription with our guides to everything new on Disney Plus, the best Disney Plus movies, the best Marvel series, best Star Wars seriesbest Pixar movies, and best Disney movies.