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The Bear: Ebon Moss-Bachrach's Bromance With Jon Bernthal Led To His Mikey Casting

On FX's "The Bear," Michael Berzatto is a near-mythical character. Mikey's death by suicide precedes the events of the acclaimed drama, and his absence casts a devastating pall over Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), Natalie (Abby Elliott), and Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). Jon Bernthal's Season 1 appearances as Mikey are brief yet potent, and a longer performance from Bernthal in a Season 2 episode of "The Bear" provides an emotional wallop as the series peels back Mikey's demons even further.

In an interview with CinemaBlend, Ebon Moss-Bachrach revealed that he helped cast his buddy Bernthal in "The Bear." Initially, however, Moss-Bachrach thought the part shouldn't be cast at all.

"They were trying to cast that role Michael for a while. And they asked us, 'Does anyone have any ideas?' And they asked me and I was like, 'I don't think we should ever see him.' Because when you talk about somebody, and hype them up so much, it's always a letdown."

Despite his stance, a lightbulb eventually went off when he considered Bernthal, his former co-star on Netflix's Marvel series "The Punisher." "And then it did occur to me one day, and I was like, 'Well, I do think Jon is such a, I don't know, like, charismatic and hilarious, dude that, I was like, 'He actually would be really great.'"

Moss-Bachrach thinks the showrunners already had Bernthal in mind

Ebon Moss-Bachrach has a sneaking suspicion he wasn't solely responsible for Jon Bernthal's involvement in "The Bear." He recalls that when he suggested the actor to showrunners Christopher Storer and Joanna Calo they were suspiciously overeager.

"They thought it was a good idea so quickly, that it made me think that maybe they had sort of been wanting [him]," Moss-Bachrach said in the same CinemaBlend interview. "Because they kept asking me, 'Is there anyone you know?' And they knew that we were friends. I think maybe they were pushing me a little bit to do it." Their leading-the-witness approach worked out, and Moss-Bachrach gave his friend a call.

"Jon, to his credit, or to our relationship's credit, he was just like, 'Yeah, great. I'd love to,'" the actor continued. "We really enjoy working with each other. So, he was happy to come." Indeed, the actors first met doing theater together before honing their chemistry on "The Punisher," in which Moss-Bachrach played Bernthal's right-hand man and hacker extraordinaire.

Bernthal joined "The Bear" no questions asked. "Even without reading the script he was like, 'Yeah, sure. I'll come ... If we can make it work. We'll do it.' It was really cool. It was awesome."