Interview with Bruce Campbell & Gabrielle Anwar from Burn Notice

I got to speak to Bruce Campbell (Sam) and Gabrielle Anwar (Fiona) from USA Network’s Burn Notice yesterday. They seemed to have a great time chatting about the show and enjoyed speaking with the press. Here are some of the great questions and answers from that call. Don’t miss the mid-season premiere tonight on USA at 10/9c, too!

We’ve seen Sam with some lovely ladies on his arm in the past couple of seasons. Is there any chance for you to get a love interest again, Bruce?

Bruce: Yes, where have all the ladies gone? I mean, it’s like, I’m fighting Michael Westen’s stupid missions the whole time, Sam doesn’t even, you know, he’s like this old geezer that they yank back into service and he’s like, “Wait, I was having a good time.” So I don’t know, I think he’s just kind of back in the fold now. And Burn Notice is actually…

Jump with us to read the rest of the great questions & answers.

I guess that means no more borrowing cars from his lovely ladies, no more…

Bruce: No, but you’ve noticed that Sam has a different car about every second episode and now they’re all junkers, they’re all pieces of crap because they’re all going to get wrecked.

I used to have these really nice cars because I used to have a life outside of this, but now that Burn Notice is actually getting more intense, it actually, I don’t see – they can’t find the time to have Sam like, go bowling and drink mojitos with some hot lady because basically we’re all getting co-opted. We’d be on a stakeout instead. So it’s bad for the personal lives of these characters. It sucks.

But it’s increased your beer drinking because you’ve had more time to sit and actually have a sip or two.

Bruce: No, because we’re planning missions half the time. I’m not drinking as much and I’m not whoring around as much.

Gabrielle: I think you need to talk to Matt Nix about this.

Bruce: Matt, let’s get – I have to straighten this out right now, let’s get the ladies back on.

As actors, we don’t try and steer the show. We try and leave it in the capable hands of Matt Nix and see where he wants, you know, and I’m sure the studio responds, too, because I’m sure they’ve seen some episodes where they go, “Wow, let’s never do that with those characters again.”

Or they see stuff that they like and they go, “Wow, let’s do a lot more of, you know, Fiona kissing Michael and slipping him a device to get him out of prison.”

You guys are getting more ramped up, more involved and seeing more danger for your characters as people as well as with Michael?

Bruce Campbell: Yes, Gabrielle, wouldn’t you say we get dragged into it because of him? We’re part of this team now.

Gabrielle Anwar: Yes, I think that loyalty surpasses the peril that we’re all in and he’s getting himself deeper and deeper into trouble and we’re sort of caught in the crossfire.

Bruce: And also, you know, we can’t – we can’t say no to him. It’s not possible. We give him a lot of crap, particularly, you know, Fiona’s, you know, that character, and rightfully so, because he’s doing things that are risky.

But he’s one of these classic, it’s all for the greater good kind of guys, so we each have our own codes and ethics, the stuff that really gets the Fiona character pissed off, the stuff that really get’s Sam’s goat, and the stuff that fuels Michael Westen.

So we’re actually all fighting for the right thing, but we just have way different approaches in how to do it and so, you know, my theory about this show is that we break laws every episode, but we don’t do anything wrong. You know what I mean?

We’re just trying to deal with it ourselves.

But I like the vigilante nature of it… We’re actually, technically, vigilantes, which I kind of like.

I mean I think if the world has – I think the world needs a few vigilantes, someone out there who’s willing to step up and go, “You know what? This ain’t happening. I got to take care of business here.”

[Fiona is absolutely] a vigilante.

Gabrielle: I feel very happy about that definition, in fact. Bruce, you just made my day.

Bruce: She’s a freaking vigilante.

She does pull it off, she’s a bad ass. It’s a great character for her. You know, when people meet her, they’ll go, “Oh, my God, she’s like a nice, really sweet person.” You know very…

Gabrielle: They do?

Bruce: Oh, I think so, when you’re not working, you know. I’m kidding, of course, but, you know, the Fiona character’s a great – I think for you, Gabrielle, I don’t know how you feel, but I think it’s a great character because you’re so tough. Sam won’t even mess with you. No one messes with you.

Gabrielle: Yes, I, you know, I’m truly blessed to be able to step into her shoes every day.

Bruce: Yes.

Gabrielle: And I love the fact that she really is not apologetic for her…

Bruce: No.

Gabrielle: …inner vigilante. I think it’s an ingeniously written role. I’m very proud to be playing her.

Bruce: And it’s good for the, you know, it’s good for womanhood in that it’s just another ass kicking woman who just steps up and she’s just like the guys, I mean, no difference. There’s no difference in abilities, no nothing, you know? She can take you out as many ways as Michael Westen or Sam Axe, probably more.

Gabrielle: In heels. That’s my hero, that’s my role model right there.

How much time do you guys have to spend like, training, preparing for the physical side of your characters?

Gabrielle: That’s a funny question.

Bruce: Well, Gabrielle, go ahead about, you know, just surviving the seven months in general.

Gabrielle: You know, there really isn’t time to do any kind of formal training. There truly isn’t time. I mean there’s barely time to wolf down breakfast in the morning, let alone, you know, burn those calories off.

It’s – I mean I haven’t done any training. I actually during the first season went to shoot at a military place where they have a lot of guns. I don’t even know the name of it, but…

Bruce: So like a gun range?

Gabrielle: Gun range, there you go.

Bruce: We went to a range, yes.

Gabrielle: Yes. But that was it and really I only did that because I have a sort of innate aversion to militia and I wanted to not play Fiona with that fear. Of course, once the weapon was in my hand, I felt like, you know, King Kong.

Bruce: Yes, yes.

Gabrielle: But – so there, I haven’t had any training. Jeffrey, I think is the only one amongst our cast that actually has had any martial arts training. Am I right, Bruce?

Bruce: Yes, correct, because, you know, I’ve done some action stuff, but it’s always been, you figure out the choreography as you shoot it on that given day. You don’t – and in, especially in Gabrielle’s case, every week, they’re shoving a new weapon into her hand, something that’s even bigger and bigger.

She carries the most ridiculously heavy weapons I’ve ever felt, I’ve ever (saw). And, you know, you got to hold it up there and look like the tough guy and that thing’s as heavy as you are sometimes.

Gabrielle: I know.

Bruce:You know? So…

Gabrielle: I know, yes, I’m – by the end of the season, I start whining. In the beginning, I’m like, “I can handle this.” And, “Look at me.” And, “Hear me roar.” And then by the end of the season I’m like a little kitten like, whining and meowing.

Bruce: Well, we have real guns and fake guns and the fake guns are sometimes rubber, so in many cases, I’ll tell the prop guy, I’m just running around with it, “Just give me the rubber, just give me the fake one.” You know, so we don’t even have to carry the real guns around. But I just gave away a trade secret, so I’m sorry Matt Nix, sorry.

My questions!

On my site, we have a Burn Notice giveaway going on right now and we’re asking viewers to tell us which shows they would like to see crossed over with Burn Notice. We didn’t limit it to USA shows, but we got some great answers. On USA of course, there’s you know, White Collar and Covert Affairs and In Plain Sight.

Bruce: Sure.

Jenny: And then on Fox, people – a lot of people said Human Target, they said Sam and Winston could team up and then Fi and Guerrero could – wouldn’t actually, you know, get along, but being in the same room would make the Battle of the Bulge look like a tea party.

And then of course you have the good guys, because both are created by Matt Nix. Dan and Fi would get along because both are slightly insane. No offense, and Sam…

Gabrielle: None taken.

Jenny: And Sam wouldn’t be able to resist flirting with Liz, you know, you’ve got all that type of stuff. But my favorite, I think, was Leverage on TNT. Sam and Elliot were both in the service, and so maybe Sam helped train or mentor him. He – Elliot hates guns, so maybe he and Fiona have duked it out in the past. Anyway, just a lot of things like that. It was pretty neat.

Bruce: Well, most of all, Gabrielle and I would say that we’re glad that you’ve given it this much thought.

Gabrielle: I know, yes.

Jenny: It’s fun to imagine. Well, playing off of that, not taking into account networks or anything like that, what shows would you like to see a crossover done with?

Bruce: The evening news, which is the only TV that I watch.

Gabrielle: Do they have to be current shows?

Jenny: No, not at all.

Gabrielle: I would say The Avengers.

Bruce: Oh, there you go, that’s a good one. That’s a very good one. Let’s see, wow, that’s bizarre. Let’s see, a spy – well, I would mix this one with I Spy, the one that had Bill Cosby.

Gabrielle: Right.

Bruce: And Robert Culp.

Bruce: Because now you’d have like, old school spies, new school spies.

Gabrielle: What about In Like Flint?

Bruce: Oh, that’s a good one, too. That’s a good one, too.

Gabrielle: Yes, I was going to say the (unintelligible) with James Coburn.

Jenny: It’s fun to imagine.

Gabrielle: Yes, you’re right, this is a good game.

Bruce: Yes.

Jenny: Well, I have one other question. Now that Jesse knows about – knows that Michael is the one that burned him, how do things progress from there with his character?

Bruce: We’re not allowed to tell you that.

We can only tell you so much about that stuff because it’s all relevant to what’s happening. The point is this…

Gabrielle: Right.

Bruce: If you have to work together for the greater good, you will. And so, but it’s going to be a long road.

Nobody likes to be burned.

You’ll see how that character fits in as it progresses. You know, it’s a tough ting to weave in a new character. It’s something you have to really pay attention to. And, you know, we’ve been very happy to have Coby Bell come along and play.

Gabrielle: Right.

Bruce: You know, let him jump over that wall, I’m sit – I’ll sit over here.

With Michael’s secret out about him burning Jesse, how is that going to affect Fiona and Jesse’s chemistry romantically?

Gabrielle: Ooh, well, it definitely does affect it. I think that the lack of trust is a huge component into whether the two of them evolve or devolve; I suppose one should say, but yes, it gets a little hairy there for a moment.

What should we expect from the Sam Axe movie that you guys are getting ready to make?

Bruce: You should expect two hours of bad ass-ness, that’s what you should expect.

No whoring around and drinking, because Sam’s – this is Sam’s last military mission, so I have to lose weight and dye my hair darker. Because it’s a prequel, so I’m training in the mountains of Oregon right now. And I’m not even kidding.

Here’s the cool thing about it, here’s what’s key. It does not have the fabulous, you know, Gabrielle Anwar, but we may, you know, approach her with lots of money for like, a telephone cameo or something. But it’s mostly…

Gabrielle: Did we know each other back then?

Bruce: Probably of. Knew of each other, because if Mike was still active and I was active, I would have known that you and him were doing the…

Gabrielle: Right, right, right.

Bruce: …the nasty. So…

Gabrielle: I’ll have my people call your people.

Bruce: Thank you, that’s a good idea. But Matt Nix has put a component of this next season, Season 5, he put a component, he plants a seed in the TV movie that will come to fruition in Season 5, which I think is pretty fun.

Gabrielle: Oh, yeah.

Bruce: So if you really want to be the Burn Notice junkie, you’ve got to watch that TV movie. And it’s not for my sake, it’s for the, you know, for the viewer’s sake.

This last season Maddie has sort of become more integral to the group. Can we expect to continue to see her becoming more part of the missions?

Bruce: Gabrielle, what do you think?

Gabrielle: Yes, I think you’re right. You know, I think she’s always been the backbone of the team. I think she’s become a little bit more visually involved. I always felt her presence in every episode previously, but yes, she definitely becomes a more integral part on camera, for sure. Thank goodness. How much do we love Sharon?

Bruce: Oh, yes, we love her a lot, so we want to get her back and you know, it’s a logical progression. You can only go so many seasons with her going, “Michael, what were those dudes doing here? What were those guys with guns doing here?”

I mean, it wears out after awhile, so the nice thing is, she’s accepted it, but she’s also – Michael Westen is Michael Westen because of his mom, because she’s a tough broad. So she’s actually a great person to have in the field.

We’ve already used her playing Bingo, you know, and she’s a great ringer and she goes in and looks for county records and all sweet and innocent and then she lies to their face, you know?

So it’s a fun character for her and, you know, she happened – Sharon lives in Miami, so it’s perfect for her, too. And her husband laughs because he says now she gets paid to smoke, since she loves smoking.

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