SciFiChick.com was able to participate in a conference call Q&A session with Bruce Campbell and Sharon Gless, from USA’s Burn Notice. Here’s the transcript from that call.
And don’t miss the Burn Notice mid-season finale, tonight at 9pm.
What sorts of methods and what type of influences do you use to in your portrayal of your characters? What do you draw upon to, in your characterization of Sam and of Madeline?
S. Gless: Bruce?
B. Campbell: Mother first.
S. Gless: Well, my husband said, when he read the script, chain smoking half the time. And he said, how lucky are you, they’re paying you to smoke. So he said, wow, you do all the things with the cigarette. I said, “Well, yeah, I already knew how to do that.” What do I draw on? I’ve never actually had children, myself, but I just connected with Jeffrey’s character and every week it’s different and as the show goes along, Madeline, my character, first she’s totally in the dark and very needy and very sort of just all sort of emotional things that are unattractive. And as time went on, Matt Nix said, “Sharon, she’s smarter than what I was writing.” And he gave me one clue, he said, “Remember, he gets his smarts from her.” I said, “Oh, okay.” So I just took that information and it gave me and my character a little more confidence. But I don’t know, how do you prepare for playing someone who’s manipulative? Is it built in? I don’t know.
B. Campbell: When you’re in show business, you know lots of manipulating people.
S. Gless: Yes, that’s true. But I try to do the manipulation with humor. Hopefully, that’s how it’s coming across.
Why doesn’t Sam Axe’s personality match the normal ex-military stereotypes? He seems really upbeat compared to how most shows depict characters that have been in serious military situations.
B. Campbell: I think my character is actually more accurate. I think I run into some of these guys. My first wife remarried a police officer, and I’ll tell you these guys like having a good time when they’re not working. They don’t sit around mopey dope, they sit around and crack gallows humor, lots of gallows humor, dark humor. Frankly, I think they’re happy that they’re alive most of these guys after going through all of this and they have a good joie de vivre that the average executive might not have. So I should think Sam is very indicative of the real guys, you know guys who are my age who have mustered out in their 50’s. Believe me, most of them are drinking beer and sitting around a pool cracking jokes about the old days.
S. Gless: In my experience in having done Cagney & Lacey many years ago, we had technical advisors on the set and we had detectives and police. Not exactly in the role that Bruce is playing, but these guys who see so much really do have a very macabre sense of humor. And I do think that’s how they stay sane.
Is there a beer or cocktail that Sam has yet to meet and enjoy and if there is, what is it and why haven’t they met yet? And Sharon, Madeline seems to go with the flow a bit more nowadays with Michael’s past. Will she eventually come around to just trusting him blindly or will curiosity get the best of her and she’ll find out on her own where her son has been for the past ten years?
B. Campbell: Go ahead, Sharon.
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