Burn Notice’s Sharon Gless and Bruce Campbell answer questions from bloggers
[…]Nice thing is when your ratings are good you get good guest stars. That’s really just the bottom line. Everyone wants to be on a popular show. Nobody wants to be on a marginally rated show. So we’re actually very fortunate – that’s what ratings bring to you. — Burn Notice’s Bruce Campbell
I didn’t participate in this conference call with Sharon Gless who plays Michael’s mom Madeline Westen and Bruce Campbell who plays Sam Axe on USA’s Burn Notice, but fortunately they both talked about the ratings a bit anyway and not just what I’ve blurrbed above. While some of what they said might not have been 100% precise, it was still very interesting. Most of the ratings talk is near the end of this transcript. I didn’t edit the transcript down, but there’s still about ~24 hours to kill before the mid-season summer finale.
Moderator And we will begin with the line of Jennifer Iaccino with MediaBlvd Magazine. Please go ahead.
J. Iaccino Hello there.
B. Campbell Greetings, how are you doing?
J. Iaccino I’m very good. Hello, so wonderful to speak to both of you. I know I’ve spoken to Bruce, but it’s an honor to speak to you, too, Sharon.
S. Gless Thank you.
J. Iaccino Alright, my question is Bruce, I know that you played in Xena and Hercules as sort of a rogue who helped out the good guys as well. And Sharon, obviously you played Cagney, a bad-ass cop and she also knew her way around bad guys. So I was curious how these roles and others may have helped to cultivate the characters that you play on Burn Notice.
B. Campbell Go ahead, Sharon.
S. Gless Well, the only bad guys I have to find my way around are Jeffrey and Bruce. I mean, my job on the show is the mother from hell. I don’t get involved in the heavy stuff like they do.
B. Campbell Sharon, your character is scarier than some of the bad guys.
J. Iaccino You helped out in that case when Bruce got captured and you were sort of interrogating the one guy.
S. Gless That’s right, I think that’s when Michael was captured.
J. Iaccino Yes, that’s when Michael was captured.
S. Gless Right, that was very, very funny. It’s not often that I get to do one-upsmanship on Bruce Campbell.
B. Campbell What’s amazing is she turned out to be a very good interrogator and then who knew. I actually think we’re going to see in the scenes that come – because Sharon, you were also on a stakeout and you had to spot somebody. You had to be a lookout.
S. Gless At the bingo game.
B. Campbell Right. So don’t kid yourself. You’re going to be an operative before too long maybe.
S. Gless Okay, look out.
J. Iaccino How about you, Bruce?
B. Campbell Well, I mean, I’ve always enjoyed playing a little left of center characters. Otherwise I’d be on a soap opera, you know. What’s attractive to me was that these are real characters. These are characters who drink and smoke and make mistakes and have foibles in love and try to fix their mother’s garbage disposal. That’s what’s attractive to me. That’s what got me into this show and knowing that I’m with four, three other kind of seasoned adult actors. That’s always attractive when you know you’re going to be working with people that it’s going to be worth showing up for.
S. Gless It’s true.
B. Campbell It’s made a big difference. And this show, I can’t speak for Sharon, but this show came out of nowhere.
S. Gless Yes.
B. Campbell The things that I plan never happen. Things that I don’t plan do.
S. Gless Exactly. That’s how I thought. I think that when Bruce and I first – we were interviewed together. Do you remember that, in Pasadena or somewhere?
B. Campbell Yes.
S. Gless And I was actually sitting in the fat farm and this script arrived and I was sitting all alone in my room and it made me laugh out loud and I was all by myself. And I thought, this is funny. This is fun, I like this. It had substance to it, too.
B. Campbell It probably didn’t hurt that you live in Miami, too.
S. Gless I forgot about that, but I didn’t tell them that during the interview.
B. Campbell Exactly.
S. Gless I wanted to live in a hotel like you guys. And then when it sold, I had to ‘fess up.
B. Campbell Right.
S. Gless Yes, I do, though, I do live here in Miami.
Moderator Back to the line of Keely Weiss with Aced Magazine.com. Please go ahead.
K. Weiss Hi, it’s really great to be able to speak with you both. Thanks so much for doing this.
B. Campbell Thank you.
S. Gless Thank you.
K. Weiss So I was wondering, what sorts of methods and what type of influences do you use to kind of inform your characters and your portrayal of each of your characters? Like what do you draw upon to, in your characterization of Sam and of Madeline?
S. Gless Bruce?
B. Campbell Mother first.
S. Gless What do I draw on?
K. White Yes, for your characterization of your character kind of what informs that?
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.
Moderator And next, we will go to the line of Gabel White with Fan Bolt. Please go ahead.
G. White Hey, Sharon, Bruce, how’re you all doing?
S. Gless Hey, Gabel.
G. White My first question is for Bruce. 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. I was just wondering why that was.
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.
Moderator Alright, and next we will go to the line of Icess Fernandez with Writing to Insanity. Please go ahead.
I. Fernandez Hi everyone, so, so excited to talk to both of you guys today.
S. Gless Hi Isis.
I. Fernandez Hi. I’ll just give you the questions right here in front. For Bruce, 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.
S. Gless I think Madeline is slowly figuring it out. I don’t think, to this day, she really understands the full impact of what it is he really does. But she knows he helps people. That’s how she phrases it. That’s how she lives with it. And yes, she is getting more informed. I think there are moments where she does trust him. She has to, she is, despite what you see, she loves him. It’s her boy. But I think there’s always a bit of doubt because he’s never completely forthcoming. So what she finds out she sort of finds out on her own. He’s a little vague when he explains things, enough to calm her down or to get her to help in an indirect way.
B. Campbell And with regard to Sam’s question, I don’t think there is a cocktail that he has not found yet. I think Sam has been making them up, he knows so many of them. But you know, the one thing I want to point out is you never see him drunk. You know, a lot of people go, oh Sam’s an alcoholic. Hey, he’s a guy who likes to drink like a lot of Americans. So that truly is – you find sometimes we pick our battles. If I’ve got a morning meeting with the feds, Sam will have a cup of coffee. He’s not a complete party boy.
S. Gless Bruce and I are still trying to get Matt Nix to write us a . . .
B. Campbell He promised us season two, he promised that we would get drunk together.
S. Gless I know, he lied. When Sam babysits with Maddie, wouldn’t it be a fun thing to sit there and get loaded and not talk about anything that has to do with the work.
B. Campbell Exactly.
I. Fernandez That sounds like fun.
Moderator Next we will go to the line of Blaine Kyllo with CinemaSpy. Please go ahead.
B. Kyllo Thanks for your time today, folks.
S. Gless Hi Blaine.
B. Kyllo Quick question for Bruce and another one for Sharon. I’ll ask them now and get it out of the way. Bruce, I’d like to know if Sam’s role of making the blood in “Shot on the Dark” was given specifically because Bruce Campbell has experienced making blood, and did you use the Evil Dead recipe. And my question for Sharon is, I think it’s interesting that Matt told you specifically that his idea was that Michael’s skills might have come more from his mother than we first thought. Talk a bit more about how you think that might play out. It’s quite clear to us I think from watching the characters over three seasons that there’s a lot of Madeline in Michael. So talk a bit more about what other skills Michael has that he might get from Maddie.
B. Campbell Go ahead, Sharon.
S. Gless I don’t know. I can’t say he gets his skills, I mean his technical skills he certainly doesn’t get from her. I think what Matt wanted to establish is that he gets his smarts from her. The father was a loser, and I don’t think there’s a lot he got from him. And Maddie is, she is smart, she can be very keen and if she’s, sometimes she plays a little manipulative. No, she doesn’t play dumb, but I think that’s the hope and I’m very pleased that you see that she is very smart. She’s not totally informed as to what he’s doing, but she knows him. It’s her boy, it’s her son.
B. Kyllo I guess we really get the sense that Maddie knows more than she’s letting on, like most mothers.
S. Gless Yes, and she knows when to use it and when to not, but I don’t think at this point — I think the story would start to end soon if she was totally understanding of what has happened to him and what it is he’s attempting. Do you know what I’m saying? Attempting to find his way back. So I don’t think she knows all of that yet. She just knows that he’s doing stuff that’s not ordinary and I think she fears for his life, I’m sure.
B. Kyllo Thanks a lot, Bruce?
B. Campbell With regards to the making blood question, I don’t know if that was assigned to me. It just sort of fell in. Every week we make stuff, so we have different things where you hold this and someone does this. It made sense that I made the blood, certainly. It wasn’t the exact Evil Dead recipe since I wouldn’t want to give it all away. It’s far too secret, just like military secrets, … this shows you how in this show you really can make an incredible amount of different things in your kitchen and fake blood is certainly one of them. It’s one of the cheapest, for anyone making a horror film, it’s probably the cheapest prop you can get. It’s mostly Karo syrup, red food coloring, a little bit of cremora, and a drop of blue to make it not get too pink, you know, too bright.
B. Kyllo Thanks very much.
Moderator Next we will go to the line of Troy Rogers with TheDeadbolt.com. Please go ahead.
T. Rogers Hi Bruce, hi Sharon.
S. Gless Hi,Troy.
B. Campbell How’re you doing.
T. Rogers I think I’ll get my questions out of the way, too, right away. Now aside from you two getting drunk together, how do you want to see Sam and Madeline’s relationship evolve in season four. And for either one of you if Michael did re-establish his link to the espionage community, what would happen to Sam and Fiona?
B. Campbell Well, go ahead, Sharon, give it a whack.
S. Gless Well, I think Sam and Maddie have kind of a really cool relationship. We were given a chance to live together. That helps. I didn’t tell you this, Bruce, that I really miss the fact that you moved out.
B. Campbell I know.
S. Gless Yes. But that gives you a chance to come back. How do I see the relationship evolving? I see it as all good. I see that it can get rougher, it can get more tender, and I think there’s a myriad of things that can come out of a relationship with two people who do respect each other and who both love this one man, this boy, my boy and his friend.
B. Campbell And you know the one thing I should say, too. I can’t speak for other actors, but I don’t really probe the writers, I honestly don’t. I haven’t bugged them in three years about what’s coming up with Sam. Whether he’s going to have a home or a girlfriend. I like to sit back, just like the audience, and let it happen. I get excited reading the next script, because I don’t really know what they have planned. The season finale, I couldn’t tell you sitting here right now what’s going to happen. Not because I’m lying or that I’m not supposed to, I don’t know because I haven’t asked, I don’t want to know. So you know . . .
S. Gless I’m the same way. I never ask about what’s going to happen with my character.
B. Campbell No, because . . . as we’ve seen, they’re good writers so you know, get out of their face. We don’t like them in our face, I don’t get in their face.
Moderator And next we will go to the line of Sarah Fulghum with TotallyHer.com. Please go ahead.
S. Fulghum Hi, thanks for talking with me today.
S. Gless Hi Sarah.
S. Fulghum Burn Notice has been renewed for a fourth season, and as we all know, the show is extremely successful. How many seasons do think this show will have and do you both plan to stay on the show through to the very end?
B. Campbell Go ahead, Sharon. Let’s see where we get.
S. Gless I don’t know. I mean the show – it used to be in the old days when you signed a contract, it was for seven years. But in this day and age, I don’t know. I do think it has some longevity.
B. Campbell Come on, Sharon, pick a number, pick a number.
S. Gless Okay, seven.
B. Campbell Seven. I’m going eight.
S. Gless Okay, baby, I’m sticking with you.
B. Campbell The reason I say that is because Monk went eight and we’re outpacing Monk in the ratings. And so we’re kind of the new tent pole for USA, and I think we’re going to be around for the long haul and mentally, I have to say, I’m not looking over my shoulder. I’m fully prepared to ride this show to the bitter end because it’s – why, what am I looking for? Actors always seem like they’re looking for a better gig. This time I can’t, there is no better gig. This is a good gig, and I’m happy to ride it until it ends.
S. Gless Yes, me too. I want to stay. My husband, who is a producer, used to tease me and he’d say, “You know, I wouldn’t give these people any trouble.” Because he said, “How I would open the next episode is this rainy morning and everybody’s just standing in this rain under umbrellas and we pan down. Is that a tear on our hero’s face? You pan down and the tombstone says, Madeline.”
B. Campbell Season finale or a season opener. Exactly.
S. Gless Yes, right. So I’m just playing myself and I hope they let me stay the whole time.
B. Campbell Yes, gee, Sharon, do you think they’ll let you?
S. Gless Well, you know, you never know. They may want to move somewhere. But knowing Madeline, she’d pack too.
B. Campbell Yes, she probably would.
S. Gless Yes.
Moderator Alright, next we will go to the line of Josh Bozeman with TheBlueSite.com. Please go ahead.
J. Bozeman Bruce, Sharon, so good to talk to both of you today.
S. Gless Thank you.
B. Campbell Greetings.
J. Bozeman This question is for both of you guys. If Michael, Fi and Sam were all stuck at Madeline’s house somehow. They were together, there was a sudden attack by zombies, what do you think your own characters would contribute to the battles against an army of the undead.
B. Campbell I would pick you up and hold you in front the zombies for asking such a lame question.
J. Bozeman I don’t like that one.
S. Gless I really don’t know how to answer that.
B. Campbell Can’t help you.
S. Gless But thank you, I’d have to leave that to the writers.
Moderator We will now go to the line of Laura Tucker with Small Screen Monthly. Please go ahead.
L. Tucker Yes, hi. Along with being a writer, I’m also a martial artist. In fact, I’m an instructor at a martial arts school. And both of us there at the school that are fans of the show have wondered what type of technical advisor you have for some of the fight scenes and if you have a martial artist actually helping you with some of the stuff, because we’ve noticed some very distinctive moves that are so definitely martial arts like there was one time at the beginning of an episode I saw Michael … Sam … on himself. Somebody else might not know what that was, but I knew exactly what it was. So anyways, we were just wondering if you have any martial arts technical advisors on the show or if it’s just your basic fight scene technical advisors.
B. Campbell Well, Sharon, I’ll jump in for a second. I can say that Artie Malesci is mostly responsible because he’s the stunt coordinator who has just been nominated by the way for an Emmy.
S. Gless That’s right, congratulations.
B. Campbell So we’re going to wait and see because and basically Artie and Jeffrey Donovan are very involved in any of their fights. Jeffrey is equally as involved in his fights, because he does have training, he does have background in martial arts. So those guys will work out something and they knew it was not going to be the John Wayne punch, punch break a chair over somebody’s head, which is much more like a Sam Axe. And my job has been to differentiate between old school fighting and new school. Sam Axe would break things. He would use things as props and weapons. He’d be a little more old school. Michael and Sam got into a fight and I think Michael went easy on him. So we try to make the martial arts different because as a spy you are going to use more advanced techniques. He’s had to fight Russian guys who knew a certain type of technique. So I think that’s the best I can explain it. We are actually trying to be slightly different, using cool quick moves, not the standard fight scenes.
Moderator Next question comes from the line of Anthony McCall with Burn Notice Fan Blog. Please go ahead.
A. McCall Yes, hi. Nice talking to you. My family can relate a lot to how Madeline deals with her family because my family’s a lot like that, too. But my question is, do you think the show is staying on track or do you think they’re starting to maybe branch out in new directions with the show?
S. Gless I never know where they’re going to go with the show. I’m always surprised every time I open up the script and see what they’re doing. I don’t know if there’s a track. I think sort of the beauty of the show is that it constantly surprises. I mean the track would be for Michael and the end for Michael to find the man who burned him, or the woman. Is that what you’re saying by the final tracks?
A. McCall I think maybe. Do you think they’re staying along with that story line or do you think they’re going to change . . .
S. Gless Well, that story line exists, yes, constantly throughout he’s been trying to find, but in the interim he’s pulled off into other directions. It’s not just that story.
B. Campbell I think the show is ultimately like other successful shows, it’s a hybrid of putting on that old shoe every Thursday. You want that comfortable shoe, you want to hang with Fiona, Michael and Mom. And you know, see what adventures they’re going to get into every week. Yet, at the same time, you know, season two is the evil woman Carla. So she’s gone now, so there is a constant progression. This season his problems have gotten worse, so and who knows what’s going to happen, but I think they will always try and do both. Give you familiar aspects and an ever-changing show.
A. McCall Okay, thank you.
Moderator Next we will go to the line of Traci Grant with TheStarScoop.com. Please go ahead.
T. Grant Hi, it’s a pleasure to speak to you both.
S. Gless Thank you.
B. Campbell Thanks.
T. Grant So my question for you is, for both of you, the show sort of projects itself as a tutorial. It teaches you about different operatives and things you can use in real life. Have either of you ever been motivated to go ahead and try some of these things that the show teaches?
B. Campbell No, and I don’t recommend it either. I don’t recommend that anybody build anything from any fictional show.
S. Gless Right. Don’t try this at home.
B. Campbell It’s very important, do not try this at home for all kinds of reasons. I do know, as an adventurous child, we sent UFOs up that were constructed of dry cleaning bags over balsa wood struts with candles as thrusters. And you know, we could have set the woods on fire. We had homemade explosives, we could have blown our hands off. So growing up in suburban Detroit, I definitely had an older brother who was crazy and we were always mixing the wrong things together. Making gunpowder, and so I’m glad to have survived, actually. But now as an adult I can look back and go, “Yeesh, man that was stupid.” So I don’t caution the separation of church and state when it comes to TV shows it’s all fake, folks.
S. Gless When I was watching the show. Alright, we know I can’t look at my own stuff. But anyway, I asked Matt in reading all these scripts. I said, “Matt,” I’ve been in scenes or standing by watching Michael and Sam and Fi build stuff right there with whatever they had. And they go in really close and said to Matt, I said, “Matt, this looks really real. I mean you’re going to have people go home and aren’t children watching this?” And he said, “Sharon, I always leave some things out.”
B. Campbell There’s always about three ingredients that he leaves out.
S. Gless Yes.
Moderator Next we will go to the line of Stevie Wilson with LA-Story.com. Please go ahead.
S. Wilson Good morning and thank you for talking to all of us today.
B. Campbell Greetings.
S. Gless Hi.
S. Wilson When this season started out, Madeline’s parting shot or comment to everybody was that the three that Fi and Michael and Sam all had to be working together and watch each other’s back. And now that Michael . . .
S. Gless I’m sorry working together what?
S. Wilson Watch each other’s back.
S. Gless Oh, yes.
S. Wilson And to me that was a very telling statement that basically, it was open season on all of them, and including Madeline. Now the question is because Michael’s getting close to thinking about really rejoining whatever company it is that he worked for and going to work back into what he was doing as a spy, that leaves everybody else kind of hanging and wondering what’s the – obviously Fi’s not happy about it, but what’s Sam’s character feeling about it and what will Madeline do if that’s what her son goes off and does?
B. Campbell Go ahead, Sharon.
S. Gless I don’t know. I’m sorry, I just. Do you mean if he moved away again?
S. Wilson Well, yes, and the fact that you wouldn’t see him and he might not come back.
S. Gless I don’t know what Madeline would do. I do remember the line that you were speaking of when I said to take care of each other. I think she sees him now as a unit. I mean I don’t think Madeline likes to think of them ever being separated. I think she sees the value in what they do for each and how they protect each other. And I don’t know if she considers herself part of those three people. I think she has to stand back and watch and know that they’re smart enough but pardon me, shit can happen, so …
B. Campbell And I think from Sam’s point of view, it’s different than the other ones because Fiona doesn’t have the patriotism. She actually doesn’t understand that he liked doing what he did for the sake of his country. So Sam agrees with that. Sam was in the same boat, and I think he’d be happy for Mike to get back in, even though it looks like it’s borderline not worth it based on what he has to go through and I think Sam is a little bit of a canary in the coal mine. He doesn’t like it when Mike puts himself into very dangerous situations with really sleazy people in order to try and do this and in the episode we’re shooting right now that comes to a head where Sam refuses to help him because he’s doing stuff that is too questionable. So Michael’s going to get in pretty deep. We’ll see how deep he gets in. And if he winds up going back in, I think Sam would miss him because I think Sam has enjoyed getting back to work instead of just drinking and hanging out with rich Miami women. I think he’s enjoyed tailing people and pulling up some of the old skills again. It kind of gets the cobwebs out, gives him a reason to get out of bed.
S. Wilson Wow, that’s great. Thank you.
S. Gless Also, if Michael went away again like he did before, and didn’t contact me like he did before, I think Madeline would have more reason to be concerned because I think she knows now. I think Michael knows now that she does worry. They’ve had enough confrontations now that should he disappear again, I think there’s tremendous cause for …
B. Campbell But you know what, he may actually call you now.
S. Gless That’s what I’m thinking. If he doesn’t I think there would be cause for alarm.
B. Campbell Right, that’s right.
Moderator We now go to the line of BethAnne Henderson with NiceGirlsTV.com. Please go ahead.
B. Henderson Hi, thank you for taking our calls today. I’m a huge fan of yours, Sharon, and I’m just thrilled to be on this call with you. I’ve been a fan since Marcus Welby.
S. Gless Oh my God, you don’t sound that old.
B. Henderson But we are, and Cagney and Lacey of course.
S. Gless May I interject something for a minute? Do you know I was put on Marcus Welby as a regular for a year because I was to be a love interest of James Brolin, and they said that there was absolutely no chemistry between James Brolin and me and I got fired.
B. Campbell You failed the chemistry test.
S. Gless He was waiting for Barbara, I guess. I don’t know.
B. Henderson And so you ended up on Cagney and Lacey.
S. Gless Yes.
B. Henderson So it was a good thing. Speaking of Cagney and Lacey, you’re going to have somewhat of a reunion coming up this Sunday night. Can you talk about that a little bit?
S. Gless We’re having what, a reunion?
B. Henderson A reunion.
S. Gless A Cagney and Lacey reunion?
B. Henderson Well, sort of, on Burn Notice, on the show.
S. Gless Oh, excuse me, I was going to say I wasn’t invited. It’s not – is it this episode?
B. Campbell I think Thursday, yes.
S. Gless Oh, it’s this one coming up, that’s the one? Oh I didn’t realize that.
B. Campbell The actors never know anything. We don’t know when things are on.
S. Gless I don’t. I’m sorry, forgive me, what was your question about.
B. Henderson I just wanted to know if you could talk about getting together with Ms. Daly again and working with her again.
S. Gless It was wonderful. And I’m not just saying that. Tyne Daly is one of the finest actresses I’ve ever met or ever had the pleasure of working with. It was just like old times. I mean they were different characters, but we know each other now and her mother had a great expression. Okay, her mom said, “Sweat makes a great cement.” And she and I sweat together for six years and we just know each other’s timing, we know, and we love, we love to rehearse, we love to work, and it was a real treat for me and I think for all of us to have her on the show.
B. Campbell It was great to watch. Yes, we loved it and the crew and the cast. …
B. Henderson Well, thank you so much, I’m looking forward to it.
S. Gless Oh, thank you.
Moderator And next we will go to the line of Russell Trunk with ExclusiveMagazine.com. Please go ahead.
R. Trunk Hey guys, how are you doing today?
B. Campbell Very good, thank you.
R. Trunk Good, good, good. Hey, Bruce, firstly maybe this is something you can help me with. In the very first episode, Gabrielle’s character who was Irish throughout it and then come the second episode without any explanation, she was suddenly American. Or it was almost like that and Sharon, Madeline in the show, is an unsecure, attention-seeking, chain smoking hypochondriac so I was wondering how much of the real life you is involved in that role?
S. Gless Let’s see, insecure and chain smoking, hi. Madeline, your direct question to me was how much am I like Madeline. Madeline is growing, even though she doesn’t take as many pills. How much am I like her? I don’t know, I think there’s always a piece of me in everything that I play and you just go somewhere and you say, “Yeah, I can imagine that,” and you play it. Well, I’ve never had children but I’m, as the years go on in the show, I’m understanding every episode more about my relationship with this boy. He’s complicated, but I’ve not had children of my own, but I’m an actress, so I don’t know how I do it.
B. Campbell And with regard to your question about Fiona, I can’t answer that because it’s not a Sam question.
Moderator Next we will go to the line of Mark Rivera with Genre Online.net. Please go ahead.
M. Rivera Hi, Bruce. It’s great to speak to you again. I had a question for both of you. Gosh last time I spoke to you Bruce, you had just done your directorial debut, you had the audio book of your second novel out and both of you have been on network television. Bruce I know you’ve also been very successful on syndicated network television. I wanted to ask you both, what is the difference between working on both network and/or syndicated so to speak, free over the air television as opposed to being on a basic cable satellite fiber-optic, for lack of a better expression, television show that’s as successful as Burn Notice from both experiences?
S. Gless Bruce?
B. Campbell Well, I think, here’s what I would say. With regard to the difference between network and television, network you have a lot more chefs. We would having people crawling up our behinds much more often about scripts, about performance, about hair, makeup, what you look like. There’s a lot more micromanaging because there’s more at stake. The funny thing is, on cable, you’re a little more left alone. You’re only doing between 11 and 16 episodes a year, not 22 or 26 or more. I’m sure Sharon had to do more per season on Cagney and Lacey, but my experience has just been more oversight in the network side. But the funny thing is on the cable side on any given night, Burn Notice is the number one show on television in that slot for our demographic. So ironically, it’s a cable show that’s actually beating the networks. And you’re not really supposed to do that, so I think we’ve confused our parent company, NBC, by outperforming one of their network shows with one of their cable shows. I think . . . .
S. Gless I think we’re beating all the cables, too, aren’t we?
B. Campbell We’re beating everything on cable and also Sharon, we’re beating the network broadcasts in certain demographics. We’re actually the number one show on television at that time for those demographics.
S. Gless I love that.
B. Campbell Yes, it’s cool.
S. Gless My experience – the difference between working on network and working on cable is that you’re allowed to say things. You’re a lot freer on cable than you are on network.
B. Campbell On network, they probably wouldn’t want you to smoke.
S. Gless No, I’m sure.
B. Campbell Unless you were a bad guy.
S. Gless Yes, and then I mean USA’s a little more alert about what comes out of your mouth because we have a demographic of age 10 to age 80. But like working on Showtime, on Queer as Folk, I mean the things that were allowed to come out of my mouth. I was stunned. I enjoyed it, but having worked on network most of my life, you have much more freedom on cable.
M. Rivera Thank you for answering my questions.
S. Gless Okay.
Moderator Next we will go to the line of Chris King with StarPulse.com Please go ahead.
C. King Hey, guys. With Burn Notice appealing to such a wide audience, have either of you noticed like a shift in either of your fan bases. Like Bruce do more people come to you and talk about like Sam Axe and Burn Notice or is it still mostly people showing you tattoos that they’ve gotten of your face?
B. Campbell No, it’s been nice. I’m now the old guy on Burn Notice, so it’s awesome. I get to be a whole new persona of being spotted. And then there’s all those fans who will discover Burn Notice and then they’ll go back and go, “Oh, he was in these weird movies from years ago.” So I don’t care how they discover whatever, it’s all fine, I’m just glad they’re watching the show.
C. King Okay, have you seen a Sam Axe tattoo yet?
B. Campbell No, I haven’t seen a Sam Axe tattoo. I’m looking forward to my very first one.
C. King What about you, Sharon, is it still mostly Cagney and Lacey for you or are you getting more recognition for your work in Burn Notice.
S. Gless It would depend on who I’m talking to. They may initially say Cagney and Lacey, but most people who come up to me now are still, and now do recognize me as Maddie in Burn Notice.
B. Campbell Also on Queer as Folk.
S. Gless The demographics we have on this show span such an age range. I mean what I’m getting that’s neat for me is young people. Sometimes they’re a little too afraid, but their parents may be with them. And I mean I actually I’m not used to this. I actually had a 10-year old that’s not usually my demographic, had come up and his father brought him up and the boy said, “Are you on Burn Notice?” And I said, “Yes, I am.” He said, “That’s so cool!” So I’m learning more about the younger ones and it’s fun for me.
C. King That’s great. Thank you very much.
S. Gless Thank you.
Moderator And next we will go to the line of Bridget Adolfi with Spoiler TV. Please go ahead.
B. Adolfi Hi, first of all, it’s such an honor to be talking to both of you. I’m a huge fan and what you do is really great.
S. Gless Thank you.
B. Adolfi You’re welcome. I think the characters and in particular the main cast of course are what makes this show really stand out, and it’s not only the four kind of mains but the caliber of guest stars is constantly top notch and I particularly love that the show will bring people back from time to time often when we would least expect it or it would be somebody we assumed we would never see again. And that’s really fun and adds a depth to the show and a level of weight to the guest stars that they’re more that just plot devices. So I’m wondering if you guys personally, if there’s any past guest stars or characters you’d really like to see make a return appearance or if there’s anyone out there like a fantasy guest star that you’d really like to have on the show or work with personally.
S. Gless I’d like to have Tyne Daly come back. She wants to come back as a bad guy.
B. Campbell And she’d be a great bad guy. I’d bring her back.
S. Gless I know. Like Judy Dench on the James Bond things. Not a bad guy, but she would be running the whole thing.
B. Campbell Exactly, she’s the big evil temptress. But you know we had Lucy Lawless a couple years ago, which was a lot of fun for my old Xena pal. One of these days I’d love to get Kevin Sorbo, my Hercules buddy, to be a bad guy. Nice thing is when your ratings are good you get good guest stars. That’s really just the bottom line. Everyone wants to be on a popular show. Nobody wants to be on a marginally rated show. So we’re actually very fortunate – that’s what ratings bring to you.
S. Gless Yes.
B. Adolfi Great. Thank you guys so much.
S. Gless Thank you, Bridget.
Moderator Next we’ll go to the line of Joe Hummel from PopCultureMadness.com. Please go ahead.
J. Hummel Hi, thanks guys for taking our call. I want to say is that some of the questions that have … that I wanted to ask so I wanted to ask some of us have noticed that some of the like, I want to say romantic, but I’ll use the word loosely, tension between the characters Sam and Madeline. And Sam is often assigned the job of babysitting Madeline. But I guess I wanted to ask Sharon and then Bruce your thoughts on that.
B. Campbell No, I don’t think we’d ever want the romantic angle because it would be too creepy sleeping with Michael’s mother. You know, it’s too inbred . . .
S. Gless I know.
B. Campbell We’ve developed a familial attitude of almost more like cousins or something.
S. Gless Yes, I agree. And someone had asked me that before about what if the two of you, you know, and I said we’d have to probably be very drunk and the next morning it would be really hard at the water cooler.
B. Campbell Exactly.
S. Gless I think it would ruin a potential of what they still have yet to build.
B. Campbell I agree.
S. Gless Sex ruins everything. Okay. So did we just lose everyone on that one?
Moderator Next question comes from the line of Tom Peter from Geeks of Doom. Please go ahead.
T. Peter Yes. Hi guys, thanks for talking with us today.
S. Gless Hi Tom.
T. Peter I was very curious since you guys both had said that you don’t really want to know what happens with your characters in the future … Have there been things that you’ve kind of ad-libbed or done specific to your acting approach that have shown up in later episodes that you were happy with or . . .
B. Campbell Yes, I feel that at the beginning, you speak how the writers write and after a while they write how you speak. So I think there tends to be a line up there, an adjustment to every good writer knows what that particular actor does well and what they don’t do well. And I think over time they’ll go, “Madeline’s really great at this or that.” And they’ll write that sort of stuff. Or, “Sam’s really fun with interrogations. Let’s write that more of those.” Or with the dramatic thing they might not see as many of those come up.
S. Gless And where I think we eventually are becoming what my husband used to call custodians of our own character. And I mean I don’t screw around with the dialogue too much and sometimes I’ll add stuff just because I think it’s funny. I’m amusing myself. And every once in a while, Oh my God, they kept it in. And that tickles me, but I try to stick to what they write and then you know, you sort of add little stuff just to open it up a little.
B. Campbell And I think generally, Sharon, neither of us really get up in the morning wishing we could come and sit and ad lib, but some things do occur to you on the moment.
S. Gless Yes, exactly. And sometimes they stay in and sometimes they don’t.
B. Campbell Right, exactly.
Moderator On the line we have Christine Nyholm with the Examiner.com. Please go ahead.
C. Nyholm Hello Sharon and Bruce. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today.
C. Nyholm I’m so honored to be the last question and actually, my question is for Sharon. I was a fan of yours back from the Cagney and Lacey days, too. And I was wondering how your character, what Christine Cagney would think of Madeline and also what Madeline would have thought of Christine Cagney because they’re both like non-traditional characters but in very different ways.
S. Gless Yes, I don’t see them going camping together. I think that’s a very good, it’s a hard question. They’re so different. I don’t know. I think Madeline might have a little more respect for Christine and what she does, maybe not her attitude. Christine was highly competitive. I don’t know if she liked any other women around. There was an episode where they brought in a young cop who was going to observe and they became sort of comedic because Christine just didn’t want anything to do with her and all the men were all over the woman, of course. I don’t think Christine sees anybody but herself, do you know what I’m saying, herself and her work. That was part of her problem. She was a raging alcoholic, I mean they were very different. But I don’t know, maybe if you sat them down in a bar together that they’d get along. That might true. That’s the best I can do I think. I could see them just forgetting what either of them do and what their backgrounds are and just sitting down and having a drink.
C. Nyholm Okay, thank you.
S. Gless Thank you.