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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews - Actors > Feature Interviews A to E > Bruce Campbell

 

BURN NOTICE -- "Do Not Harm" Episode 210 -- Pictured: Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson

bruce campbell

giving his burn notice

by jay s. jacobs

 
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: January 20, 2009.

Itís not easy to make a living in Hollywood as a cult celeb, but Bruce Campbell never believed in doing things the easy way. 

Campbell has become a God for throngs of fans for B-movies and genre work.  Best known for his role in Sam Raimiís Evil Dead films and The Army of Darkness, Campbell has had only one requirement for his projects Ė that they be different and intriguing.  This includes playing a still-alive Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep, the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills in Escape from Los Angeles, the title character in Maniac Cop and supporting roles in A-movies such as Fargo, Congo, The Majestic, Intolerable Cruelty and all three Spider-Man films. 

His most recent film, My Name Is Bruce Ė which he also directed Ė has him playing a fictionalized version of himself as a slob B-movie hero who is forced to fight evil for real.  Campbell also has a history of short-lived TV series Ė particularly the critical fave Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. 

Finally he has gotten a role in a series that is exposing him to a wider television audience, the popular spy series Burn Notice with Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar and Sharon Gless.  He plays Sam, an old-school former spy who is now helping a recently targeted fellow spy survive a series of attempts on his life Ė all while helping regular people by fighting off crime in ways that slightly skirt the law. 

The series was recently picked up for a third season by the USA Network.  As Burn Notice was getting ready to return for the second half of the sophomore season, Campbell was nice enough to hold a conference call with us, as well as several other websites, to discuss his experiences on the show. 

How much creative input do you have with your character for the show? 

Well, every situation is different and Burn Notice is very structured.  Matt Nix, itís his show.  Itís his concept.  Itís his idea.  So when I came on board, Iím going to give smaller stuff.  You know, I might ad lib some stupid joke at the end of a scene or whatever.  Or I might suggest a tone or maybe treat Michaelís mother more gently at some point.  Itís really for me mostly smaller stuff; the captain of the ship is Matt Nix and heís also allowing us to think through scenes and if we want to throw in a line or so, he doesnít have a problem with that.  But I never show up on a set going, ďMan, I got to ad lib today.Ē 

BURN NOTICE -- Pictured: Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Justin Stephens We talk to a lot of people on a lot of shows, but itís rare that you get to talk to ones who you really, really love the show. 

Well you have great taste, obviously.  But look, it is fun to be a part of a project that has been accepted. As an actor, we tend to work pretty hard on TV shows.  Theyíre non-stop for a long time and you never know.  Youíre acting in a void; you never know what the reaction is going to be.  Itís just nice to come across a show like Burn Notice that has caught on and itís grown every year.  Hopefully this new batch of episodes coming in January is going to be something theyíre looking for. 

Did you see the success of the show coming up?  Are you at all surprised about how successful it has been? 

Iím surprised by everything these days because you never know.  My basis for accepting this script when it came across my desk was I loved the fact of what it wasnít.  It wasnít a cop show.  It wasnít a doctor show.  It wasnít a lawyer show.  Thereís plenty of stuff that goes on, but this is basically the human side of spies and I went, right, I can get into that.  I really enjoyed the fact that itís a good blend of a show that does have strong main characters, and not a lot of them.  Itís got four main characters.  Thatís what the emphasis is.  And oh yes, stuff blows up and every week there is a caper where you defeat the jerk of the week.  But I think itís mostly you watch these characters from week to week, and thatís what I enjoy.  Thatís what appealed to me and what keeps me interested in the show is itís not really about the explosions, itís about the people who are doing the explosions. 

For someone who hasnít seen any episodes so far, what would you say to somebody coming in totally virgin to the show? 

I think if you come into the show late, youíre going to be okay because they always do enough recaps to kind of fill you in.  And the lead character, Michael Westen, has very heavy voiceover.  Heís kind of guiding you through the show, so I think youíre going to be fine.  Heís going to give you any kind of recap that you need to jump in.  And those people that have followed everything, I think theyíre going to be all over it because theyíve been waiting for it for, whatever, four or five months now. 

BURN NOTICE -- Pictured: (l-r) Sharon Gless as Madeline Westen, Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe, Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona Glenanne -- USA Network Photo: Justin Stephens What about your role continues to challenge you? 

To try and figure out how to sweat less.  No, I would say just to keep Sam interested in the stories and participating on stories.  If the writers do most of the work, which they will then do that, that theyíll keep the character engaged.  If the characterís engaged, then itís easy for me to be engaged in the character.  Hopefully whenever Sam was around in his portion that heís involved in something [he] has an opinion about something or whatever.  No actor likes to just sit around.  As long as itís the same as the first two seasons, Iím good to go. 

Do you have a most memorable moment youíve had from filming the seasons? 

For me, Iím just convinced one day that some bystanderís going to shoot me with a gun.  The reason why I say that is because my character Sam has a rifle with a scope and often heís up on high rises and overpasses taking potshots at people.  Sometimes you canít see the crew connected to me, because they put me far away.  Miami has a lot of guns, and so Iím just afraid some do-gooderís going to see me up there firing away and theyíre going to save Miami from that criminal.  And then Burn Notice will have three main characters. 

One of the aspects I love most with your character in the previous season was your relationship with Veronica.  I was wondering if weíre going to see any more relationship drama from Sam with any ladies in the future. 

They do, I think that there are efforts.  But, you know, Samís a tough case because heís a bit of a handful and theyíre always doing capers, so itís tough to have any kind of romance.  But there is another brush with romance in some of these upcoming episodes.  Which is fun, because I actually think if Sam is not so much button-down that we can see perhaps his exploits, if you will. 

Are there any upcoming guest stars that we can look forward to seeing? 

Oh, yes.  In these upcoming episodes itís pretty full on.  Youíve got Patricia Helfer back as Carla.  Sheís going to be causing lots and lots of trouble.  Michael Shanks is back as another one of these fellow cohort guys who youíre not sure if you can trust or not.  The great John Mahoney, who I worked with in the Hudsucker Proxy, John Mahoney from Cheers, heís back as someone I canít tell you about because Iíd have to kill you.  Former Dallas Cowboys Michael Irvin is joining us.  Heís Mr. Football, so it was kind of fun to do a football theme episode.  Dina Meyer shows up as, well, letís just say someone who perhaps was close to Michael Westen.  And of course with Fiona thatís going to cause some sparks.  There will be some sparks flying in these next seven episodes, I can guarantee you. 

BURN NOTICE -- "Breaking and Entering" Episode 201 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe, Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen --USA Network Photo: Dan Littlejohn We were introduced to a little bit of Samís backstory this past summer of season two where it was revealed the character was married in the Ď70s and that actually ended your relationship at the time.  Are we going to get any more information about this woman that Sam was married to or any more backstory into Samís life? 

Iím sure some back storyís going to come squeaking out in some way.  I kind of was amused myself finding out that Sam had a wife in the past. I think it is fun.  Thatís the beauty of these characters that have a history that things are going to come up that are complicated in their life.  The first season Sam had some kind of questionable relationships from the past that have come back to haunt him, so I think thatís always going to happen.  When you have three spies, former spies that are kind of damaged goods, thereís going to be enemies that come back, old friends and people that you may or may not want to see again. 

Do you feel like Burn Notice is sort of bringing back the escapist action series?  There are other shows on the air now like on TNT they have Leverage.  While most people compare it to something like Oceans Eleven, I feel it has a lot of Burn Notice influence to it because it involves people sort of helping out the little guy and fighting backÖ 

Iím glad you said that.  Look, Iíll tell you, I think the reason why this show, aside from the magnetic Mr. Donovan and the wonderful Ms. Gabrielle Anwar and Sharon Gless, is the fact that it is iconic.  And I donít mean that to make the show any better than what it is. It has iconic aspects.  Little Billyís always going to get his medicine, for the most part.  And itís a show that lacks cynicism in a way.  That thereís a sweet core to it of just human beings and I think anybody can connect to that.  Not everyone can connect to the Bourne Identity type of spy, but I think people can identify with this Michael Westen because heís fixing his momís garbage disposal when heís not doing some covert thing, so thatís what appeals to me.  And I like the fact that everyone in this show is an adult.   It reminds me of shows when I was a kid.  I watched Rockford Files and James Garner was an adult; he wasnít some kid actor.  And so I like the fact that this show is just geared for anyone who wants to see this type of story.  Itís not geared for kids or whatever, itís just a show that I would watch when I was in high school, too.  So, I donít know, I think thatís what appeals to me. 

BURN NOTICE -- "Hot Spot" Episode 211 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe, Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson Thereís been a lot of cool spy tricks and set ups theyíve done on Burn Notice.  I was wondering, whatís been your favorite thus far? 

Oh man, mostly itís just the bravado.  I love the fact that in Burn Notice we not onlyÖ see, like hereís the difference in Burn Notice and itís just more of a thematic thing is that if the police catch someone whoís done identity theft, they might catch the guy.  They might, not necessarily, but theyíre not going to get your money back.  In Burn Notice weíre not only going to catch the guy, weíre going to get every penny of your money back and maybe a little more.  And if the guyís careful, he might die.  So our characters donít crap around.  Fiona is basically crazy.  Sheíll blow up anything for any reason.  So these are not three characters that you need to mess with.  What I like is whenever theyíre confronted with something, theyíll come back at it in such a way that is very bold, usually, and thatís what I like. 

I think the show is potentially appealing to people because it does give you a sense of justice.  For the most part, we are going to catch these guys and weíre going to punish them, and we might torment them at the same time.   So as far as any one particular schtick, I donít really have a favorite.  My favorite thing is, you know, thereís an episode coming up where some kid gets in trouble with a gang banger who is a car thief.  So instead of just telling the guy to knock it off, the Burn Notice guys what theyíll do is theyíll pretend that theyíre a bigger band of car thieves in town to just run the guy out of town.  They think bigger than just knee capping a guy in the parking lot.  So itís kind of fun. 

I just like the inventiveness.  Because theyíre spies theyíre used to being in tricky situations, theyíre up against this and that.  And I also like theyíve got a little old school/new school.  Michael Westenís more new school; he fights differently, he thinks differently, heís a little more outside the box.  Sam is more like, well, letís just hurt somebody or plant a bug.  Good ole fashioned espionage.  Fiona is a little bit of a loose cannon, so that makes it okay, too, because we canít always control her. 

BURN NOTICE -- "Rough Seas" Episode 207 -- Pictured: Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson This dry humor is kind of a big part of what keeps me tuning in, so how important is it to keep that humor in the show to kind of break up some of the tension that can be present. 

I think itís imperative.  I think Matt Nix has always started with that dry humor right from the beginning.  The voiceover that Michael Westen has is very dry.  Itís very urbane sometimes.  Itís very erotic, itís very wry, itís very witty, so Iím right there with you; I think itís imperative.  Otherwise, weíve all seen movies where spies take their jobs so seriously.  But if you really think of it, at the end of the day spies are just people; theyíre just schmoes.  They have the same issues as everybody else, but you wouldnít think of it.  You wouldnít think that a former CIA spy would be having personal problems that would interfere with his work or whatever.  You just think of them as being robots, but theyíre not. 

Do you kind of feel that thatís what helped viewers relate to these characters? 

Thereís no question about it.  If we were doing nothing but spy-speak all the time, I think youíd get some guys to watch and go, ďYeah, okay, cool.  Theyíre talking that cool spy stuff.Ē  But I think at the end of the day I want the soccer mom to be able to watch this show and go, ďOh, cool, theyíre trying to patch up their relationship with something.  Or Michaelís working on some old problem in the past that is now coming back to haunt him.Ē  I think thatís whatís getting a wider range of viewers.  It really isnít just squinty-eyed spies shooting the gun sideways looking cool.  That they are flawed, all of these characters are flawed, and theyíre all kind of doing the best they can.  Theyíre tap dancing as fast as they can. 

A question about your character and also Michaelís.  What are the fatal flaws that you all perceive within the character and how do you work those in, because you guys are naturally funny, youíre naturally accomplishing the jobs and getting it all done, yet Sam definitely has his own quirky side that sometimes interferes but also makes it move forward, but there is a fatal flaw in every character. 

Sure.  They are damaged goods.  These are people who have had histories and pasts and sometimes they didnít go well and something went weird enough for Michael Westen to get burned.  You know, the Michael Westen character, Jeffrey can speak more toward that, but he comes from a weird, messed up family.  Heís got family issues.  Heís got issues with his brother, heís got issues with his mother and issues with his ex.  So everybody has issues.  And he and Sam get along pretty well now, but in the first season he wasnít even sure if he could trust Sam because Sam, in order to save his own skin was willing to chat occasionally with the Feds and give them some information to keep his butt out of the fire.  And Samís flaw, obviously, heís a party boy, so itís going to distract him a little bit; itís going to slow him down. Heís going to be probably putting his nose in some of the wrong places sometimes.  But yet heís coming around as a pretty loyal character. 

And Fiona, Iím not sure what her excuse is, but sheís just mostly nuts.   And I think thatís good.  I like it when, like thereís a couple of upcoming episodes where she gets really angry because of whatís going on with either kids or something like that.  When she steps in, itís kind of fun to watch. Sheís good at getting angry and wanting to hurt someone. 

BURN NOTICE -- "Scatter Point" Episode 205 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona Glenanne, Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson Because Samís character has evolved and become much more loyal, how is this going to play out in terms of what happens with Carla? 

Well Sam never liked Carla. 

Right.  But I mean in terms of how much is Sam going to go the difference in terms of just letís get rid of Carla, letís findÖ 

Oh, Samís going all the way; heís in.  Carlaís going down.  I mean, theyíve got to do something about that woman. 

Itís going to be an exciting season. 

Itís coming head-to-head.  After the end of this seven episode run some things are going to change in Washington.  Thereís going to be some fascinating changes coming.  Thatís all I can tell you.  Otherwise, Matt Nix would send Michael Westen to kill me if I told you more.  But yes, some stuff is going to go down. 

You kind of hinted at this a little bit, so one of the things the show does is have like the long story arc with the sniper going on and all that in addition to like an episode having a different second plot line. Is that going to be the staple for the remainder of this season as well? 

Thereís always going to be two things going on.  One is the problem at hand, which is somebody needs help and itís worthy enough for him to help someone in the middle of what his overlying problem is, is who is causing all these problems for this guy.  And so thatís, the one is the constant, but the other one, the overall problem that he has is going to, thatís going to be ratcheted up consistently throughout the seven episodes to its final explosion point, where itís a point of no return. 

And I would certainly say that with as much as he drinks, he would not look as good as you do in real life, thatís for sure. 

Well, you canít be a total method actor. 

Congratulations on the third season renewal. 

Thank you very much.  Weíre excited, too, because itís a show that we all want to be a part of.  Weíre not grumbling back to work.  Iím really excited to read the first script. 

Between this role and also a lot of roles youíve done in the past, and your new movie My Name is Bruce, you have a good time toying with the image of a hero.  You enjoy playing characters that are flawed and self-obsessed, yet theyíre eventually able to put it together to save the day.  Why do you find that kind of an interesting character to play? 

Because me personally as an actor can relate to that more so that I can, itís just easier for me to do.  Iím not good at playing someone who doesnít have weird quirks, because Iíve never met someone who didnít.  So thatís why I tend to avoid a little bit of the traditional hero thing, and thatís what appealed to me about this show.  This show is very untraditional, yet, having said that, there are traditional story elements that things are going to be made right by these people.  So I donít know, those types of characters have always appealed to me, hoping that they will appeal to the average garage mechanic whoís watching the show.  As an actor, I want my work to be as appealing to as many people as possible. 

Also, like you said, for traditional characters you were talking about Fiona, there are a lot of really tough women in this show, like Triciaís character and even Sharonís. 

Yes, these are mostly, theyíre ball busters, these women, and I think thatís fun.  Why not have strong characters, because honestly, thatís how you get good actresses to come work on the show. Weíve had Lucy Lawless and that was really fun, and I knew that we could get her because they could come up with a good character for her.  So Iím glad that worked out.  Yeah, itís fun.  If you have strong male characters, you better have strong female characters. 

Absolutely.  One other thing that is sort of Iíd feel is almost a character in the show is Miami itself.  Itís so beautiful.  How do you feel that filming in this city really helps the vibe of the show?

It matters, it really does.  People can tell.  Weíre on beaches and weíre in swamps and at the edge of the everglades and running around in funky alleys and buildings, you donít have to fake your angles.  The main difference is that by shooting there, you know, Florida is a flat state, you donít see mountains anywhere.  With CSI Miami, theyíve got to be careful because if they tilt up about 10 degrees, theyíre going to be looking at the Santa Monica Mountains there.  So you donít have to fake anything.  Youíve got boats left and right, anything you need saying itís Miami, itís tBURN NOTICE -- Pictured: Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Justin Stephens here.  And weíre really the main show that has stayed.  Dexter left, CSI: Miami left and weíre it.   So we actually get great cooperation.  We get into as many cool places as youíd ever want to get into just because people are excited to have us there.  So weíre really capitalizing on it.  USA has kind of given us the edict of 60% of the show has to be outdoors.  Because if theyíre shooting in Miami, they want to see it. 

I wanted to go off something that was said earlier.  You had mentioned the Bourne Identity and about the way you kind of like the human side of the show, the human side of spies.  Since 9/11 and Bourne Identity, I think the whole spy genre has changed quite a bit and so it was just continuing with that, altering those old archetypes.  Where do you guys think you see yourselves fitting into that whole thing with just the humanization and maybe just the little bit of ambiguity and the whole political side of the spy world or whatever? 

Weíre being very apolitical in this.  We donít really take any of those sorts of sides.  I just like the fact that weíre not cynical.  There are a lot of spy shows that can be cynical because spies themselves can be cynical because they enlisted for an altruistic reason and sometimes, like with Michael Westen, he would be perfectly justified to be cynical because he got burned after doing what, he doesnít even know.  He was a good spy.  So I like the fact that even with that humor has won out over cynicism and so hopefully our show will be placed in that mode that itís not really a serious kind of Bruckheimer kind of movie. 

One thing I know, at least for myself, part of the reason why I was drawn to the show just seeing your name on the bill.  Like this was going to have that humor, this is going to have that fun that really is lacking sort of thing. If I could change directions a little bit, I just have to ask who fights dirtier, spies or zombies? 

Zombies because theyíre not as smart as spies.  Spies donít have to fight dirty, they just fight hard. 

Youíve been on a lot of shows that have only lasted one season.  How does it feel to be back on a show that has not only been picked up for a third season but is a hit? 

Ask yourself the same question:  How would you feel?  You feel good.  I just learned that people like me in small doses.  So whenever Iím not the star, like with Hercules & Zena, the shows run for six years, so Iím good.  This show will be on the air forever because Iím not the star of it, so it worked out fine.  It feels good to be part of a hit show, though, too.  Honestly.  The crew, any of them I think are very grateful to know these are people who work harder than any actor.  Theyíre busting themselves 14, 16 hours a day and itís nice to know that itís a hit show.  Because sometimes you do that and the showís a dog and it gets cancelled. 

BURN NOTICE -- "Scatter Point" Episode 205 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson I was actually able to attend your premiere of My Name is Bruce in Austin.  It was wonderful.  Are you planning on directing anything else soon? 

I can answer that question after February 10th when the DVD comes out.  Then Iíll know if anybodyís watching what I do.  As you know, itís economically driven.  I would like to and Iím hoping to do another movie in the fall of this year. 

The thing Iím wondering is when they build up the backstory between your character and Michael, it seems almost like Michael is learning from you, and now heís the boss and youíre the sidekick. How does Sam relate to that? 

Sam was always a sidekick, though. 

Well on the show, but in the backstory he was the heavy hitter. 

Well, I think itís just different, though.  I think Michael Westenís probably a better spy than Sam ever was, only because heís more disciplined.  He doesnít get drunk every five minutes.  Plus, theyíre just different; old school/new school.  I think Sam, his fighting style is different, a little more John Wayne and Michaelís is a little more Bourne Identity.  But if youíre asking what itís like being a sidekick, I love it. 

Cool.  As a director yourself, what do you think of the style of the show? 

I think itís very cool without being overdone.  Weíve all seen movies and TV shows where you go, ďGeez, give it a restĒ stylistically because itís either too handheld or it gives you a headache or itís over-editing.  I think Burn Notice is very stylish without being obnoxious.  I like the voiceover.  I think itís a very unique style.  I like the freeze frames where the title comes in Joe Blow, Client.  And then another one comes in, Joe Blow, Loser, or whatever.  Itís just kind of a fun, makes it a little cool and jazzy and freewheeling.  And they also mess with the colors, too.  The showís very colorful.  If you look at the ocean in any of the shots, itís bright green or blue.  The clouds are amazing, too. 

BURN NOTICE -- "Trust Me" Episode 203 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona Glenanne, Bruce Campbelll as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson What are the chances of Michael and Fiona becoming an official, committed couple by the end of this season? 

If I was Matt Nix I could answer that.  Who knows?  These are two volatile people, so the chances are probably not great.  Thatís the best I could guess. 

One of the strengths of the show seems to be the fact that weíve got four really great, simple characters.  Talk about the relationship you have with each one of your costars.  What itís like to work with each one of them. 

Character-wise or person to person? 

Both. 

Okay.  Well, basically, Sam and Michael, they did work together in the past.  They didnít really have too many issues in the past with each other.  Sam is a different personality.  At first he wasnít sure if he could be trusted.  Now I think itís pretty clear Sam is in it for the long haul. Otherwise, what would he be doing?  He would be on some beach drunk somewhere, so this gives him something to do.  And so their relationship has definitely solidified because they hadnít seen each other in a while and all the crap they went through in the past was the past, but now theyíre going through a bunch of new crap and it makes them even tighter, I think. 

Sam and Fiona were probably never close; different styles.  He thinks sheís too impulsive and too over the top, over kill.  She never thinks that these guys are doing enough.  Sam, I think, was less tolerant, you know, when they first met they almost got in a fist fight because they hated each other from the past.  And, oh, Iíve got finish my Donovan part of it, though. 

But person to person, Bruce and Jeffrey, I feel that our personal relationship is kind of the same as Sam and Mike; itís his show and I respect him a lot as an actor and my job is to support.  Iím the supporting actor.  So, we currently, I call him Mr. Donovan and we get along great. 

So getting back to Sam and Fiona, now Sam and Fiona are, I think, more, they know that neither of them is going anywhere, so theyíve got to deal with each other.  So you can have your banter and then occasionally Sam will ask her about girl stuff or whatever. So you do have that ability to not only deal with case stuff with Fiona, arguing about tactics, but Sam can also have a softer element with her by talking about dames, about women. 

Then basically with Michaelís mother, Madeline, who now Sam I think calls Maddy, I think itís always been respectful.  Didnít know her all that well and now theyíve actually spent more time.  And youíll see in some of these upcoming episodes, Sam and Madeline spend more time together for a bunch of different reasons and they get to know each other more, and you see more of the dynamics.  Theyíre much more comfortable with each other now as a pair. 

So as far as Bruce and Sharon Gless, look, I respect her as a television icon.  I mean, whatís not to love about her?  And as a person sheís really kind of shy and cute and kooky, and itís a great thing.  And she lives down there in Miami and she just has a ball.  So itís been fun to work with someone who is so iconic, you see how nothing is as forced; theyíre very comfortable in their skin because theyíve been around for so long.  So I have to say the dynamics I feel are fine on the show.  We donít have anything thatís interfering with doing our job. 

BURN NOTICE -- "Double Booked" Episode 208 -- Pictured: Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson How much do you see of yourself in Sam and how much do you see of the others in the characters they portray? 

Well, thatís always a tough call. Actors canít escape their own physical being.  Youíre always going to see Bruce Campbell there doing whatever.  I donít drink as much as Sam does and I donít womanize as much as Sam does because Iíve been married for 17 years to the same woman.  So, itís always fun to just let loose.  Sam is a much more relaxed character than me.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and by the time I show up in Miami this March, Iím going to be white and pasty and Iím going to be squinting at the sun because itís been raining and snowing here in the Pacific Northwest.  So Iíll go back down to Miami, Iíll strip my work boots off, my jeans off and get back into that character, get back into that basically removing clothing.  You know, I get my t-shirts off, I get my flannel shirts off and start getting back in flip flops and shorts.  Because I literally live at the complete opposite end of the country and itís a huge adjustment every year, but it kind of cracks me up that people perceive me as this kind of, hey, beach guy with a beer in his hand and Iím kind of the opposite.  Iím such a woodsy guy.  I like mountains and streams and rivers and lakes. 

I was just curious, have you ever been approached or are you ever going to direct any episodes of Burn Notice yourself? 

Iíve never really discussed it officially or had it posed to me.  Iíve directed television in the past, but I think in this case itís reallyÖ Iím in a fun situation where Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle and everyone, we have a good relationship and Iím kind of a bossy director and Iím not sure if itís right for television.  So I think Iím just going to step back. We have a good group of guys thatís come in and out now of men and women who have directed some really good episodes.  So I think Iím just going to get out of the way and be a good little actor boy. 

What would you like to say to everyone whoís a fan and supporter of you and Burn Notice? 

As always, I bow to anyone who watches or supports what I do or the show, because thatís what keeps the show on the air.  You have to have that support.  So to them I would say we will try and come up to be equal with your devotion to give you hopefully a good show from season to season.  Weíre all looking forward to season three because we donít know what to expect.  Itís going to be really interesting to see where it goes this year.  So like everybody else, Iím hopefully just as excited to see whatís going to happen.

BURN NOTICE -- "Hot Spot" Episode 211 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, Michael Irving as Sean Coach Martin, Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson Every time we see Sam it seems like he has a beer in his hand and I was wondering what you are actually drinking. 

Well, as an actor you canít even really go near that these days.  The days of sort of the John Wayne drinking in your trailer days are kind of over.  Itís just good old fashioned water.  Because sometimes if you put real fizzy stuff in there or even like they have the non-alcoholic beer, which still has a little percentage of alcohol, but it will just make you burp. It gets you all bloated and burpy.  So I just go for water.  What we do is we use always a colored bottle.  Youíll notice itís either a green bottle or a red bottle, and it kind of disguises whatís inside.  Youíve blown my cover.  Sorry. 

Carla has been the main archenemy on Burn Notice this season.  Iím expecting her, of course, to return for the second half.  Is there going to be anyone else beyond her, her boss, perhaps, or another arch villain coming into the picture? 

I think Iím allowed to say very likely.  Very likely.  Everyone has a boss, so I think the season will prove no different.  Because Michaelís being manipulated by someone who might be manipulated by someone.  You never know.  I think the layers are going to get deeper this season and it will start to get to the point where somethingís gotta give. 

What would you say to someone if they came up to you and said that they were such a big fan of yours that they named their son Ash? 

Iíve already had that.  Multiple times, as a matter of fact.  I would say have a long and prosperous life as Ash.  Hopefully heíll have a life thatís not as bad as being named Sue, you know?  But Ash is a little on the girlie side, so he might have to stand up tall. 

BURN NOTICE -- "Breaking and Entering" Episode 201 -- Pictured: Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe -- USA Network Photo: Dan Littlejohn I just want to know where you would like to see the character of Sam go in season three. 

Iíd like some new shirts.  Actually, Tommy Bahama is going to sponsor season three, so you will see some new shirts.  I think like any show you just want to see your character used.  I donít know if I have to have a whole, completely different life revealed, but I think showing people off duty is always good.  We see a little bit of that with Michael and Fiona.  We donít really see what Sam does.  I guess heíd be sitting in a bar somewhere.  I never really know.  I never know what to suggest in those cases because the writers have so much going on.  Theyíve got a lot theyíve got to deal with.  And I think they struck a pretty good tone of not getting too involved in your personal life that youíd forget about the caper of the week. So I think, also, until you deal with some huge, bigger story lines, until those play out, you donít have time to see someone go fishing or whatever. 

For a followup question regarding season three, Burn Notice started out with being just that, Michael was burned.  And then we go into now someoneís trying to kill him.  How much further, what else could possibly happen? 

Itís going to get bad because itís not only you that theyíre after, meaning Michael Westen, but theyíre after friends and family.  They want them all. And so weíre going to get into kind of a no mercy situation that I think is going to be very interesting and fun for people to watch.  And itís really been great; Jeffrey Donovan has some absolutely wonderful tour de force stuff.  Heís just so good for the show because heís an animal; heís a really intense actor and he can hold up for a whole season, which is a lot of work for him.  And itís good, these next episodes kind of let them strut his stuff.  And incidentally, the first episode back was written and directed by Matt Nix who created the show.  I think this is his first television foray and I think he did a great job.  Itís a really cool opening show. 

With all the shows and channels out there, do you feel like itís harder to find a show or is it easier with the technology and things like TiVo? 

Oh, I think itís easier.  Definitely.  Between YouTube, just Internet stuff, itís easier.  Well the trick, though, is to find out how to tell people that you want to tell, the people that you want, youíve got to find out what theyíre watching and how theyíre watching it.  Are they watching it live, are they streaming it, are they downloading it, are they doing a DVD the first season?  Are they TiVoíing it?  Thereís so many ways now.  So Iím glad that people donít have to sit down, love to have them Thursdays at 10, but it doesnít matter as much as every year goes by, because now theyíre factoring in the TiVo ratings, thank God, because our ratings actually go up.  Look, the average person, I have to say, I think the numbers are way off, still.  I think 30% of America is not watching live TV, maybe more, and every year itís going to change.  So I just hope that we all as a show and as a network that we stay on top of it and figure out how to find these people who are watching it in different ways.

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Photo Credits:
#1 © 2009 Glenn Watson. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#2 © 2008 Justin Stephens. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#3 © 2008 Justin Stephens. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#4 © 2008 Dan Littlejohn. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#5 © 2009 Glenn Watson. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#6 © 2008 Glenn Watson. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#7 © 2008 Glenn Watson. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#8 © 2008 Justin Stephens. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#9 © 2008 Justin Stephens. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#10 © 2008 Glenn Watson. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#11 © 2008 Glenn Watson. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#12 © 2008 Glenn Watson. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#13 © 2009 Glenn Watson. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.
#14 © 2008 Dan Littlejohn. Courtesy of USA Network.  All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: January 20, 2009.

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Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: January 20, 2009.