On Tuesday Burn Notices Bruce "Sam Axe" Campbell and Sharon "Madeline Weaston" Gless took part in a conference call interview. Unfortunately I had to work and missed the call but I've got some of the interview to share with you.
Q: Alright, Bruce, I know that you played in Xena and Hercules a 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
(CineManiac Comment I Love Bruce's answer to this!) Q: 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.Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: But I am, 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.
Q: And so you ended up on Cagney and Lacey.S. Gless Yes.
Q: 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?Q: A reunion.
S. Gless A Cagney and Lacey reunion?Q: 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.Q: 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. …
Q: Well, thank you so much, I’m looking forward to it.S. Gless Oh, thank you.
And there's another reason to tune in tonight at 9/8c to USA, you'll get to see a mini Cagney & Lacy Reunion.