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Bruce Campbell: The TV Squad Interview

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 20th 2008 8:02AM
Bruce CampbellOn USA's spy-action-comedy series Burn Notice, there are great actors all around. Recently, I had the chance to spend a day on the set of Burn Notice (more on that next week!), and share in round-table interviews with the stars of the show.

Here's one of those wonderful actors, the irreverent and brilliant Bruce Campbell. As Sam, Jeffrey's old friend -- and sometime nemesis -- from the spy wars, Campbell is having a ball filming in South Florida and stealing scenes like nobody's business. Oh, and he smells good, just like Old Spice.

Q: What is the character of Sam about?

Bruce Campbell: He's about 50. No, he's like the other characters in the show, damaged goods, which is why I like him.

Q: What do you like about Sam?

BC: I like characters with flaws, so he's a fun-loving guy, who is now -- by the end of the first season -- officially loyal to the group. It was a little iffy there for a while, because everyone was sort of out for themselves. Sam has a past. Everyone has a past. I also like the fact that these characters are adults. USA is doing shows that are, in my opinion, more interesting from a character point of view.

Q: Do you think TV is the place for actors these days?

BC: It's cyclical, because you know for a while the feature actors wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. You were a loser if you did television. Kiefer Sutherland would not have done a TV show ten years ago. Television has a lot of opportunities, and it's expanding like crazy.

Q: USA has given the show a chance to grow...

BC: Every show wants time to grow and get better. We are hopefully better this season than we were last season. You need time to get up to speed and get an audience. It's a big country, it takes a while for people to find stuff. We're hitting them with the DVDs, they're airing all the episodes right up to when the new season begins on July 10. It's all Machiavellian, but it works.

Q: Sam seems to have a lot of problems in his love life...

BC: These people are good at their jobs and bad at their personal lives. Like most actors, I mean honestly. Everyone thinks it's so glamorous that Ben Affleck is sleeping with all these different chicks. It's only because he can't keep a single relationship because he's working all the time.

Q: Is that why actors hook up with other actors?

BC: Absolutely, cause they go, "You, you're close, come here."

Q: Have you gotten to do some fun stuff so far this season?

BC: Oh yeah, they're having me play a snooty accountant, a crazy drug guy. There's a lot of that. That's always going to keep an actor happy. Law & Order isn't going to go there, so that show's probably not for a guy like me.

Q: Do you think your character might have something to do with Michael getting the burn notice?

BC: No, not a chance. Sam is a true, blue patriot, 100 percent. I'm not kidding. He loves his country, but these are three people who don't like to go by the rules anymore. I love the premise of the show where, like if a cop catches someone who stole your identity, they might catch 'em, but they're not going to get your money back. Michael Weston will catch 'em and get your money back. That's helping the little guys. It makes it a show that people can relate to. You can blow stuff up all day long, but if you don't care about the characters, what's the difference?

Q: Do you like the fact that they let Sam dress realistically in Miami, in shorts and Hawaiian shirts?

BC: I love Sam's outfits. I am a Tommy Bahama guy. I've done plenty of parts where I wouldn't wear those clothes in a million years.

Q: Do you make fun of Jeffrey Donovan, wearing Armani suits in Miami?

BC: He doesn't sweat; he's cool as a cucumber. He'll heat up a little bit, but I'm like projectile sweating.

Q: Have you had a favorite storyline?

BC: Sam's going to be cooking with Madeline, so that's fun because Sharon Gless is fun and very old school. She likes to rehearse and things like that. We always look forward to guest stars, because when you have a successful show, you can start getting some decent guest stars.

Q: Do you get the vibe early on that this show was going to be a hit?

BC: Every actor loves to look back and go, 'I knew it, I knew that Burn Notice was going to be a hit.' I haven't done television for eight years because my last show bombed. Then this one came along, and I thought the pilot was good, because it felt fresh. Donovan was going to be involved, and as an actor who's been around a while, you try to pick who you're working with. Jeffrey has a lot of experience, too. It just built bit by bit. USA's really behind it, then they were getting Sharon Gless and Gabrielle Anwar.

Q: Are you worried about ratings?

BC: I didn't really track it. For the first time I never paid attention to ratings. But they've been good and they're increasing.

Q: Are you living in Miami?

BC: Oh, yeah, we're living here because they expanded the season, which we interpret as a good sign. They want more, so we'll give them more. We're doing 16, so yeah, I'm living in Cocoanut Grove.

Q: Do you think Sam sees himself as some sort of a mentor to Michael?

BC: Michael's new school; Sam's old school. Sam's more psychological operations, fist fights, you know, just bug him, bug him and listen to him. Michael's more using smarts, very chameleon-like. Michael's sort of the super-spy.

Q: What about Sam and Fiona's relationship?

BC: She doesn't care about Sam. They argue, but Sam's always going back for advice because he's having relationship problems. He's asking Fi, who's insane, so I don't know why, what the purpose is of that. There'll be more of us sitting in a car, talking.

Q: What has been the scariest stunt you've ever done?

BC: It was back on Brisco County, Jr. We were suspended by cables three stories up above a wagon full of farm implements, so they could get a camera above us, so I'm hanging on a ledge, and the camera's above us. And they hauled us up there on aircraft cables in a harness, but that doesn't mean anything, cause you're still three stories up going, 'Yeah, that could break, we could all go.' The stunt guy comes up with a video camera before the stunt, and goes, 'Bruce, you're comfortable with what you're about to do, right?' I'm like, 'Are you shitting me?' He goes, 'You're comfortable with the safety precautions we've taken?' I went, 'Well, I'm going to do it. Am I comfortable? Not really.'

Q: On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate Burn Notice as a positive work experience?

BC: Oh, eight. Very high, cause if you get up to ten, that means you're having too much fun, and the show will probably suck.

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June 20 2008 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Projectile sweating"--what a fantastic phrase. I'm totally stealing that.

June 20 2008 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OMG Bruce Campbell is AMAZING! I can't wait to see the new season of Burn Notice, July 10th can't get here fast enough! I love what he said about Jeffery and his suits!

June 20 2008 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Since TV Squad barely mentioned the show in its first season, it is nice to see this post. Maybe you will actually review the show this season on a regular basis!

[Hopefully there is some kind of incentive($$$) to review something that is 'new' rather than 'retro'.]

June 20 2008 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No Chainsaw. Boring.

Seriously though, I can't stand Burn Notice. The voiceovers are giving me a headache. It's as if I am watching a show that's describing in detail what's happening on-screen.

This show has to be bliss for blind people I guess.

June 20 2008 at 11:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to StillBash's comment

I must be blind then. It's a great show that I can't wait to have start back up.

June 20 2008 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hail to the King, baby!

June 20 2008 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stuman714 from Indy

Brilliant man and a super role for him as well. Sounds so down to earth. Makes me love his work even more!
Go BC! And GO Burn Notice!!!!

June 20 2008 at 9:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nicholas Pike

BC is awesome.

June 20 2008 at 8:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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