Bruce Campbell: Complicated Threat Looms Big Over ‘Burn Notice’

by | November 2, 2011 at 11:53 AM | Burn Notice, Interviews

Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Donovan in Burn Notice (Virginia Sherwood/USA)

Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Donovan in Burn Notice (Virginia Sherwood/USA)

The spy business is heating up in Miami when Fiona’s (Gabrielle Anwar) freedom is put in jeopardy and Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) and Sam (Bruce Campbell) go to extraordinary lengths to keep her out of jail when “Burn Notice” returns on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 10/9c on the USA Network.

“The new bad guy Anson (Jere Burns) is going to be worse than ever,” Campbell tells XfinityTV.com in an exclusive interview. “He gets creepier and creepier each episode. He is this little weasel guy. You want to strangle him with your bare hands. So we are having trouble with him and we may or may not be able to get rid of him by the end of the season. He’s that good. ”

Anson has the goods on one of the explosion’s that Fi set off to save Michael this past summer — even though she wasn’t responsible for the deaths of the two security guards caught in the blast — and he is threatening to go to the cops with it if Michael doesn’t help him. Anson is the last of the group who issued the “Burn Notice” on Michael and he is desperate to get his information scrubbed from the FBI and CIA computers. So he sends Michael to Puerto Rico to abduct a financial hacker who has just the virus that can do that!

Go Inside This Summer’s “Burn Notice” Comic Con Panel With Bruce Campbell And Matt Nix:

But first, read the lowdown from Campbell on the second half of the “Burn Notice” season.

If Michael ever gets out from behind the eight ball completely, there is no show. So, it would actually be a good thing if you can’t get rid of Anson.
Michael pretty much is getting back with the CIA now in season five. But there are complications in that the network that he is [connected to] is worse than he thought, so he has to deal with those ramifications. Also, one of the lead characters on the show may not be enjoying the freedom they did moments before. Pretty heavy stuff, so there are going to be some tears. As we get closer to the end of the season, things get worse and worse.

Do you think it is the relationships or the explosions that make it a better show?
The relationships, because if you invest in the characters you are worried about them. If you don’t care about them, you might as well blow them up. It is the USA Network motto, too, characters welcome. [Executive producer] Matt Nix has tried to emphasize the human side of spies. That is what I like about the show. Anybody can blow stuff up, but do we care about people?

You’ve played Sam for a while now. What is your favorite thing about him?
How casual he is. He is probably the most comfortable character in terms of clothes. I am about to do Sam Rami’s new movie, “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” and I am in an outfit that is ridiculously heavy, uncomfortable and cumbersome with tons of special effects makeup, so Sam Axe is a dream.

You are talking about casual for comfort, but what about casual for Sam’s attitude?
That’s it. I’ve met a couple of these former CIA guys, former military guys, and those guys who got out are very casual people. They just want to kick back. They don’t want to wear a uniform anymore. They don’t want to answer to anybody anymore. They’ve done that. They just want to have a good time. That is pretty typical of Sam Axe. He has already been through the shit, if you will, and now he just wants to drink beer and sleep with rich Miami women.

Who he seems to find in abundance.
Yeah, well there are a lot of hot women there.

What is it about Sam that he can get them?
He can never explain. Everyone always asks him that. It is a mystery that I don’t think we will ever know.

You already had a cult following before taking this role, but did playing Sam up your cool factor in any way? Change your life somehow?
It didn’t hurt the cool factor definitely. It hasn’t necessarily changed my life. I have worked in television before and I will work after. I have never been on a show this long as a regular character, so from an actor’s point of view, it has been a dream to work on something consistently for multiple years because you don’t know. How many pilots did George Clooney shoot before he did “ER”? Apparently, it was a huge amount. So you never really know whether your show will be a one-off. Next season, we will have run longer than “Miami Vice,” so we are going to be the new top dog in Miami next year.

You mentioned that you had met some former agents. Are these guys on the set to advise?
Matt Nix apparently consults with a real former CIA guy. He gives us little tricks, because with spies, the funny thing is sometimes the simplest thing is the answer. You know, give me some duct tape and Elmer’s Glue and they take out the bad guy. The guy they work with is very clever and he is a man with no name. No one will ever know his name. I guess he vets the scripts. He also helps them build stuff. We are always building stuff, but if it is a dangerous bomb situation, he will give us almost all the ingredients. And we always change it a little bit so some freak can’t actually do what we are doing.

You have been working more often with Sharon Gless. How is that? The stuff with her is really funny.
We are very comfortable with each other now. The great thing about working with someone for five years is you know what pisses them off. You know if they are having a good day or a bad day. We help each other out. If Jeffrey is working hard, we finish the day with our scenes instead of his. There is a lot of camaraderie. It is nice to work on a hit show. Everyone tends to relax after your show is a hit. What helps the rapport on the show is that we actually like each other, we talk to each other and we respect each other. We don’t talk down to each other as characters or as actors. There is a lot of mutual respect which goes a long way over time. And Sharon Gless … she is an institution.

Has working on this spy show and doing all the things Sam does make you more paranoid about what the government can do?
No. I am not a paranoid person. The government can’t make the trains run on time, so I am not worried about a government conspiracy. Our government is too confused to be able to pull the big shit off, I think.

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