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Q) I thought that the job you guys do on the show either has to be the funnest, but could also potentially be a lot harder. You play so many different, you know, personalities on the show when youíre undercover. Can you talk about that, and is it more challenging?
A) Actually, it has its moments of being challenging particularly when thereís different dialects involved, but I am very grateful to play these roles because after six years of playing the same character, it really does breathe a breath of fresh air into each episode when we get to do something thatís completely out of character. Jeffrey Donovan, who plays Michael, gets to do it much more frequently than I, and I get a little bit sulky about that.
Q) Have you had weapons training for the show?
A) I havenít had any formal training in much of anything, actually. Now that I say that out loud - but I did go shoot some pretty heavy machinery a few years back, because not only are the weapons incredibly heavy, but theyíre very disconcerting to be holding something that actually is a murder weapon, that is something that is - unless used properly could bring down an entire family, which kind of throws me for a loop. Iím an ardent pacifist in reality, so Iíve made it very clear to my children from the get-go that there would be no guns in the house, and hereís mummy going off to work doing that very thing for a living. So Iím a bit of a bloody hypocrite now that I think of it.
Q) Do you have a favorite episode or a scene for this season?
A) Let me think, what was this - episode 6.09 - I think it was 6.09, could have been 6.08. They all kind of merge into one after six years. I get to play a Boston mobster, so that was tremendous fun for me. We get to sort of mix it up a little bit and incorporate different characters and accents and costumes and hair and makeup. Itís just fun. Itís like dress-up as a kid.
Q) And after six seasons, what has been your biggest challenge on this show so far?
A) The heels. Yes, my little toes are - theyíre done. Theyíve left the building. They retired I think season two.
Q) Weíre seeing a lot more strong female roles on TV these days, and you know, how does it feel to continue to play such an awesome female character like Fiona? I mean, she certainly does her part at standing out when it comes to female roles.
A) Yes, doesnít she? Iím very grateful that she was even created. I think there are more fabulous female roles coming our way lately, particularly in television, Homeland and The Good Wife. Thereís plenty of good women being represented as we are, which is incredibly exciting and refreshing, and letís hope that thereís more to come. Weíre well deserving.
Q) Six years into this series, is there a piece of advice that you would share with your character Fiona?
A) Well, thatís a very good question. I think I would probably just tell her to relax. I think though having said that I think that Fiona is sort of chilling just a tad over the years. I think with the lowering of her skirt hemlines, I think that her angst has been somewhat calmed, quelled. Letís hope so.
Q) How much of a challenge is it to keep a straight face when youíre working with Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Donovan?
A) Itís a huge challenge, and one that Iím not particularly good at, as the gag reels will attest to, particularly Bruce. I mean, he just has such as phenomenal sense of humor. His wit is unparalleled. Yes, and even his tweets, I canít help but read his tweets, and Iím around him all day long and Iím reading his tweets on top of it.
Q) This is kind of a fantasy question. If it was up to Fiona, where would she and Michael be in ten years?
A) Oh. Well, they would definitely be together. There would be no CIA in sight, nor FBI, and they would be saving the world one hand grenade at a time.
Q) How much research went into the prison scene? Did you visit any prisons, or did you do any research on it?
A) No. Oh, God, what a dreadful actress I am! I did not. I didnít, and I have no excuse. I figured that I would just feel what was going on in the moment. I mean, the set design and the over-props and all the extras and it - I mean, it was pretty realistic, I have to say. I actually had the most phenomenal shooting schedule while I was in jail, because they carried on shooting all the other storylines, and so I would work maybe one day a week, which is unusual on this show. So when it came time to be talking about Fionaís release from jail, I was begging the writers to keep me in so that I could spend more time with my children, so I think I may be one of the few people on the planet who was begging to stay incarcerated.
Q) Who are some guest stars you havenít yet worked with that you would like to work with?
A) Oh, letís see. God, I donít know. Itís funny because all the guest stars that weíve had for the last six seasons have been so good that Iíve never spent an episode going God, I wish this was being played by you know, Harrison Ford or whomever. Iíve been very impressed with all of the actors that have contributed to our storylines. Itís been such a joy. When the guest actors come, it really does infuse the cast and the crew to bring in some fresh blood and something new to play with. Itís a wonderful thing.
Q) Can you talk a little bit about what it is about Michael and Fionaís relationship that would make her sacrifice her freedom and possibly her life for him?
A) Love? I think itís just plain old love. I mean, I like to think that when there is that sort of commitment and devotion to another person that you would in fact sacrifice your freedom for them. I mean, I certainly feel that way in real life about my children, so that kind of love does exist, and I like to think that thatís what Fiona and Michael have between them - between each other.
Q) He was a little standoffish until last season, but she has been there for him since season one, so Iím just curious what you thought. Fiona is such a strong woman, you know, making it in a manís world of guns and explosives, and I know you just said youíre anti-guns, but is there anything about her you can relate to?
A) To Fiona? Oh, God, yes. Yes, I mean I really appreciate her impatience, her intolerance, her disdain of men on many levels. And I love that sheís just so erratic and uncontrollable. I love all the things - all those things about a person that are considered negatives are my favorite things about Fiona.
Q) Do you share any qualities with her?
A) Most of those.
Q) For five years, Fiona has primarily interacted with Michael and Sam and Madeline and Jesse, and now that Fionaís in prison, she has very little contact with them. What challenges or benefits came to you as an actress because of this change of pace?
A) Well, as I mentioned earlier, my shooting schedule was an enormous benefit for me, but I think there was I think a maturation of Fiona while sheís in prison where she realizes the importance and significance of her relationships with those characters that you mentioned. I think she had somewhat taken them for granted, and when sheís in prison I think that thereís the realization that they really are her family, even though she would hate to admit that she even likes them. And then she develops relationships with some of the female inmates, which is hard for Fiona to do, because in the last six seasons, Fiona hasnít really had any BFFs. Thereís no girl action. She doesnít have a lot of female cohorts, which is very interesting, because I think that thereís an element of distrust between women and reliability and I love that itís being somewhat, even though it may be subtle, somewhat portrayed in the - in Burn Notice, in the show.
Q) Are we going to see anything like the Bruce Campbell movie where we got background on him, or are we going to get more of Fionaís background in the show?
A) I donít know. I mean, that would be a question for the writers who created the Sam Ax movie and Fiona. You know, I have my own version of who Fiona is and where she came from, and I donít know if I have anything in common with (Matt Nix)ís variation. I guess we could find out, but as far as I know there are no plans to delve any deeper as of yet.
Q) Youíre going into season six now, and thatís a pretty good run for a TV series. How many more seasons do you really think are sustainable for the show, and do you have any plans after that?
A) Well, I think as long as the writing team can continue to come up with stories, and there are so many spy stories. I mean, weíve all been watching spy thrillers for so many years, I mean, we - if we run out of our own we could certainly pinch some of those, but I donít know. I mean, I donít know how long Fiona can be running around in a bikini and high heels carrying a shotgun. Iím not sure if the audience is going to want to see me doing that into my 50s. So I donít know. I mean, six years is a damn good run and Iím incredibly grateful for the longevity thus far. So I mean, Iím in for a little longer, maybe without the bikinis.
Q) How do you run in those heels? I canít even walk in them!
A) I donít know how it happens, but I have a little window of the ability to run in my heels, and if we donít catch it in the first couple of takes, itís over. So, I think itís an incredible skill that I have developed, and Iím going to put it on my resume.
Q) Can you dance?
A) I donít know. I mean, possibly. I mean, the pain that one endures as a dancer certainly is comparable to the pain Iím enduring when Iím running around in those bloody heels, so perhaps it has paid off, all that dance training.
Q) Fi is a clothes horse. She has probably a second house filled with clothes, kinky little outfits and all that. What do you think of prison clothes all of a sudden?
A) Itís funny because I had kind of this idea that maybe I would sort of somehow temper the orange jumpsuit into something kind of hip and cool, and then once I got into jail I realized that it was something that Fiona wouldnít even think of. Sheís so intent on finding her way out of the prison that her outfit had no relevance whatsoever. And I was kind of grateful that she wasnít as vain as I thought she was.
Q) Bruce once told me that the reason he became an actor was because it was the only career he could think of where he could screw around all day. What compelled you to become an actor?
A) I was training as a dancer, and I had an accident and was transferred to the drama department, and was so enthralled by the comparatively easy drama classes compared to the grueling ballet, so I said, ah, this is the job for me. Yes, itís kind of - thereís so many actor stories like this, arenít there? That they basically were just a bunch of lazy bums.
Q) When you signed on with this show, what were your expectations? Does it boggle your mind that youíre still playing the character and doing this show at this point?
A) It does. Iím a little bit in denial about the length of Fionaís role. I didnít think that the pilot would even be picked up, because Iíd heard so many horror stories about so many pilots that are shot and then never go to an actual show, so I had no expectations whatsoever. I got into so much trouble shooting in South Beach for the three weeks of the pilot that when they did say that this was going to be going into a first season, I thought, "God, I donít know if I can survive South Beach for a year" - a year or two or three, and here we are six years later, and Iím still alive.
Q) So what did you do? What do you mean?
A) I liken Miami to Vegas, Vegas at the shore. And so thereís an inordinate amount of partying that is just inherent in landing at Miami International Airport, and it seems to not cease until you get back on the plane to wherever you may go. And so I just indulged.
Q) Do you do a lot of stunts yourself on the show?
A) I do do a lot of stunts, hoping to do less now that Iím you know, Iím not quite as flexible as I used to be, but I do do a lot of stunts. Itís odd. I think itís easier somehow. When weíre coordinating the stunts, and our schedule is so tight and we shoot so quickly that itís almost easier to just say, "You know what? Iíll just do the bloody thing. So that thereís not these cuts of the stunt girl doing some sort of tai kwon do, and then me jumping in and pulling the expression on my face that I kicked someone. It just takes longer and Iím rather impatient, so I just say, "oh, bloody hell, just teach me the moves and Iíll do it." And obviously Iím not as equipped as the stunt double, but I give it a damn good try.
Q) Well it looks like youíre doing well. So you talked kind of about how you have your own idea for your backstory for Fiona and everything, but is there something specific that youíd like to see happen for her on the show, like if you could, you know, write your own episode or - I donít know, what would you want to do?
A) Well, thatís a good question. I think I would like us to do an episode in Dublin, in Ireland, you know, maybe a parent is sick and she flies home and we get to see who she is, just walking into the front door of her home would say so much. We know so much about Michael and his family of origin and I would like - I mean, even though thereís something to be said for the enigmatic idea of where she came from and who she is, I would love to go to Ireland and just take a little slice of her life and reveal something. And I have a whole concept of who her family is and how she lived and perhaps the idea that she came from a significant amount of well to do upbringing, and so the fact that sheís running around with Michael and Sam and Jesse is not because she has to support herself financially by these means. Itís because she wants to. I think thatís an alluring idea.
Q) Of all of the undercover personas youíve played so far on the show, is there anyone in particular that youíve really, really enjoyed?
A) Yes, I mean, I played a sort of gum-chewing kind of New Jersey girl a few seasons ago, which was so much fun. I had some cleavage, and just prancing around with an attitude, and I just recently played a Boston girl, which is a very hard accent to do well. So I like to play these women that are sort of clichťs of sort of bimbo-esque gals who actually underneath it all have a whole other world of intelligence and skill, and thatís always a bit of a fun role.
Q) Does Fi end up having a CIA relationship post-prison?
A) Oh, youíve got some very keenly aware readers. There is some CIA influence that takes place, much to her absolute chagrin.
Q) We know that youíre going to be separated for several episodes. Does she get to at least hear from Michael or any of the characters about what theyíre trying to do, or is she kind of in the dark?
A) Well, itís interesting, having spent a bunch of episodes in jail, so to speak, there is this whole underground that goes on in prison where these prisoners, if they have a means to information, whether it be trading cigarettes or other kind of favors, which we didnít really explore too much as this is USA, but I became very keenly aware that thereís a lot more access to the outside world than you might think, even in a top security jail, because all the sort of - itís a whole other existence in there with a bunch of trading that takes place in order to get the information that one requires. So there is some connection that takes place between Fiona and the outside world.
Q) So you have a lot of kind of tense, dramatic scenes obviously in the beginning of the season. Do you prefer more of the drama or more of the action type scenes?
A) Well, like most sets, television also, itís a very male-dominated environment. Thereís a lot of men on the set, and thereís a handful of girls, women, and so when weíre doing action sequences on Burn Notice, the boys get really excited, and itís kind of overwhelming. Our stunts often take over explosions and all the pyrotechnic stuff take over the day, and the drama kind of falls a little bit to the wayside so that the boys can, you know, do their thing with their big toys and their weaponry and all the booms and pows and kapoos and kapows. And I get a little overwhelmed, to tell you the truth. I just want to go sit with the girls, with our script supervisor and our makeup and hair department and wardrobe department and just talk about shoes and have a cup of tea. So the drama I think I blame the men because of it.
Q) You talked about how a lot of times itís hard to be around the guys when theyíre being silly and all that.
A) Yes, I mean, itís kind of like being around a bunch of 10-year-old boys playing war in the back garden, and thereís no room for a chick. Itís kind of - I feel like Iím back in school, and thereís a very, very poignant divide between the girls and the boys.
Q) One of the comments that during the Burn Notice season is a comment about how the intro had Fiona listed as ďtrigger-happy ex-girlfriendĒ and this season in last weekís premiere, they changed it to ďtrigger-happy girlfriend." What was your thoughts on that?
A) Oh, they did? I didnít even know that.
Q) It looked like Jesse, when we was first burned, he was kind of flailing in the wind. It looked like he was kind of trying to find a rock to anchor to, and I think he - in my opinion, it looked like he was looking at Fiona for some of that, but Fiona only had eyes for Michael. I was just curious what your thoughts on, you know, on the reference of Fiona being an ex-girlfriend versus girlfriend.
A) Well, you just broke the news to me, so my initial reaction is a little - I have a little bit of temperature rise in my body, because I think that Fiona doesnít like to define things. You know what I mean? Like the relationship, or the house with the white picket fence. I donít think thatís what sheís about, and so hearing that itís official that the two of them are dating, it - I am having a visceral response to it. So itís interesting. I think that she thrives on an unconventional definition of life, of who she is and who they are, so Iím going to have to watch that intro. Right now my heart is racing. I may be getting hives. Iím teasing.
Q) When you boil it all down, it really is an awesome kind of romance story when you look at Michael will do anything for Fiona, and Fiona has literally gone to the wall and done - you know, has given up everything for Michael. Itís really kind of nice.
A) I think it is. I think we need more of this in our lives, we compromise only so far and we sacrifice only so much, and I think that true love is about making those choices, and youíre not doing it for the other person. Youíre doing it because itís what you are compelled to do for yourself. Thatís the key.
Q) Are they very strict with the scripts? Like do you guys improvise sometimes, or is it more by what it says?
A) I think it depends. If the dialogue is pertinent to the plot, they get pretty specific about you know, having to really be able to stay on point. Itís interesting, unlike film where itís usually just one writer for the entire script, so thereís sort of a continuity in character and nuance and the pacing of the dialogue, we have different writers for each episode. So itís interesting how some writers have a specific voice for Fiona or for Michael, and then other writers have their own ideas, so after six years of speaking as Fiona sometimes Iíll read the script and go "I donít know if Fiona would say it that way" or "I donít know if that sounds a little masculine," because most of our writers are male. I donít know if a woman actually says ďdouchebag.Ē You know what I mean? Like I think mostly that comes from men. Women donít usually sing about douchebags. Itís just not what we do. So, then Iíll sort of argue my point as a chick, and then they roll their eyes because Iím being a bloody feminist again, but it depends whether itís of value and significant to the plot rather than if itís a character choice.
Q) And is there a specific scene that youíre looking forward to fans seeing this season that you can talk about without you know, spoiling it too much?
A) Yes, there are some scenes that are emotionally charged romantic. Because thereís so much action and thereís humor and bikinis. I always gravitate towards those scenes of true emotional vulnerability and connection between characters, so thereís some rather endearing scenes to look forward to in the near future.