Gabrielle Anwar has been a part of many big movies and television shows. She tangoed with Al Pacino in Scent of A Woman and played Margaret Tudor on Showtime’s The Tudors. In 1994, the British actress was unsurprisingly named one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful Women in the World”. But the role that I love her for is the one she’s played for the last six years on the USA network’s Burn Notice. Fiona Glenanne is one bad-ass, name-taking, and sexy woman. Her adventures with Michael, Sam, and Jesse are exciting to watch. But this season, Fiona finds herself in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Gabrielle had a lot to share about her role on the show. So grab a blueberry yogurt, sit back, and enjoy!
TheTwoCents: You play so many different personalities on the show when you’re undercover. Can you talk about that, and is it more challenging?
Gabrielle Anwar: Actually, it has its moments of being challenging, you know, particularly when there’s different dialects involved, but I am very grateful to play these characters, 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 that’s completely out of character. You know, Jeffrey Donovan, who plays Michael, gets to do it much more frequently than I, and I get a little bit sulky about that.
TTC: So the other thing I was going to ask is have you had weapons training for the show?
GA: You know, I haven’t 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 you know, they’re very disconcerting to be holding something that actually is a murder weapon, that is something that is – unless used properly, you know, could bring down an entire family, which kind of throws me for a loop. You know, I’m an ardent pacifist in reality, so you know, I’ve made it very clear to my children from the get-go that there would be no guns in the house, and here’s mummy going off to work doing that very thing for a living. So I’m a bit of a bloody hypocrite now that I think of it.
TTC: How much of a challenge is it to keep a straight face when you’re working with Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Donovan?
GA: It’s a huge challenge, and one that I’m 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 and even his tweets, I can’t help but read his tweets, and I’m around him all day long and I’m reading his tweets on top of it.
TTC: Yes, yes, I follow him. I totally agree. And this is kind of a fantasy question. If it was up to Fiona, where would she and Michael be in ten years?
GA: Oh. Well, they would definitely be together. There would be no CIA in sight, nor FBI, and they would still be saving the world one hand grenade at a time.
TTC: For five years, Fiona has primarily interacted with Michael and Sam and Madeline and Jesse, and now that Fiona’s 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?
GA: Well, as I mentioned earlier, my shooting schedule was an enormous benefit for me, but I think there was a maturation of Fiona while she’s in prison where she realizes the importance and significance of her relationships with those characters that you mentioned. You know, I think she had somewhat taken them for granted, and when she’s in prison I think that there’s the realization that they really are her family, even though she would hate to admit that she even likes them. And then you know, she develops relationships with some of the female inmates, which is hard for Fiona to do, because you know, in the last six seasons, Fiona hasn’t really had any, you know, BFFs. There’s no girl action. She doesn’t have a lot of female cohorts, which is very interesting, because I think that there’s an element of distrust between women and reliability and I love that it’s being somewhat, even though it may be subtle, somewhat portrayed in the show.
TTC: I was wondering, of all of the undercover personas you’ve played so far on the show, is there anyone in particular that you’ve really, really enjoyed?
GA: Yes, I played a sort of gum-chewing kind of New Jersey girl a few seasons ago, which was so much fun. You know, I had some cleavage, which was a nice change, 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 clichés of – you know, sort of bimbo-esque gals who actually underneath it all have a whole other world of intelligence and skill, and that’s always a bit of a fun role.
Burn Notice airs Thursday nights at 9PM ET on USA!!
Anne – Assistant TO the Editor-in-Chief