'Covert Affairs' Interview: Peter Gallagher and Kari Matchett on Superheroes and Kicking Ass
'Covert Affairs' Interview: Peter Gallagher and Kari Matchett on Superheroes and Kicking Ass
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Having leaped into its second season with both feet, Covert Affairs made its Comic-Con debut this year in San Diego. After their packed panel in Ballroom 20, the stars and producers of the show spoke to reporters. Among them were Kari Matchett and Peter Gallagher, the actors who play CIA bosses Joan and Arthur Campbell.

So how's your Comic-Con so far?
Peter Gallagher: Awesome.

Are you exhausted?
Peter Gallagher: Are you kidding? After this I'm gonna go upstairs and slip on the tights!

Kari Matchett: I don't know what that means, but... Me too.

Peter Gallagher: It's not a euphemism.

Kari Matchett: Do you mean like Superman tights?

Peter Gallagher: Yeah!

If you were going to dress up, would you have a character in mind, or would you like to actually dress up as, so you could fit in better?
Kari Matchett: You told me who you wanted to dress up like. Should I tell them?

Peter Gallagher: Sure, I was -- now I'm mortified. I was probably making a joke, but I'm game. What did I say?

Kari Matchett: Here's the story. A couple of weeks ago -- I don't know if you were there when I said this -- when I said, you know what would be really cool is if for the panel ... if we all, all the actors, dressed up like a different Star Wars character. And they were like, "No!" and I was like "Yeah! That would be so cool!"

It would be so weird, and everybody is a Star Wars fan, it would be awesome! And then yesterday, Matt, one of our creators, didn't know that I had suggested that and it had been ixnayed by everybody. And one of the things he was pitching for the Comic-Con sketch, 'cause they did a sketch, was that we would all be at the front, arguing together about who was going to be dressed as Princess Leia! And then suddenly, suddenly, out walks Gallagher as Princess Leia!

Peter Gallagher: I didn't hear any of this! I didn't hear any of this, this is all new! I heard you say "be Princess Leia" and I thought, okay, I could see where the bra... I could do Leia.

The real question is, which Leia? Will it be the Leia from the first, in a very conservative outfit?
Peter Gallagher: You are in the right place! [taps table] When I was a little boy I wanted to be Superman. I wanted to be Superman so badly that I thought the only reason I can't fly is because I keep crunching up before I hit the ground.

Kari Matchett: So you kept trying?

Peter Gallagher: Yeah. So no matter what happens, I'm not crunching up before I hit the ground. I broke my nose! I just went flying off the couch... I learned I can't fly. But I could pretend to fly.

Kari Matchett: I watched Super Friends religiously.

Peter Gallagher: Watched what?

Kari Matchett: Super Friends. It was a cartoon.

It was a good show.
Kari Matchett: I know! And everybody lived in this place together, right? They had all superpowers...

Peter Gallgher: See, when I think of comics I think of Dennis the Menace. That's how pathetic I am. It's like a whole generation thing that I just... Seth Cohen [Gallagher's co-star on The O.C.]. He knew about comic books.

What's a normal day on set like?
Peter Gallagher: My normal day is, I go sit down behind the desk, hah [incoherent blustery babble]! And then the next week, you don't see me. And then the next week, [incoherent blustery babble]. But it's getting interesting now. It's going to get good for me, anyway for Arthur next week... I'll be quiet now. Kari's amazing next week. I haven't seen it, but I know she's amazing. She kicks some major ass next week.

Kari Matchett: I get to kick some major ass next week. I've been hassling the writers since the beginning. Because I do this self-defense program which... Peter does some, too. Krav maga, which is an Israeli self-defense fight system. So I've been doing that and studying that on my own. And I've been talking to writers about whether Joan should get out and kick some ass, and I could do some krav maga, and so they did.

That's airing next week, and I love doing that. Shooting that was one of the most fun I've had shooting my show so far. I get to do what I love. But, you know, a typical day would be, you know... the craziest week I've had, which was sort of a difficult week this year. I started one Monday morning at 5 o'clock, I had to be there at 5am. I have to get up at 3:30, on my own... and I just flown back to Toronto from LA, so I was still on LA time, so I didn't get any sleep. We shot that day, you know it was like maybe a normal 12-hour day. We ended that week Friday, I was starting at 6pm, and I finished at 9am Saturday.

So I always wondered why I didn't suffer from jet lag... We lived in jet lag. Yeah, it's nothing for me to go Spain, and you know I'm fine, it's because I'm always jet-lagged.

Peter Gallagher: You're never quite where you are. Especially because we shoot in Toronto. But listen, we ain't complaining. We're each working a phone line.

Since we've seen, recently, a plot that centered around the secondary character, Auggie, is there a chance that your characters are going to get more central plots? I mean, you get to go out and kick some ass, but are we going to be able to see more of your characters in the upcoming episodes?
Peter Gallagher: Think so. I think, for all of us, I think I have... I've been told I have, like, a good episode that might be... shooting in an exotic European locale but, sort of, you discover a little more of Arthur's back story. You see his background, his past as a covert officer ... in the Navy, and before he became covert and an executive. Overt.

Kari Matchett: You know, I think, I think we need to keep seeing more of the other characters out in the field because in last week's episode...

Peter Gallagher: We'll get so sad if not.

Kari Matchett: ...with Auggie being the main storyline, I think we had a really interesting dynamic, and it helps viewers get an understanding. And actors too -- what's going on, what's the history of that person? The more we can do that, and I think the more the audience asks for that, the more of those things will happen.

Peter Gallagher: You know, Piper is unbelievable. She has got this show on her shoulders. She's out there swinging and kicking and speaking Chinese and Russian 16 hours a day, and never lets down. But at some point, you know, you don't want to run her to the ground. Shifting some of the stories -- like, it was great to see this past episode where she was in a position to help Auggie, and she wasn't out having to you know... I just felt happy for her body that week. Because seriously, you know? You do these fight scenes and...

So presumably we can't steal you back on Leverage for a bit?
Kari Matchett: I don't know... They're talking about getting me on the finale right now...

Click here to check out video of the Covert Affairs Comic-Con panel.