Gabrielle Anwar is the beautiful British star of the USA original series Burn Notice, airing Thursdays at 10pm. Earlier this year, viewers may have also seen her star as Henry VIII’s sister in the Showtime drama The Tudors. However, most people took note of this trained dancer when she famously tangoed with Al Pacino in the film Scent of a Woman.
Always witty, Gabrielle spoke with BuddyTV about her new show, her jovial co-stars Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell, and, even with her years of training and experience, why she would never want to be on Dancing with the Stars. Below you will find a complete transcript of the interview as well as the mp3 audio file.
Hi, this is John from Buddy TV, and today we’re talking with Gabrielle Anwar of the new USA series Burn Notice. Hi, Gabrielle!
Now, your father is an Oscar-nominated film editor, and your mother is an actress. So I imagine getting started in acting was an obvious choice for you from a young age?
Yes, I was raised messed up.
(laughter) So when did you start acting?
I think from the moment I was pushed out of my mother’s womb. (laughter) My parents didn’t really want me to be in this industry, because they’re smart, and I started professionally I suppose when I was 15. I had been in ballet school wanting to be a ballet dancer, and had an accident and had to transfer to the acting department for that semester.
And then ended up working that same year, and didn’t go back to school, really. I had a private teacher with me, although I was officially still in school until I was 19. I didn’t go back, and it was fantastic.
So you got into acting despite your family’s objections, then?
Well, they’re still objecting.
Oh, they’re still objecting even though this is the year of you. Burn Notice, you were in the Showtime series The Tudors, the star of two huge new shows this year.
Yeah, I guess they’re grateful that I’m not borrowing money from them. And who knows what’s going to happen next?
I suppose now, with both of those, how are you dealing with having two new shows on? Most people can barely even handle one.
Well, I’m only in one of them at a time, which makes the most sense to me. I don’t think I can handle doing two. I know there are some actors out there who do that, and I think I’d probably jump off a bridge. But The Tudors was wrapped last autumn, and I didn’t start this until December. We shot the pilot, and then we’ve only been here three-and-a-half months so far, so there wasn’t even an overlap, really. I have downtime which I cherish.
I’d imagine. And they’re both very different shows, Burn Notice is more of a light comedic-type piece while The Tudors, obviously a dramatic period piece. How do you do each of those different styles of shows?
Oh, it’s a past life thing. (laughter) I’m just channeling where I’ve been before… no, I’m totally kidding. I don’t know, I’ve done a lot of period pieces. I haven’t done so much light comedy, and I really enjoy both. I mean, it’s really fun to be doing something that keeps you laughing all day long, there’s nothing like it.
I mean, anyone who has a job in that realm has to be doing pretty well. I think the period thing is a little bit more restrictive for me, not only physically, but costuming and just in keeping with the style of that period. There’s something about it that’s a little bit more disciplined, a little bit more like ballet as opposed to jazz, I suppose.
I was raised as a dancer, so everything sort of flip-flops back into those terms for me. But I like both, I’m very happy being in the heat without a corset on.
I would imagine. Now your two co-stars on Burn Notice, Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell, they seem like very fun-loving, kind of like humorous guys. Always causing trouble on the set, is that anything like what they are?
Yeah, you’ve called it pretty accurately, they are hysterical. I mean, I come home the other day, and my cheeks ache from smiling consistently for hours and hours at a time. We have a fantastic time, I don’t actually know how Jeffrey can maintain such joy with that much pressure in carrying a show.
There’s pages and pages of dialogue that we shoot everyday, and still managing to have a blast. I don’t know how he does it, but I’m really grateful that he does.
Has there been one thing or one moment from the show that you’ve enjoyed doing the most?
You know, I’m surprising myself with my capacity to enjoy violence. I always thought I was a pacifist at heart, but now I’m beginning to wonder…
Causing violence, or…?
Inflicting pain on others. (laughter) It’s fantastic, you should try it!
I don’t know about that! Is that something that you’d like to see more of, or is there anything else that you’d like to see more of your character get involved in with the show?
I’m very happy with the way things are, and as long as I’m playing a woman that I believe – it doesn’t happen that often particularly in TV acting – I’m happy with the way things are. I am joking about the violence, it’s all make-believe, which makes it so fun for me. I really enjoy the physicality of how she manipulates everything to her advantage with just physical gestures, I find that really amusing. I don’t know how to do it unless I’m in her shoes.
Earlier, you were talking about being a dancer. Usually, I think most people would probably be most familiar with you from a famous tango scene in Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino. Just wondering off of that, if they offered you to be in the next season of Dancing with the Stars, is that something that you’d like to do?
You know, I don’t have a television, and I have heard of the show through word of mouth. I haven’t seen it, but from what I gather, it’s really tacky.
(laughter) You’re on target…
I always had a bit of a thing for ballroom dancing, I always thought it was about as cheesy as it gets. And it remains… the plastered-on smiles, the glitter, the glam, it’s kind of like wrestling to me.
So you’re a serious dancer, you don’t want to be involved in that kind of thing?
Who knows? When my career goes down the toilet, I’ll be on Dancing with the Stars, right?
(laughter) I don’t think you have to worry about that for a long time, though.
I’m glad it’s there, the full background.
OK now, are you still shooting Burn Notice, or is the season wrapped?
You know, I’m sitting here in Miami in my mosquito net. I actually have the day off today, which was fantastic. My oldest daughter and I went and sat by the pool at the hotel, and did nothing. Actually we sort of floated and sunbathed, but we’re still shooting, I think we have another three-and-a-half weeks left to go.
And then after those three-and-a-half weeks, what do you have on your plate? Do you have a movie, another TV show?
I don’t know, I have a lot of things are brewing, some of which have nothing to do with the entertainment industry. I have a plateful of stuff, so I’m eager to get back home, get my kids back into school, and release my dog from doggy kennel.
How long has your dog been in the kennel?
Oh God, since I got here, for almost four months. It’s a nice place, it has a swimming pool that’s shaped as a bone.
That’s nice. OK, well, thank you very much for talking to us, Gabrielle. I’ll let you get back to enjoying your day off from the madness!
-Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of USA)