Since making his film debut in Throwing Down, Jeffrey Donovan has made several guest appearances on network television and has also had numerous major motion pictures roles. Currently, Jeffrey stars as secret agent Michael Westen on USA Network’s Burn Notice and decided to take a break from jumping over cars and dodging bullets to talk to us at BuddyTV about the show and his character.
Read the full interview transcript and listen to the mp3 audio below.
This is Royce from Buddy TV, and I’m here with Jeffrey Donovan, who stars as Agent Michael Westen on USA Network’s Burn Notice. How’s it going, Jeffrey?
It’s going great, dude. I’m down here in South Beach, we’re shooting. Loving the weather, loving the climate, it’s awesome.
Sounds nice, man. I certainly appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.
Well, the busy schedule is 15 hours a day. It’s always welcome to be interrupted, so I’m glad to do it.
Well Jeffrey, can you start off by maybe talking a little bit about your background, how you got started in acting and how you eventually broke into Hollywood?
Um, first I was born, and my mother raised me. (laughter) Around 16 someone told me I should be an actor, because I was doing a lot of impressions in high school. One time, I fainted in front of my English teacher so believably, he called the hospital to have an ambulance rush in. It was just a joke! So at an early age I knew I was probably gonna be an actor. And then I went to college in NYU, and then went out to Hollywood about 7 years ago. Got a couple of series and some films, and then ended up on Burn Notice from just reading the script once, and falling in love with it.
Given your experience with both film and television, what’s been your favorite acting role in your career so far?
It’d have to be this. I mean, in Burn Notice I get to play a spy, I get to be funny, I get to have hot chicks all around me. And I get to be really smart, which is a stretch, but I pull it off.
How exactly did you land your role as Michael Westen?
My agent brought it to me, and hhe thought that this would be a great piece of material for me. And I thought he was right, because it’s a mix of action and comedy, and it’s set in Miami. I thought, “If I’m going to do a TV series, how great would it be that I’m down in Miami Beach for five years?”
Cool. So you and your co-star Bruce Campbell, both you guys have a very similar swagger. You both come across as very cocky, but self-deprecating. Are you both like that in real life as well?
Yes, I’m very cocky and self-deprecating in real life. (laughter) There it is.
What would you say has been the most fun thing you’ve done on Burn Notice so far? I mean, you mentioned you’re jumping over cars and doing all kinds of crazy things today.
The most fun I’ve had on Burn Notice, I think it would have to be working with China Chow and Lucy Lawless. They’re in an upcoming episode and they basically wrestling for my affection, and what’s hard and great at the same time is not only are they in love with me onscreen, they are off-screen, and that’s hard, because you know, to mix those two, it’s just… And then there’s Gabrielle…it’s just always women always wanting me all the time, that’s what’s most fun.
Right, right. So what’s in store for Michael in upcoming episodes, are there any hints that you can drop for your fans?
What’s coming up is a surprising twist actually with Gabrielle and I, Fiona and I. Something very interesting is going to happen between the two of us which you don’t expect, and then the end of the season you’ll be very surprised, someone dies. And you won’t see this coming. Someone’s actually killed, and I kill them. That’s all I can say, I’m on this strict confidentiality agreement.
Jeffrey, on our site, almost all the fans that comment on Burn Notice, they say they tuned in for you because they still love Touching Evil, another show that you did. How do you feel about the dedication of those fans?
Oh dude, if you loved Touching Evil and they come over for this character. Any fan of Touching Evil, it means so much to me that they would like that show and then followed me onto this show even though it’s totally different. Touching Evil is something that’s in my heart, I’ll always cherish, and I was sad that it only had one season. But I don’t think the future of this show is going to end after one season, I think we’re going to have a long run, so I hope fans continue to keep supporting me.
Yeah, well, Touching Evil, you mentioned it only lasted one season. But Trio listed it on their brilliant but canceled series. What’s more important to you, critical or commercial success?
Oh, that’s a tough question. What’s more important, critical or commercial success… hmm. Let me think about that for a second… You know what, my career is important, commercial and critical at the same time, because it puts bread on the table and my nine children that I feed… I’m kidding! (laughter) It’ll actually sound kind of funny, and I don’t know if your subscribers will kinda get this, but it’s really not the journey that I have in life. I think that what’s important is how I am and how I conduct myself, my character in real life, that I have integrity and I live a moral life with God, rather than what I do in the entertainment world. I think in a shallow world, it is my profession, but it’s just temporary. Who I am and what I bring to this planet, and what goes on after this existence is more important than anything.
Can you tell us something about Jeffrey Donovan that would surprise a lot of people?
What would surprise a lot of people about me… I’m a gardener! I have a green thumb. I really like to get into the shrubs, the bushes, and really cultivate. I don’t think anybody knows that about me.
Do you have any other projects in the works right now that you want your fans to be aware of?
I did a movie last year that should come out at a festival this winter, and I’m kind of proud of that. It’s called Expecting, and it’s just a four-person movie. So to carry a movie for 90 minutes with only three other actors, it’s kind of a challenge. I’m pretty proud of that, and they should see it next year. And then I’m producing a movie for the first time called Searching for Certainty, which is based on a play I do with my theater company, called the Mineral Theater Company. They’re going to put that to land this fall, and hopefully it comes out next year.
Sounds exciting. Well, do you have any final thoughts for your fans out there?
Dude, I just hope that everyone keeps watching, I appreciate the support. There’s gonna be more action and more comedy for the show, and it’s just gonna get better and better, and I hope fans keep sticking with it.
Fantastic. Alright, well, thanks again Jeffrey for your time, and from all of us at Buddy TV, we certainly enjoy your work and wish for your continued success!
Royce, thank you so much for taking the time and interest in the show. I appreciate it, really!
(Interview conducted by Royce Yuen)