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USA’s “Burn Notice” panel at Comic-Con International began with words of wisdom from everyone’s favorite burned spy, Michael Weston.
In a video segment produced exclusively for the convention, actor Jeffrey Donovan showed attendees how to break into the comic business as only a spy can — through GPS spy tactics and small bugging devices.
Actor Chris Vance, who played the villainous Mason Gilroy, was introduced as the panel’s moderator, and he brought out actor/director Tim Matheson, series creator Matt Nix, and co-executive producer Alfredo Barrios Jr.
When fan-favorite actor Bruce Campbell was introduced, he performed a well-timed pratfall for the delighted crowd, and then proceeded to pitch out “Burn Notice” T-shirts.
Vance began the question-and answer-session with Nix, asking whether the writers had ever received hate mail from law-enforcement agencies.
Nix admitted that, in a few cases, writers have had to pull back on story information at the request of law enforcement, saying, “In truth, we had some bomb squad guys say, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t say that, please.'”
Vance then asked the writers if the show had influenced a change in the way they looked at everyday household objects.
Barrios said, “Definitely. We research a lot,” before Nix broke in to add, “There comes a point when you start reading warning labels like instructions.”
Vance then asked Campbell about his character Sam Axe’s alter ego, Chuck Finley, and which version of Chuck Finley he preferred to play.
Campbell admitted he enjoys when Chuck Finley was called upon to fleece rich women, and joked that he himself “had done a lot of research in San Diego.”
Matheson was asked about the experience of directing and acting on the series. He praised Nix, Campbell and the second unit production team, which handles much of the action and stunts on the show’s tight seven-day shooting schedule.
Barrios said the writers often use role-playing to create believable dialogue for their characters, especially the show’s memorable villains.
Nix added, “If we can act out the scene in the room, then we can write it.”
The crowd erupted when Campbell mentioned star Jeffrey Donovan, who was in Miami working on the show. Hearing the cheers, Campbell stood up and handed out money as mock payment to a few of the more vocal audience members.
An audience member asked about the decision set the series in Miami.”That was an artistic decision I made when the head of the network said, ‘It’s set in Miami,'” Nix replied.
Another fan asked about Fiona’s disappearing Irish accent. Nix said the decision had happened because it would ultimately limit the range of characters Fiona could play on the show.
At this point, USA executive Jeff Wachtel was brought on-stage to announce the network will produce a “Burn Notice” prequel movie starring Campbell.
In response, Campbell handed money to Watchtel.
The prequel will follow Sam’s last mission as a Navy SEAL. “I hope you’re okay with this,” Nix told Campbell, “I’m thinking about putting a chainsaw in your hand.”
Campbell promptly pulled out more money, but was interrupted by Matheson, who laid out cash of his own, and asked, “Who’s going to direct?”
“Burn Notice” airs Thursday nights on the USA.
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