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Transcript of Interview with Peter Gallagher of
"Covert Affairs" on USA Network 6/25/10
Peter Gallagher Q&A Session
June 25, 2010/1:00 p.m. EDT
Our first question comes from Lisa Steinberg with Starry Constellation.
Please go ahead.
L. Steinberg What made you want to be a part of the show?
P. Gallagher Very simply, I wanted to work with Doug Liman and Dave
Bartis again. Doug Liman directed the pilot episode of The O.C. and he
and Dave were producers on the first season of The O.C. and I just love
these guys. I love the way they tell stories. I like the people they
are. In my experience, when the people at the top of an organization are
people you respect and you like then chances are theyíre going to
surround themselves with other people that you feel the same way about.
And you know what? Thatís exactly what happened. So I was drawn to
working with Dave and Doug again. As I say, I like the way they tell
stories, because theyíre powerful storytellers and they like to have the
story they tell find a place in the world we live in.
Then they sent me the script because weíve been talking about doing
stuff. I said, ďMan, this is great.Ē At that point I donít know what
kind of future Arthur Campbell had or has in the show, but he seems to
be perking along and Iím having a great time. Everybody on the show is
great, so thatís why Iím there.
L. Steinberg Is there anything you find particularly challenging about
P. Gallagher Commuting to Toronto, but I love Toronto, so thatís not so
L. Steinberg Yes, you are a warm-weather man from The O.C.
P. Gallagher Oh, but Iím New York born and raised, but you donít have to
spend much time in the warm weather before your blood gets a little
thin. Thatís the truth.
ModeratorOur next question is from Matt Carter with Examiner.com.
M. Carter How would you describe Arthurís relationship with Piper
Peraboís character on the show?
P. Gallagher Well, I think the cool thing about a series is we basically
donít know anything except what we know, which is just the extent of the
episodes weíve done and the ones weíve read. So what I would surmise is
that Arthur is a busy guy and he is becoming very much aware of this
very young and very valuable asset, Piper. So she obviously has his
attention and, judging from the last episode I shot, his respect. So I
think itís an open relationship.
M. Carter In watching the pilot, you had a therapy session scene with
Joan. Is that something we can plan on seeing a little bit more of? How
is filming those scenes?
P. Gallagher I love it. You know what the cool thing, the amazing thing
is? Itís true. Think about it. Apparently, in the CIA they encourage
their agents to marry each other because you canít talk to anybody whoís
not in the agency about what you do. You canít even talk about
everything that you do with somebody else in the agency. So what they
have is when people do get married, they actually have in-house marriage
counselors that have been vetted and received security clearance, as
well as the Starbucks baristas. They go through a security clearance for
a year. So itís a pretty interesting dynamic in that here are these two
CIA agents, who are accustomed to dissembling or trying to find out the
truth or whatever and theyíre married and their therapist is at work
too. Itís a pretty unique situation I think. Yes, I think there will be
more of that. I mean I think; I donít know. Iím still alive. Thatís all
I can tell you.
ModeratorOur next question comes from Joshua Maloni with Niagra
J. Maloni I just wanted to follow up on that last question. I really
enjoyed the interaction that you had on-screen with Kari. Tell us about
your relationship with her on and off-screen.
P. Gallagher Iím so glad you enjoyed that because you never know. You
know what? I just met Kari on this and sheís really lovely and we have a
great time. You know whatís exciting about these scenes is I have to
credit Matthew and Chris, Matthew Corman and Chris Ord, and Dougie and
Dave for being interested, even just marginally interested in that kind
of a story line. I kind of liken it to The Sopranos where you have all
of the regular issues of home life and problems and marriage and so on,
but what you do for a living is a little different, so when we screw up
we not only could get divorced, but people could die or the national
security could be compromised, so it adds sort of an additional kind of
bit of tension to the relationship.
Weíre having fun. I mean the way I see it is they are both effective
agents in the field. I was a former Navy pilot and they have a good
time. I think itís kind of a great relationship and so weíll see if the
creators and the audience agree with us; otherwise, who knows what will
J. Maloni Obviously, the show has been compared a lot to Alias. I love
Alias, but it seems like Covert Affairs is a little bit more realistic,
perhaps gives us a little bit better understanding of the real CIA. Do
you think that thatís a fair assessment? Do you find that this is maybe
a little bit more true to life?
P. Gallagher Well, you know what? I really know nothing about the CIA.
Iíve always read about it. Iíve always been fascinated with it. I always
think I have a couple of friends that are in it, but of course, they can
never tell me.
So I donít know, but I will say this: That the reason that working with
Doug Liman and Dave Bartis appeals to me so strongly is, obviously,
their strong storytelling skills and what I saw Doug bring to The O.C.
in the pilot episode was real. He would start. He had the camera
operator pointing in another direction entirely from where the scene was
going. Heíd call, ďAction,Ē and have the operator find the action. So it
gave the camera a sense of urgency and a sense of your point of view and
made it feel and was interested in making all of the scenes feel real.
Thatís exactly how I feel about anything we do, even if itís the CIA or
the mob or whatever youíre doing. If it feels real, chances are the
story will be better told. If itís important to you youíll look for
those moments and opportunities to keep things on the planet so the rest
of us on the planet can look at it and say, ďOh, I recognize that.Ē
Do you know what I mean? Am I making any sense? Itís so silent on the
other end. Youíre probably all over there snickering. I know it. No, but
did that make sense to you?
J. Maloni It does. I appreciate your answers. Thank you, Peter.
P. Gallagher Sure. Can you tell I like to talk?
ModeratorOur next question comes from Travis Tidmore with The
T. Tidmore I think after watching the first episode a big question is
obviously who is Annieís mysterious ex that you clearly know about, but
I think the real question everyone wants answered is how long do we have
to wait until you sing on the show.
P. Gallagher Well, donít hold your breath. But you never know. Listen,
do you know whatís funny? Nothing would surprise me about what Matthew
and Chris and Doug and Dave and their extraordinary writers might come
up with. But I know it will be credible. I know they all came to see me
do my own live show where I sang and told stories about working with
Gagney and all of these people and they all came, so they know that I do
that kind of thing, so anything is possible, but I wouldnít hold my
T. Tidmore Well, maybe you could have the Bubs come in and be like a
group of singing assassins and youó
P. Gallagher You know what? Thatís exactly the story line I pitched, a
group of singing assassins.
ModeratorThank you. Our next question comes from Sheldon Wiebe with
S. Wiebe I watched the pilot yesterday and also the first four episodes
of the seasonís Rescue Me song. Once again Iím reminded of your
remarkable range. What Iíd like to know if how do you approach such a
multi-layered character as Arthur. Whatís the process you go through? I
mean, obviously, itís on the page, but what do you personally bring to
P. Gallagher Well, you know, I kind of bring 30-plus years of experience
and I approach it like I approach every part I play. I mean,
fortunately, I still love what I do and I still try to do it pretty
well. I read the scripts. I try and understand what the character is
really expressing. I mean I created sort of a back story for myself in
It may or may not have any bearing on whatís revealed, but I imagined
Arthur Campbell as having been a Navy pilot, which is a tradition in the
CIA. I think the first director was a Navy officer, a Navy Admiral. So,
somebody who had experienced all sorts Ė has experience on the ground in
the military and in the Agency and so it might be an interesting foil
for maybe future episodes with bureaucrats or politicians, who donít
have that kind of experience, but thatís all happening in my head. But
thatís the kind of thing that you layer and you build and you have sort
of a specific kind of Ė because the truth is you donít really know that
much, so you kind of sketch it in and you have good directors to tell
you when youíre way off the mark or somewhere in the ballpark.
S. Wiebe Also, I was kind of wondering, the way itís set up youíre
mostly an office guy, although the office guy for Clandestine Services
and Iím just wondering what is the professional relationship between
Arthur and his wife. I mean is he her superior in the chain of command
or are they separate.
P. Gallagher Yes. No. Heís her superior.
S. Wiebe That will probably make for some very interesting episodes.
P. Gallagher Exactly. I think in some ways, just like most men, their
superior position is mostly illusory.
Moderator Our next question comes from Stefan Blitz with
S. Blitz Over the years youíve given several fantastic performances
throughout your career playing swarmy, unlikable characters and then you
went on to play like the quintessential, awesome dad, Sandy Cohen. What
kind of character is Arthur Campbell?
P. Gallagher Well, weíre going to find out and Iíll be finding out with
you. What I think of Arthur Campbell is he has a very strong sense of
duty. I think heís an ex-military, ex-Naval officer, a pilot. In fact,
we got clearance to use the shield of the Hornet, which is a great
tactical plane and so he has a military background, a great sense of
service. I imagine then he was recruited to the CIA and, obviously, has
some capacity for administration and communication and is saddled with
these changing times and helping to bring the agency into a more modern
place and more consistent with where the world is and what itís
becoming. So I imagine all you have to do is watch our own government
struggling with all of the challenges day in and day out and how fast
the world is changing. Itís just a short hop to imagine people in a
position like Arthurís would be, really scrambling, because when you
screw up the costs can be large.
S. Blitz At this point is there a particular role that you havenít
played that youíd really like to?
P. Gallagher Itís hard for me. The crazy thing; I still feel like my
best work is ahead of me. I feel like my break is coming, so that might
be a complete delusion. Part of what I love is that part, something that
somebody just has written. Thatís out there. What I love is the next
thing. I canít think of a specific role.
I keep singing and doing stage and doing all of those other things that
I do; live things. But Iíve got to say Iím thrilled because I love
working with Doug and I love working with Dave. Iíve been doing some
great movies and some good TV and especially in a challenging time to
keep it all going I just want to keep moving before somebody can draw a
bead on me.
Moderator Our next question comes from Troy Rogers with Deadbolt.com.
T. Rogers I want to know what was your first impression of the show and
the whole blind agent thing.
P. Gallagher My first impression of the show was that it was really well
written because, as I say, I started talking with Dave Bartis, our
Executive Producer, about wanting to just do something together and so
we were talking about things that they were looking at. He said, ďWe
have something for you. Weíve got something going on. Itís called Covert
Affairs. Do you want to take a look at it?Ē I read it and I loved it. I
thought it had real wit. I thought it fulfilled the obligations of the
genre. I just thought it was really well written.
To answer your question about the blind agent, you know what? It didnít
really register a blip. It seemed perfectly Ė a little fantastical maybe
with some of the gadgetry, but not that far off in terms of what Ė and
maybe it is available, but I just thought it was interesting. I think
the good news is I didnít think, ďOh, no. Whatís that all about?Ē He was
a soldier. It makes perfect sense. Itís nice to know that his skills are
still being valuable.
T. Rogers Okay. Since itís covert and intelligence based, why does
Arthur feel the agency needs more transparency? Wouldnít it need more
P. Gallagher Youíre so smart. I have the same question myself. Why am I
saying that? Is that just to put somebody off? I think transparency, the
way I justify it in terms of the use of that word transparency, is not
so much transparency with the Agency and the outside world, but within
the Agency itself.
T. Rogers Okay.
P. Gallagher And so that the left hand will know what the right hand is
doing, because, as weíve seen with the challenges, as global challenges
mount and the areas of conflict or problems are so many and varied that
the only really viable approach, as Iíve read, to deal with it is
through a coordinated effort not only of the various departments of the
CIA, but also coordinated efforts with the various law enforcement and
military and even foreign agencies. So obviously, you donít want to have
a completely transparent spy agency, because you obviously wouldnít last
long in the job and the nation wouldnít benefit. So thatís what I think
it must mean.
Moderator Our next question comes from Nancy Harrington with Pop
Culture. Please go ahead.
N. Harrington We actually wanted to touch on something someone mentioned
a little bit earlier, which is we know that you sang with The Beezlebubs
at Tufts University. We were wondering if you saw them on The Sing Off
last year and what you thought.
P. Gallagher I was on the show with them. You know what was so funny? A
friend of mine producing said, ďDo you want to watch the show?Ē I said,
ďIíd love to. I want to support the Bubs.Ē So I was on the last show
that they did, the final thing. They were amazing. I mean theyíre so
much better than we were itís not even funny.
N. Harrington Also, do you have any plans to return to Broadway? Weíd
love to see you back on the stage.
P. Gallagher I would really love to return to Broadway. Iíve actually
been talking to a couple of people about something. Iím working on a
couple of really cool shows actually. I was just on Broadway with Morgan
Freeman and Frances McDormand like two years ago, but Iíd love to do
another musical. Iíve been working on another version of my own singing
show, my sort of one-man show where I talk about working with amazing
people and blah, blah, blah. But yes, Iíll be back. Iíll probably
breathe my last breath on the boards.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Pattye Grippo with
Pazsaz.com. Please go ahead.
P. Grippo When you realized you were actually going to be playing this
character did you do any sort of preparation or research; I mean besides
making your back story; of what a character like this would be like or
did you just sort of jump in andó?
P. Gallagher You mean about the character?
P. Grippo Yes. You know, Arthur Campbell is this important CIA
character. Obviously, most of us have no idea what that would be like.
Did you do any research or look into it or anyó?
P. Gallagher I did a little research, but the reality is I had no idea
how many episodes I was going to be in this season, so I thought I was
just going to be doing the first couple. So at the very beginning, being
superstitious; and I donít like to be superstitious, but Iím
superstitious; itís like you have no idea where anything is going. These
TV shows are kind of living creatures and they morph and they change.
Obviously, the main thrust of the show is Piper and Christopher, who are
wonderful and so I was happy to be in this company with those people
and, as I say, working with Doug and Dave. Yes, I did my usual research,
but I didnít go to Langley. I hung out with Valerie Plame and spoke to
her at length about the Agency and about the kind of person that becomes
an agent. I did some research about the kinds of people who occupy the
office, the similar office that we created for the show, which supported
the back story Iím sort of building of heís a Naval officer, because the
first director of the CIA was a Navy Admiral and there were several
other rankings of Naval officers that ran the department, the Agency
over the years.
P. Grippo Right. That makes sense.
P. Gallagher But yes, I didnít go to Langley. Frankly, the scripts are
good and the scenes themselves are fairly well defined. If there was an
area that I had no idea what I was talking about I would Google it at
P. Grippo Well, let me follow up on that and ask you of the episodes
that youíve done so far for the season do you have a favorite moment?
P. Gallagher I had some fun with Emmanuelle Vaugier on a scene. I love
Kari and I had a fun little bed scene. Donít worry. I keep my clothes
on. Iím going to be doing three more, so I look forward to seeing whatís
in store. All I can tell you; itís a wonderful set. You might have been
up there, but the vibe is very good. Our DP was from The O.C. as well,
Jamie Barber, who just is a marvelous cinematographer. Heís a great guy.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Kristyn Clarke with
Pop Culture Madness. Please go ahead.
K. Clarke USA has such a strong focus on building character. What do you
think is the motivation behind your character of Arthur? What helps him
get out of bed every day?
P. Gallagher I think itís a really strong sense of duty. I think he
honestly believes that what he does is important. I think heís very
patriotic. I think he cares a lot for the country and I think he cares a
lot for the people under him. I think thatís what gets him out of bed. I
think he honestly believes that what he does and what the Agency does is
important and that, like all large organizations, itís not perfect and
he likes the challenge.
K. Clarke What do you feel it is about a show like Covert Affairs that
will help it stand apart from other crime and legal dramas?
P. Gallagher You know what I believe? Itís just the kind of magic that
when something works itís very hard to attribute the reasons why it
does. The same reason why something doesnít work; itís hard to attribute
the reasons why it doesnít, but if it works it will have probably
nothing to do with any of the apparent and conscious elements; it will
have to do with the fact that thereís something that happens among the
group of people in front of the camera. Something happens among the
group of people behind the camera. When weíre lucky I call it the beast
lumbering to its feet. If the story starts to feel alive, if it embodies
the kind of wit and the performances feel real and identifiable then it
doesnít matter whether youíre doing a crime drama or any kind. It
doesnít matter. Itís going to be engaging. Itís going to be compelling.
If thereís wit, if thereís a little bit of humor it will even resemble
our lives even more.
The worst thing I see in shows, I call it seriosity, where something has
the appearance of seriousness, but itís not reallyó
K. Clarke Yes.
P. Gallagher Or somebody is being a cop, ďWell, I donít know, Bob.
Things look pretty bad.Ē Itís like Iíve never seen any cop talk like
that or a detective or a soldier.
So hopefully weíll be free to continue behaving as people would in these
extraordinary circumstances. I can promise you this; everybody is
working their butt off and trying their best. Thatís the best you can
do. Weíre holding our breath.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Lena Lamoray with
LenaLamoray.com. Please go ahead.
L. Lamoray Now, what was it like working with Tim Matheson? Is it easier
working with a director that is also an amazing actor, like yourself?
P. Gallagher Well, I loved working with Tim. I had met Tim before,
probably 500 years ago. You know what? I love directors. Iíve been lucky
to work with a lot of wonderful directors, but itís nice to work with a
director, whoís been an actor, because they get it. I mean at least they
get your thing. I loved working with Tim. I thought he did a terrific
L. Lamoray Now, what do you think the viewers are going to enjoy the
most about Arthur and Covert Affairs in general?
P. Gallagher I donít know. I hope they like something. Iím terrible at
that. That would be likeó I donít know. I just hope somebody does out
there. Weíll see.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Kendra White with
SideReel. Please go ahead.
K. White I was just wondering if weíre going to see most of Arthur and
Joanís relationship in the office or if weíre going to get a bit of more
of a peek into their private lives throughout the episodes.
P. Gallagher Well, we do bring you into the bedroom pretty quickly. Itís
our bedroom and nobody dies. I think so. Who knows? I mean I guess I see
the story as big enough to accommodate several stories, actually several
story lines. Obviously, the main thing is Piper and Chris, as it should
be, and itís great. Itís wonderful. But I have to believe that thereís
some value too of seeing a couple, who is actually married, trying to
navigate what are potentially treacherous conditions for a marriage,
being in the CIA. But you know what? Weíll see. Right? Isnít that what
K. White Yes.
P. Gallagher People say, ďOh, my God. I love that show. I hate Arthur.Ē
Who knows? Itís like a craps shoot, isnít it, a little bit? Although USA
has got a great track recordó
K. White Yes.
P. Gallagher And I think they really do have a vision that is easy to
support and they have an organization that really just seems to be
completely on the ball. I mean itís like theyíre really pretty amazing
to work with. So it feels like you have a good chance, but who knows?
K. White On that note, on USA I was also curious what you think about
Covert Affairs will draw in fans of other USA shows, like Psych and Burn
Notice and Royal Pains and all of those great shows.
P. Gallagher I really donít know. I think so. I mean I think, look, I
think the show is really good and I think itís also kind of timely. I
think itís sort of strangely and in a way nice to be playing a member of
a government agency and really trying your best to do the best for the
country. I think there are a lot of people out there. I think itís kind
of exciting parts for us to be playing.
Now Iíve forgotten what your question is. I think I went so far afield,
now Iím out somewhere and I have to call Chris back at the headquarters
here to talk me back into it. Heís the one who got me into Twitter,
K. White Dangerous.
P. Gallagher Oh, my God. I used to be paralyzed at the thought of
telling anybody anything. I said, ďNobody wants to know. Why do they
want to know? This is crazy.Ē And now Iím like digging it. I canít
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Stevie Wilson with
LA-Story.com. Please go ahead.
S. Wilson Well, given that you came from doing some work with David Duchovny in Californication, Arthur is obviously a very different kind
P. Gallagher Yes.
S. Wilson And the shows are quite different, obviously, but given that
also the guys who are executive producing this that came with the Bourne
P. Gallagher Yes. Doug Liman and Dave Bartis.
S. Wilson Right. How much of that is going to be, do you feel like the
series is going to have that kind of intensity?
P. Gallagher Oh, completely. Oh, this is the greatest thing about this.
Doug and Dave are not full of shit. Theyíre not just phoning this in.
Doug Liman is not like just doing movies and then, ďIíve got this little
TV show.Ē Thatís not it at all. Heís involved. No. I mean theyíre the
real deal. Thatís why. The reason Iím in the show is because I wanted to
work with them again. We worked on The O.C. together.
S. Wilson Right.
P. Gallagher I just love them because I like the way they work and I
like who they are. Theyíre honorable and imaginative and they like to
make it real. For instance, not long ago there was a scene and somebody
was saying there needs to be a little more tension in this one chase
scene. Dougís response was, ďWell, we need four frames of her head
turning left to right and another four frames of the fender as it comes
in from right to left.Ē
To answer your question, I think weíre essentially making a movie every
week. I mean itís real. I mean Doug is very involved. Dave is very
involved. Nobody is doing this in their spare time. Itís really theyíre
committed, so I think youíll see all of that stuff, all of that kind of
great action, wisdom and knowledge. Youíll see as much as you can do in
eight days any way.
S. Wilson Now, what is it about Arthur that is kind of like that hidden
reveal that comes out slowly over time?
P. Gallagher When you find out what it is you tell me. I have no idea. I
could imagine what. I love it because I think there are a million places
Arthur could go. I like the whole work situation. Thereís a great
relationship with Kari, I think, that develops. Iím hoping Iíll have
things to do with Piper and maybe in the tenth season I might actually
leaveó In the tenth season I might actually leave the office. Wait. No.
Actually, I already leave the office. We go to dinner and go in the
S. Wilson Itís interesting, because with what youíve got going on I
would like to see Arthur out in the field.
P. Gallagher Now youíre talking. I think youíve got to pick up the phone
and call 1-800-Covert-Affairs.
S. Wilson Okay. Good. Iíll do that. Thank you so much for your time
today. Itís a real pleasure talking to you.
P. Gallagher Itís fun. Itís great to promote something that youíre proud
of and that you like the people in and people seem to be responding.
Itís one of those. Iím not going to say any more. Letís not count any
chickens. Weíre not out of the gate yet. Okay.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Jessica Rae with
Small Screen Scoop. Please go ahead.
J. Rae I want to talk about the character of Arthur because we still
donít know a lot about him. He seems so mysterious for a show about
people who are mysterious. You mentioned the strong sense of duty that
Arthur has. Do you think that this sense of duty is stronger than his
sense of loyalty to his wife?
P. Gallagher Well, thatís such a good question, because thatís
essentially the crux, isnít it?
J. Rae I guess so.
P. Gallagher But whatís interesting, I think also that in that
environment itís an area that I think every agent explores. I donít
think itís necessarily always exclusive. Again, Iím totally off the
track here, but I think thatís exactly what makes it interesting,
because I donít think Arthur is even sure. I think ultimately his
responsibility is to the nation, you know? But I donít think theyíre
necessarily mutually exclusive. I think heís got a juggling act, like a
lot of people do, keeping all of the people in the Agency alive and well
and the nation safe and his marriage intact. Thatís a tall order.
J. Rae Itís a lot for him to do.
P. Gallagher It was tough for Tony Soprano.
J. Rae You mentioned that youíre fascinated by the CIA. Iím curious.
Would you ever consider Ė maybe not now, earlier or maybe later and you
wonít tell us Ė but would you ever consider joining the CIA?
P. Gallagher Thatís so bizarre, because they just called this morning.
J. Rae Uh-oh.
P. Gallagher No. Iím kidding. Thatís so crazy because theyíre at the
door. That was them. Iíve got to go. No. You know what? I canít even
imagine that. Iím just trying to make a living. Iím just trying to get
my kids through college.
J. Rae Itís hard enough pretending to play in the CIA, right?
P. Gallagher Itís an interesting notion. Look, the notion of service; if
my country needed me I wouldnít necessarily move to Ireland. No.
J. Rae Okay.
P. Gallagher My father was in the Normandy Invasion. My brother was an
Officer, an Army Officer, during Vietnam and so it kind of runs in the
family, but Iím no hero.
J. Rae Well, there are different ways to be a hero.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Tiffany Vogt with
Nice Girls TV. Please go ahead.
T. Vogt This is probably just a little bit redundant after all of the
questions youíve answered, but did you have to go to any kind of classes
or schooling for either fight training or to learn the lingo you might
have to use as the director?
P. Gallagher Well, so far all Iíve had to really do is get up and down
out of my desk and in and out of bed and up and down from dinner, so
that I can do. But beyond that what I love about doing a TV show, which
I havenít done that many, but the great thing about it is thereís always
next week. Well, not always. In fact, there is rarely next week, but
when there is next week chances are there will be another week after
that where these things can develop. So, as I said, I wasnít exactly
sure how many Iíd be doing of this show, so I didnít really know where
the character was going or what it was going to be about and so Iíve
been free to kind of imagine.
As I said, I havenít been to Langley, but Iíve been reading and Iíve
been asking and I read the script because, frankly, no matter what kind
of research you do, if you donít spend some time on what happens on the
page itís not really going to matter.
T. Vogt You like to follow exactly what theyíve written on the page?
P. Gallagher No. That would not be a fair characterization. Iím just
saying that I do all of the regular research. I didnít go to Langley. As
I say, if this was a show called Arthur Campbell, CIA you could be sure
Iíd be living at Langley and I could kill you with a look. I could beat
you to death with my eyebrows, but thatís not the show. So I think if
there are any special skills required I will acquire them as needed.
T. Vogt Okay. Also, characterizing Arthur a little bit do you think heís
a strictly by the book kind of guy or would he be a bit more rogue if he
felt it was necessary to get the job done?
P. Gallagher I think heís definitely not a bureaucrat. I think with his
military background I just think the vibe of the guy, because heís a
good leader, heís not for blindly following rules if the greater goal is
going to be compromised. So itís a juggling act.
Moderator Our next question comes from Daniel Malen with the
D. Malen Let me preface my question by just letting you know, because
Iím not sure if youíre aware, Melinda Clarke, your former O.C. co-star
is actually in Toronto shooting a CW Show, Nikitaó
P. Gallagher Nikita. Yes.
D. Malen Do you think thereís any chance we will ever see any of your
former O.C. cast members guest on the show?
P. Gallagher On our show?
D. Malen Yes.
P. Gallagher Anything is possible. I love them all, so I hope so. Itís
up to them, I guess, or up to Covert Affairs. I mean Iím just hoping the
Covert Affairs cast will continue to be on Covert Affairs. I mean we had
a pretty good run with The O.C., so now weíve got to give birth to
Covert Affairs and then weíll see. I want to see Sandy Cohen from The
O.C. be Arthur Campbell for a little while longer too. That would be
D. Malen What would Sandy say about Arthur Campbell? Because Sandy was
kind of a hippieó
P. Gallagher Right.
D. Malen I donít know if heíd agree with your new character so much.
P. Gallagher No. Heíd be protesting him.
D. Malen Probably.
P. Gallagher Then theyíd bump into each other and realize they had a lot
more in common than they thought.
D. Malen Really good looking wives.
P. Gallagher And they were played by the same person. ďWait a minute,
werenít you playedó?Ē ďYes.Ē ďMe too. Oh. Thatís why.Ē
Moderator Our next one comes from Alix Sternberg with TheTVChick.com.
A. Sternberg Covert Affairs is going to premiere with White Collar and
you touched upon this a little bit before, but what has it been like
being a part of the USA Network?
P. Gallagher Itís pretty cool. Itís like being part of the future a bit
because things just make sense, you know? You can feel it instantly.
A. Sternberg Yes.
P. Gallagher Itís kind of like itís just the experience, as I say, the
people at the top of an organization pretty well define the
organization, I think, which is why I wanted to be in business with Doug
Liman and Dave Bartisó
A. Sternberg Yes.
P. Gallagher Because I admire them and I respect them and I trust them
and thereís nothing more fun than working with people that you feel that
way about. Thatís when good work happens too. Thatís what a lot of
people donít understand. Some people think itís all about control and
say this and do that. Thatís baloney. Itís a lot about the things that
happen that are surprising to everybody.
Working with USA what I found surprising was, for instance, I put on a
suit in the pilot. Within a couple of hours Bonnie Hammer, the Head of
the network, had seen a picture of me in that suit on her iPhone and
A. Sternberg Wow.
P. Gallagher Within a few hours. You know what? Thereís not a really
heavy, heavy bureaucracy there at USA. There are a couple of people that
do the job that, in some places, 50 people do, so theyíre people who are
responsible and you get to know them. So things happen. I havenít felt
thereís been unproductive interference from them; that theyíre sort of
allowing us to do our jobs. Obviously, weíre not screwing it up too
badly, at least in their eyes.
Listen, the best thing in the world is when things happen in a good way
and things are really happening in a good way and I have to credit USA
for creating that environment. I have to credit Doug and Dave for
creating that environment and for USA allowing them to create that
environment. So itís pretty cool. Whatever theyíre doing itís right and
there are only 13 episodes, so chances are the writing will stay good.
A. Sternberg You talked a little bit about the back story youíve created
for Arthur Campbell. You also talked a lot about a lot of your family
being in the military. Did any of that back story come from people you
know or any stories youíve heard?
P. Gallagher Just a few things I had read about. I mean, really,
basically what I enjoyed, what interests me about a possible Arthur
Campbell Ė as I say, Iím not writing it, so Iím just kind of making this
up Ė but what appeals to me is the notion that he has experience on the
ground in the military and as a CIA asset. So when he is in a political
position as director of that agency and forced to be either questioned
or reprimanded or used in some political fashion by a bureaucrat, by a
politician, who has no experience in the military or has no real
experience in any of the things that theyíre talking about there just
should be an interesting conflict. Interesting as this man, Arthur, has
a great sense of duty and canít respond as he might feel like
responding. Heís being questioned by a Senator that is trying to score
political points and doesnít really know what heís talking about, to
balance that responsibility.
Am I making any sense? Do you know what I mean?
A. Sternberg Yes. Yes.
P. Gallagher In other words, the notion of being authentic as opposed to
using oneís position for oneís grand .... I like that conflict. I like
to be that guy whoís actually been there and is forced to kind of deal
with the challenges of the job.
Moderator Our next question comes from Chris OíVara with TVOvermind.com.
C. OíVara From watching the pilot it really seems like it seemed very
natural and there was just great chemistry with the cast. Could you talk
a little bit about shooting with that cast?
P. Gallagher Yes. Well, you know what? I think thatís so huge. I think
that has as much to do with a show being successful as anything because
you know what? What you see on the screen, thatís what itís like. Thatís
what itís like on the set.
Iíll be honest with you. In fact, here you go; I guess you can say that
because you guys are bloggers, but the first question I asked Dave
Bartis when he said, ďHey, Pete, Iíve got this script, Covert Affairs.
There might be a little part in here that maybe youíd want to do and
blah, blah, blah.Ē The first thing I asked him, I said, ďWhatís the
a**hole quotient?Ē He said, ďIíve got to be honest with you. At this
point, zero.Ē I said, ďAll right. Iím in.Ē That pretty much is true.
As I say, itís defined by Doug Liman and Dave Bartis in that they have
no interest in working with people that want to suck up all of the
attention in the room. Theyíre interested in telling a story well. So
they invited all of these people to help tell this story that feel that
same way. As a result, youíve got all of these people in the cast, Chris
and Piper and Anne and Sendhil. Sendhil went to Tufts, by the way, so
weíre both Jumbos.
These casts are really bright and really funny and really generous. In
my experience the best artists Iíve ever worked with are the best people
and the easiest to work with because they know well enough to know that
whatever anxiety or fear theyíre having nobody else should have to pay
for. If you had a shitty high school experience, get over it. Thatís
what itís like on the set. I have nothing but respect for Piper and
everybody, Chris. As I say, Chris got me into Tweeting. Itís a great set
to be on. A great crew too.
C. OíVara What other television shows have you been into lately? What
have you been watching?
P. Gallagher I donít really get into television much, but Iím absolutely
hooked on Modern Family. Iím looking forward to seeing the season of
Rescue Me. My pal, Dennis, this is his last couple of seasons.
Moderator Our next question comes from Christine Nyholm with Suite101.
C. Nyholm My question is I have a nephew, who wants to be an actor, like
so many people do and so my question, since youíve been in the business
for such a long time and are so knowledgeable, what kind of advice would
you give somebody who wants to get into acting?
P. Gallagher If there is any, any, any, any way you can think of doing
something else, do it. If you canít, just try to do it as much as you
can and keep showing up. Remember that nobody knows anything and there
is nobody at the top. Nobody has figured it out, so you have just as
much of a chanceó you have as much right to try as anybody.
What I will also say is the acting game has totally changed in the last
couple of years and I think itís going to be harder and harder for
actors to make a living at it.
I think what you really want to do in order to survive is also to have
an eye on somehow creating some content, because I think everything is
going to be different. But at the end of the day, put yourself on your
death bed and if you think that your life would be absolutely tarnished
and poorer if you didnít follow your dreams then you better follow your
dreams; otherwise it will lead you somewhere worthwhile, even if itís
not to where you think you want to go.
C. Nyholm Iím going to ask you to elaborate just a little bit. Youíre
not the first actor, who has said to me that, ďDo anything else.Ē So why
P. Gallagher Because as much people who, even you guys that really know
more than anybody about TV and that really observe things, you canít
fathom how mind bending and heartbreaking it can be, because things
happen that make absolutely no sense. Itís tough. My parents, the first
Broadway show my parents saw I was in. They didnít know. Nobody did. It
was ridiculous, so I was making it up. Itís good if you have learned
stuff about it before you go in and maybe you have a better chance, but
itís just hard. A lot of things are and if you do manage to pull it off
in some way, shape or form youíre one of the lucky, lucky few. I
consider myself one of the lucky, lucky few.
Moderator Our next question comes from Amanda Ernst with Crushable.com
A. Ernst My question is because of The O.C. I think you probably have
the following of younger fans. I want to know if you kind of have a
sense of that or what your relationship is with your fans. Do you get
out and talk to them? Do you, now that youíre on Twitter, get to kind of
interact with them at all?
P. Gallagher I always do. I love the fans. I mean Iíd be out of business
without them. Look, Iím still crazy enough to think that storytelling is
really important. Really, itís as important now as itís ever been.
Thereís nothing more powerful than a story, in my eyes, well told other
than contributing to that story being told well. So when a story works
it sort of creates a little sense of community.
Chris Gorham got me into the whole Twitter thing, which, as I said, it
would paralyze me. I thought, ďWhy would you ever want to tell anybody
what youíre doing? What is that about? Nobody wants to know what Iím
doing. Itís not even interesting.Ē But then I kind of understood it. I
mean itís a real paradigm shift, because I hide. I like hide behind my
characters. I donít want anybody. Itís embarrassing. I love to talk, but
not about myself, believe it or not. So Iím really digging this. Just in
the last couple of weeks he got me into this and Iíve been talking to
people from all over the world.
Itís true. When youíre lucky enough to play characters that inspire
people or help peopleó Iíve gotten lots of notes from people about Sandy
Cohen and fathering and sad stories and things. Iím moved by that. I
talked to a guy that became an actor. Yesterday I saw a movie this guy
was starring in. He became an actor, an English actor, because of a
performance he saw that I was in of Long Dayís Journey Into Night in
London 25 years ago. So I love that.
If people were coming up to me on the street and throwing bottles at me
and saying, ďYou suck,Ē that would be different, but that hasnít been my
experience. I can look forward to that.
A. Ernst Yes. I mean playing someone like Sandy, who was such a good
father and such a good husband, now to be in this character and like the
tiny bit that we saw of him in the pilot, sort of, heís being accused of
cheating. What is that like for you to play that now?
P. Gallagher Well, I donít really know what that is yet, you know?
Because the character is still being developed. I suspect that this
character has more in common with Sandy Cohen than at first meets the
eye. Maybe not as liberal, but in terms of a belief in the tenants of
democracy and a free society and what it takes to keep it that way, a
different approach. But I think they both are sort of driven by ideals
and some of those ideals coincide and others diverge.
But meanwhile, listen; I donít know whatís going to happen. It could
turn out I could end up strolling into Arbyís with an assault rifle in
episode 11 and wiping out the kitchen staff. I donít know whatís going
C. Fehskens I just wanted to hop back in here and thank Peter so much
for joining us and remind everybody, of course, to tune into Covert
Affairs. The series premiere is on Tuesday, July 13th at 10:00/9:00
Central on USA Network. We also hope that youíll join us again next
Thursday, July 1st, to speak with series Executive Producer, Doug Liman.
That will also be at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, so please be sure to RSVP
for that session if you havenít done so already.
P. Gallagher Thank you. Have a great weekend.
Moderator Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude your
conference for today. Thank you very much for your participation and for
using the AT&T Executive Teleconference.
Official website at
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