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THE SUNDAY CONVERSATION

Gabrielle Anwar, 'Burn Notice'

June 28, 2009|Choire Sicha

Gabrielle Anwar was the naughty young thing in "Scent of a Woman" and, more recently, the naughty less-young sister of Henry VIII on "The Tudors"; also, she plays a former IRA super-spy lady in "Burn Notice," now in its third season. We caught up with the England-born actress on a recent Friday afternoon in Miami.

Are you almost done with this Season 3 shooting?

We are presently shooting Episode 310, and we have 16. Can you hang on one second? I'm so sorry! [Some time passes.]

--

Who was that?

Oh, my God, I'm having the craziest day. My ex-husband is in charge of travel plans. We're leaving first thing in the morning, and suddenly it turns out my son doesn't have a passport. It's unforgivable. If I could divorce him, I would, but it's too late.

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Is there a way to actually fix such a situation?

I'm calling in favors from anyone who's ever said they know someone in immigration. Even getting a human on the phone takes hours, and I'm not sure I can devote hours to this predicament.

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Are you going to leave the kid behind?

I guess that's always an option, isn't it? It's not about him -- it's about the entire family having to cancel the vacation. Anyway! Breathing through it.

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Are they U.S. citizens?

They were all born here. They were all produced in this country.

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Where were/are you going?

Well, we're going to Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean. The whole system is so bloody antiquated! That one has to carry a book with a photo? Surely we could have chips in our brain like at the supermarket. I'm all for it.

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Apart from major stress, how's your life in Miami?

When I'm not trying to get a passport in less than 24 hours, it's pretty good! It's an idyllic tropical dreamscape of a place to be.

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Do you have friends and a life there since you've been part-time relocated?

I don't have very many friends. But I'm not really looking.

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People do end up isolated on set.

It is a very isolative environment. It forces a sense of autonomy, and I suppose, I think, I may thrive on that kind of loneliness! That's the creature I am. It's so hard listening to myself talk about myself sometimes.

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We can talk about other stuff! Did you ever become a U.S. citizen?

I have very recently. I felt it was my duty since I produced so many offspring here, to have some semblance of a say to be where their future may lead. But that just may be wishful thinking. I listened to too much John Lennon growing up.

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Yes, you are about to be 40!

I've already surpassed my life expectancy by about 10 years, so anything goes at this point.

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I hadn't realized you had such a rambunctious younger life.

Oh, good, I'm glad it's not public knowledge.

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But we weren't going to talk about you.

Well, I'm an actress! It's inevitably going to end up in my ballpark.

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Are three children enough? You have three!

I have three! Which sounds like a lot to those that don't have any and a little to those that have five. I could keep going. If the bounty of eggs allows, and of course I have to find another donor. But I never say "never." Well, I do, actually quite a bit. In this instance I'm optimistic that there could be more child-rearing.

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It sounds fun, but the donors are the problem.

Donors are always a problem, which is why I refer to them solely as donors. I have an abundance of baby daddies, which is fabulous, they're all dear friends. But that utopia of raising children with my loved one and growing old and rocking together in our porch swing with 17 great-grandchildren on our laps? I think I may be swinging alone.

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It's true, these utopias rarely work out so smoothly.

Well, they never do, do they? It's such a ludicrous concept, it is, that such different species as male and female can even cohabitate; it's wrong, just bloody well wrong. And yet it's what we're all raised to gravitate toward. It's a physical impossibility.

--

I take it women are out of the question.

Not necessarily! I have a fondness for the human despite the gender. So it's not out of the question, but, however, I have needs that have yet to be met from either. So I'm looking for that third sex.

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Do you have any hobbies?

I do spend quite a bit of time thinking. I do have hobbies! I've never really referred to them as hobbies. I have absolutely not a moment through the day where I allow the word "bored" to be even muttered under one's breath in the household. So I find that if I'm not interacting with one or all of the children or arguing about the inability to produce a passport with an ex-husband, then I'm painting, writing, riding, tending to a garden, trying to figure out what's wrong with my composter, building a new fence. I have a tool kit that is enviable to most men, and I just very seldomly sit still. So I do enjoy keep my mind lubed. Well lubed!

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I should let you go deal with your insane crisis?

Yeah, I probably should! Though I just sat down for the first time in 12 years.

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