You think your job is insecure? Consider protean actor Jere Burns, who is currently in the midst of shooting his third season as Wynn Duffy on FX’s Peabody Award-winning Timothy Olyphant series, “Justified,” that’s based on Elmore Leonard works.
“I seem to escape death every season on that show. They like to kill people. If you’re bad, you die. I’ve contined to stay healthy. This coming season, I get a fist pounding. I won’t say from who. But so far, we’re shooting episode six and I’m still alive, so I’m counting my blessings. I’ve shown up for work expecting to die twice — I’ve had two death scenes — but when I got to the set, someone had decided to alter the script.
“The first year, it was a huge gun battle, sort of a Mexican standoff, where all the guns go off and everyone dies. I was going to be the last person to die, but they decided, midway through the scene, ‘Maybe just shoot him in the shoulder.’ The following year I came in expecting to die, but then, rather than shooting at each other, we agreed to disagree.”
Burns says it would have bothered him more when he was a beginning actor and fearful that each job would be his last. But now, well, he doesn’t come right out and say it, but he can afford to be a bit jocular about impending death by computer keyboard stroke. The actor who rose to fame in the sitcom world (“Dear John,” “Something So Right”) has become a favorite in edgy cable fare.
Right now, he’s being seen as the villainous Anson — a.k.a. he who was responsible for the burning of ex-CIA man Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) in “Burn Notice.” He’s been collecting dream reviews, as in TV Guide, which noted that he “brings wit, charm and malice to what could’ve been a standard bad-guy role.”
“This character is just so rich, really delicious,” Burns says. “There are dumb bad guys — they’re a dime a dozen. The really smart ones who express themsleves in a really articulate way are fun to play. It’s interesting that Anson knows more about Michael, our hero, than even his coworkers, girlfriends or mother know about him. He’s got this sort of complicated, multilayered background that parallels the world of intelligence.”
FROM LONDON WITH STYLE: Michael Buble unveils his “A Michael Buble Christmas” special tonight (12/6) on NBC, with the crooner joined by a truly eclectic group of guests, from Justin Bieber to Oscar the Grouch to — The Puppini Sisters? “It was quite strange,” reports Marcella Puppini from London. “He just rang us one day out of the blue and asked if we’d like to be on his Christmas album. He said he’d been listening to us a lot when he went out jogging,” she says. “He just rang and asked, and we said, ‘Hell, yes!’ Then he flew us over to L.A. and treated us like princesses, the biggest gentleman we ever met, unbelievable.”
The blonde, brunette and red-haired U.K. trio (who are sisters in stage name only) specialize in doing a modern spin on Andrews Sisters-style harmonies. They not only joined Buble to record his new Christmas album, they reunited with him for a television special in London, and then the NBC show.
Now the Puppinis are about to do a full court press to grow their U.S. audience. With their latest album, “Hollywood,” out, Marcella says, “We’re booking a U.S. tour to start mid-February, then we’ll be at the Carlyle in New York in April.”
New York is bound to appreciate their eye-catching retro style, masterminded by Marcella. “I was trained in fashion before training in music. I trained at St. Martins in England, the best fashion design school in the country, and then I went to work for Vivienne Westwood for awhile before I finally realized I had to devote myself to music,” she explains. Even so, the Puppinis elicited help from “Madmen” designer Janie Bryan to style their “Hollywood” video shoot and album cover. “There are certain things we always do: we always have cinch waists and very red lips. Just a few ground rules,” Marcella says. “Janie’s got such an inspiring aesthetic. it just seemed like the perfect combination. She didn’t know who we were when we asked her, but when she checked out our music she wanted to do it. She said she wouldn’t have done it if she hadn’t loved what we do.”
THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: Don’t expect that cable TV biopic of Stefani Germanotta, a.k.a. Lady Gaga, to show up anytime soon. Despite recent casting notices for “The Fame Monster,” which was announced earlier this year — they were looking for an actress who could play the pop star as a shoolgirl — we hear that the project has been put on a back burner.