"Army Wives" Q&A: Brian McNamara
The patriarch of Fort Marshall, Major General Michael Holden, has been through amazing highs and lows on "Army Wives" a promotion, the death of a daughter, the betrayal of a friend but what do we know about the man behind this buttoned-up character?
The "Army Wives" Blog brings you an exclusive Q&A with Golden Globenominated actor Brian McNamara, featuring questions from selected show fans. See if yours was answered by the General, and what he has to say about the upcoming Season 4!
You've done a lot of television work! Have you ever shot any great TV pilots that were never picked up that you wish had been?
During my career I'd say there have been about a dozen pilots that never got a chance, that were very good shows. It's incredibly hard to get a pilot picked up. So many elements have to come together.
What's the most embarrassing early acting job you had?
In the late '80s Debbie Reynolds and I were undercover detectives dressed as middle-aged cleaning women in a MOW [Movie of the Week] called "Sadie and Son." Definitely my most embarrassing acting job.
Apparently Katherine Fugate and April Webster had been looking for [someone to play] the role of Michael for quite a while. I was called in at the Nth hour, and Katherine felt that she'd finally found the actor to do it. I'm so grateful. I love playing Michael.
Have you gone through any military training for the show to get a sense of the lifestyle of being a general? Have any real Army generals given you any pointers?
Initially I only had my brother Christopher as a role model. He is a retired Navy captain. I think people were impressed with my quiet air of command, which is all thanks to Chris. Since then I've been incredibly fortunate to shadow Major General Anthony Cucolo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division based out of Fort Stewart, Georgia. He and his wife were huge inspirations.
What's the most difficult part of playing someone like Michael Holden? What's the most rewarding?
I'd say the greatest challenge to playing Michael is emotional. I'm a very emotional person, and many of the things that Michael confronts require me to keep Brian's emotions in check. The most rewarding is to be part of a show, cast and production team that strive every day to get it right. We all take great pride in honoring the men, women and families who comprise the United States Military and who risk a great deal to protect our freedoms.
Why do you think that Michael's reaction to Denise's adultery storyline was so strong?
It's Michael's belief that when a soldier is risking his or her life, it is the duty of their spouse back home to be faithful and keep things stable on the home front so their soldier in the field can keep their mind on the mission.
Your relationship with your children on the show comes across as so genuine on screen. Are you a father in real life?
I am the father of two extraordinary people who are, by far and away, the greatest source of joy and pride in my life. In fact, my daughter just started her freshman year at College of Charleston, where we film "Army Wives," so I'm thrilled to have her so close to me during the season. The cast and crew also adore her, and she's become very good friends with Katelyn Pippy, who plays Emmalin.
One of the fans' favorite Michael Holden scenes in "Army Wives" is of you punching Paolo in the face. What's one of yours?
One of my favorite scenes was when Michael and Emmalin reconcile. However, as I often tell people, every time I get to act with Kim Delaney I'm in heaven. She is such an incredibly talented actor, and I still marvel at our ability to play off each other ... to say nothing of her beauty! I've got the greatest job in the world. ;-)
You've directed some of the "Army Wives" webisodes featured on myLifetime.com. What's more challenging acting or directing? Is this something you'd like to do more of?
I'll never lose my love for acting, but I do love directing as well. The challenge of constantly moving forward during shooting so that you never waste the time or talents of the crew you're working with is very exhilarating. Getting to work with Sterling K. Brown, Wendy Davis and Richard was also a great thrill. I am lobbying, and my hope is to get to direct full episodes at some point. Fingers crossed.
What do you do in your time off from the show?
During the off-season I just enjoy my time with my son.
What can you tell us about Season 4 without spoiling anything for us?
The fun part is that, to a certain degree, we are in the dark too. Which makes it fun to read each new script. Stay along for the ride, and, honestly, thank you all so much for watching.