Heather Burns [Interview]
June 7, 2014 Leave a comment
So, we have reached what some might call the pinnacle of our little website when we reached 100 interviews a few days ago. Well, I like to call it a summit. And to prove it, I wanted to jump right in and get another interview up and going as soon as I could. And I will be hot damned if I don’t have a good one for you fine readers!
Heather Burns is easily one of the finest actresses in the game today. She has had quite an illustrious career in the world of film and theatre, but it is her work in television that really struck a chord with me. I recently marathoned the entire 3 season run of HBO’s Bored To Death, which is without a doubt one of the finest displays of dark(ish) comedy I have ever witnessed. The writing by Jonathan Ames is brilliant, unique, fresh, and original. But as anyone knows, even the greatest writing can be destroyed if not delivered properly. And the cast of this wonderful show deliver perfectly. Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson deliver their finest performances they have done (and probably ever will do!) but for me it is all about the other two people: Zach Galifinakis and Heather Burns. Zach and Heather play a couple that has some “issues”, to put it lightly. And together they create one of the finest one screen “couples” in goofy television history. Sadly, the show never made it past a third season, but I am not giving up hope. This much talent in one spot deserves to be highlighted once again.
And just as we tend to realize around here with our interviews, this is a person who has had an absolutely stellar career that she should be extremely proud of, and we know just how fortune we are that she would agree to speak with this digital paper for the peasants. So without further ado, here is our 101st interview, with the wonderful and talented Heather Burns.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be an actress?
My aunt always tells me that I came up to her when I was 3 years old and said, “I’m going to be an actress when I grow up.” I don’t remember that, but I believe her. I had very good acting teachers in high school, and I think it was around then that I thought that it actually was something I wanted to do professionally. Also, growing up in Chicago, I was exposed to a lot of really good theatre. I think seeing shows and coming into contact with people who had started theatre companies made it seem like something that was possible.
I understand that you worked on a project with your husband, actor Ajay Naidu, called Ashes. What is it like to be work so closely on a project with your significant other? Is it stressful at all? Have you worked together before on anything?
Ajay and I have worked together on a number of projects. I really enjoy it, as long as we don’t have a love scene together, because that is just really weird for both of us. We met doing a play when we were kids and have worked in a few films together. He was also on Bored to Death, but we never got to work together.
Yes, it was stressful working together at times. Making a film is, in general, stressful. Especially when you have a very low budget. So, yes, we had our fights. But, I think at the end of the day, we both tried not to take the stress of the job personally. I would do it again. I feel we both learned so much. It is fun to watch something evolve from nothing into it’s own entity. There is so much that is out of your control, and there are so many happy accidents.
On Bored To Death, you played opposite Zach Galifinakis. The relationship between you and Zach on the show makes for some of the best television I have seen in a long while. What is like creating that show? Did you enjoy going into work each day?
Thank you! I did enjoy going to work every day. So often as an actor you work on things that you aren’t sure you would actually watch. You’re like, “um… I’m not sure if this is good, but, okay, I’m glad to have the gig.” The humor in Bored to Death was really up my alley, though. Jonathan Ames has such a unique, eccentric voice, but the characters are so relatable. The guys were great to work with too. I’m a fan of all three of them and they are super nice and funny people. Also, I live in New York. There is nothing better than getting to work at home in the springtime. And, the parties were fun!
Well, I hope she and Ray would try to work things out. I’d hope they’d live happily ever after, although, that probably wouldn’t be too funny. The show ends with him still being into elder love. Hopefully, that phase would pass. Or else, Leah would become older and let her hair go gray, and things would stand a better chance. But, I do like them together. They are a very sweet, almost childlike couple.
You have been performing for television, film, and the stage for quite a while now. So, which one brings you the most joy?
I’d have to say my first love is theatre, but I usually love the most what I am not doing at the time. The grass is always greener with me. If I’m doing a film, I start itching to do a play, and when I’m in a long run of a show, I want to do a film or TV. I think, “What was I thinking? This takes so much stamina.” I do enjoy all mediums, though, and I feel very grateful that I have been able to work pretty regularly in all three. When I did my first movie, You’ve Got Mail, Gene Stapleton said that balance is what makes a person happiest as an actor. That doing films is really fun, but that feeling of telling a story without it being fragmented and in front of an audience, is important too. I always remember that. It was very good advice. I continue to strive for balance. I guess that’s why the grass is always greener.
If you could portray any well-known woman in American history, who would it be?
Jane Goodall, because she is an incredible force, a beautiful person, an inspiration, and it would be fun to work with monkeys… or maybe it wouldn’t, on second thought.
What does the future hold for you? What can we expect to see you doing in the near future?
I have just finished a long run of a play, Dinner with Friends at the Roundabout Theatre. It was a heavy play, so I am itching to do comedy. I really loved doing it, but I’m ready to be silly again. I am also in the early stages of another project with my husband, that I hope to get off the ground in the not too distant future.
I live over a community garden, and my neighbors got some little chicks and a coop. They really make me smile, especially when they sleep.