Pamela Gidley Interview

The following is an interview for HUM90.com with the actor 
Pamela Gidley 
which took place in 2007.

 

HUM90: How did you get the role of Nikki Raines in Tour of Duty?

Was it a one off audition ,did you ace it straight away, or did you have call backs?

PG: The typical routine.  Call backs etc.


HUM90:Did the producers have you do a reading with Stephen Caffrey to see if you two clicked?
PG: I donít recall, that was so long ago.  
My instinct is no, since he must have been working in Hawaii.

HUM90: As an actor, how did you decide how you were going to play Nikkiís character?
PG: As truthful as I could be at that time.  I wanted to show realism, not some ďideaĒ of what a nurse like her in that circumstance would actually go through.

HUM90: In the show Nikki is a nurse.
Did you research much into the role of a Vietnam nurse, so that you would look competent in the role?
PG: Yes, in fact they gave me, us, a huge note binder containing the whole history of the Vietnam War.  I remember devouring it.  I became utterly consumed with that time in our history.  Now, whether or not that information was Ďbiasedí or not, I canít say.  Again, it has been so long since working on Tour Of Duty.

HUM90: Was the role of Nikki well received by the public at the time, did you get a lot of fan mail? 
PG: I believe so, I did get other work from it, so yes, and I canít imagine that it was not well received.  But again, I have to reiterate that that was one of my first jobs, I was still just a babe in the woods, so to speak.

HUM90 : Although the nursing aspect wasnít used to its fullest.
Did you get any response from real Vietnam nurses? 
Did people react positively that a Vietnam nurse was included in the show. 
PG: I donít recall getting responses from actual nurses that were thereÖthis was filmed before e-mail and such!     

HUM90: We know from the show that the character you played, Nikki , had some relationship history back in the USA with LT Goldman, How much of a background story where you given about this?
PG: Not too much, that I recall but as an actor your job is to fill in those blank places and create the Ďbetween the linesí characteristics for that given role. 


HUM90: Did you and Stephen sit down with the writers and discuss how the coupleís relationship would be played out before filming began?
PG: No, I donít think so; again, it was so long ago.


HUM90: Did you make any suggestions to the characters role?
PG: Iím sure I did, as I usually do.  :)

HUM90: How much of Nikkiís character is you?
PG: Well every character has some aspects of ones self, I mean; one can only really draw from their own experiences, and the rest to conjure from ones imagination.

HUM90: We first see Nikki arriving on a helicopter in ĎNowhere to Runí Can you tell us a little about that arrival scene?
PG: That I remember quite well!  It was awesome. 


HUM90: Sheís flown in on a chopper, did you really fly in the chopper or was it a ground shot sequence you stepped into?
PG:  Yes, I flew in the chopper.  It was fantastic!  I recall the pilot was so concerned about me.  
He was quite taken by surprise that I had not only NOT thrown up but also, wanted to do it again and again.  
If memory serves me correctly, there were 1 or 2 people that were very nauseous.  It was a great experience!  Iíll NEVER forget that day!

HUM90: How long where you actually on set? Generally how long were your days with hair & make-up to sort out I guess it was longer than the guys?
PG: Well, naturally I took longer than the guyís!  But most of my scenes were with simple make-up so my call wasnít that much earlier than them.


HUM90: How long did it take to film a scene?
PG: Until the director got what he wanted or the 1st. A.D. told the director Ďsorry, time to move oní, more or less.

HUM90: The nikki/myron restaurant scene, was that on studio set or in a real place? 
PG: That was in a real restaurant.  All of my episodes were shot while the show was still in Hawaii so most locations, outside of the army sets, were in real places, establishments.
 

 
HUM90: We all know that films and TV scenes arenít always filmed in the order they are finally put on screen.
With that in mind, Nikkiís final episodes, Angel of Mercy & The Hill.
Where your scenes for both the episodes shot at the same time? To save time revisiting sets and scenes?

PG: No.  They didnít shoot episodes out of order.  That only happens, generally, on the episode that is being filmed as each episode has a different, or revolving director/directors.

HUM90: Where your 3 episodes filmed back to back or did you travel from the mainland over to Hawaii each time you were needed?
PG: I flew back to Los Angeles in between. 

HUM90: Did you get any time off during filming?
PG: Yes, the episodes that I appeared in did not shoot consecutively. 

HUM90: Did you get to discover the islands at all?
PG: Yes.  During one particular episode I had a few days off and I went to Maui with another actress that was on that episode.  JulieÖforgive me, I cannot recall her surname but, she was a great gal and we had a blast.  We did get into one very bizarre situation with some local restaurant owner who was a fan of the show and begged us to go to his home and meet his children.  After much reluctance we went and what a strange scene that was!  He seemed perfectly fine to us while at his restaurant and for a while at his home but then he had a few drinks rather quickly and became very weird.  We both got a real creepy feeling and knew we had to get out of there.  While trying to sneak out without him noticing, his daughter saw us and told the man who then got really angry and came after us wielding a gun!  We took off running like mad!  Taught me a damn good lesson! 

HUM90: During the second of Nikkiís episodes (Angel Of Mercy), we get to see a little of Nikki as an independent woman, she knows what she wants. When you were considering the role did this help you at all?
PG: Certainly.  When considering any role the character has to be somewhat worthy!  I have always refused to play some character that I consider otherwise.  I know that may come across a bit snobbish but, we all have our own level of standards. 

HUM90: Also during this episode we find out that Nikki had an abortion. Did you think that the writers were brave to show this storyline in what was a primetime show? Or do you feel it was unnecessary as a storyline in the relationship between Nikki and Myron?
PG: It was crucial! Thatís what gave their whole circumstance weight.  Without it, it would or could be portrayed as shallow or meaningless, which the writers clearly did not want.  I applaud them for that.


HUM90: Could the characters have reached the same Ďsplití in their relationship without that particular storyline?
PG: They could have but without that meat the meal would have been quite boring.  I mean, they could have written some other reason why they Ďsplití up but, in my opinion, what the writers came up with was quite interesting and apropos for the time.


HUM90: One scene had you rolling about on the beach with Mr Stephen Caffrey, who some ladies I believe find rather handsome. Was this a hard scene to film?
PG:  No, not at all.  Well, maybe!  Kidding.  It is always somewhat awkward to do a scene like that with anyone.  Itís fictitious intimacy.  One can just hope that their working with someone who is familiar with doing those kinds of scenes and that you get along well with them.  Hopefully youíre comfortable with the crew because they have to watch to do their job as well.

Stephen was a professional!  And, well, yeah, doing that scene difficult to do with him!  NOT!  I loved every minute of it!

 
HUM90: Where was this filmed?
PG:  On a beach in Waikiki.  

HUM90: Was the beach closed off that day to allow you to shoot?
PG: Yes, the production would have pulled permits and have a few local police officers around.  The whole beach wouldnít have been closed off just the section where we were filming, as is standard practice.


HUM90: How long did it take to film?
PG: If I recall properly, it was just one evening.

HUM90: Did it need many takes to get it right?
PG: I donít recall.  Usually, on television shows, you arenít allotted too much time to do take after take, usually.  And being that Stephen is a professional, like myself, Iím sure it went off without a hitch. 

 
HUM90: Iím not suggesting that Stephen got it wrong on purpose at all but it must have been, very hard to concentrate on his lines with a beautiful lady like you in his arms, even for a professional like him. (Some of the ladies, who visit HUM90.com, who would still be rolling about with him now)
PG: AhÖthank you for the compliment!  And yes, Stephen is quite the hottie!

HUM90: Did you ever crack & get the giggles when filming? Why was that?
PG: Iím sure we did.  We got along extremely well!  We kept in contact for sometime after it was over.  Iím definitely a wise cracker kind of gal so Iím sure we shared a few good laughs.  And the crew was fantastic!  I remember getting along so well with them.  Especially the camera crew they were amazing!

HUM90: We have established that you worked closely with Stephen Caffrey, I have to ask for the ladies who adore Stephen Caffrey.
Whatís he really like?
Is he a nice guy?
PG: Stephen is a terrific guy!  Believe me, Iím not the kind of person to sit here and type that if it were not true!  I simply would have just moved onto the next question.  We had a great time working together.  He is a very astute actor with a big heart and a terrific sense of humour.  Heís a true Gentleman.  As well, the other cast mates, they were fantastic.  I remember going out and having a beer or two with Ďthe guyísí and just having a ball!  I have only been on one other show with that kind of camaraderie!  It truly was an amazing show to have worked on.  I wish I had done more episodes. 

HUM90: Out of the 3 episodes you where in, which did you enjoy the most, why is that?
Do you have a favourite scene?
PG: Not to diss my work with Stephen at all but, the helicopter scene was so exciting for me!  The thrill seeker that I am!

HUM90: When you signed up, did you know that Nikki wasnít going to be a long running character?
PG: Yes, it was only a recurring character.  Though I would have gladly done more!


HUM90: With that in mind did you think it peculiar the introduction of more female roles in season two?
It could be said season two may have worked better with Nikki still as Myronís love interest rather than the new character of Alex Devlinís (Kim Delaney) introduction?
PG:  I agree.  I think it would have been more interesting to have brought Nikki back but, thatís a circumstance where there are so so many people involved in the decision making process.

HUM90: Do you have any behind the scenes stories you could share with us?
What memories do you have of your time on Tour Of Duty, the crew & the cast?
Was it an enjoyable time for you that you look back fondly on?
PG:  I had a great time on the show.  There were no problems, no huge egoís, at least that I had to deal with, others may have had a different experience. I have only great memories of my time on the show!

HUM90: Did you keep anything from the show? Scripts, photos?
PG: I may have a script or two somewhere.  I have one Polaroid that I love.  Iím wearing the green medical scrubs and Iím holding the camera they were using.  I am a ďclosetĒ cinematographer and I really remember having a great time with the camera crew and learning a lot from them!

 
HUM90: Do you keep a little memento from all your work?
PG: I try to generally.  I am guilty of being a bit of a pack rat!

HUM90: Weíve ready heard from others that Terence Knox was and still is a joker on & off set,
Did any of the guys play tricks on you to?
Do you remember anything & did you get your own back?
PG: I didnít really hang out with Terence.  Being that the majority of my work was with Stephan I didnít get a chance to get to know Terence. 

HUM90: What do you think, Did Nikki survive the war?
PG: Yes, defiantly.

HUM90: What is she doing these days, did she got back to the USA and work with vets?
Do you think she ever wonders about Myron Goldman.

PG: I think she would have returned back to the States and become a pediatrician or something.  I remember think that they would, at some later date, get back together.  I used that thought in my performance.

HUM90: Have you seen anyone from Tour of Duty recently, are you in-contact with any of the guys?
PG: Just recently Ramon found me on ďmy spaceĒ and we have sent a few messages back and forth.  Miguel and Stephen, Iíve run into them a few times over the years.

HUM90: Since 1986, You have been working constantly acting in films or TV.
Youíve also fitted in being a producer & also writing and directing your short film ĎI Just Forgotí.
Which roles have you enjoyed most during your first 20+ years?

PG: Well, that is a very difficult question.  Iíve done such a variety of roles that itís hard to pin point.  One of my favourite characters Iíve played is ĎDollyí in a very small film called ďThe TreatĒ.  I loved my years on ďPretenderĒ The cast and crew were fantastic.  Too many to mention really.  Iíve been very fortunate having done as much work as I have. 

HUM90: Do you prefer working on a films or a TV series such as Pretender or C.S.I?
PG: I love both.  Naturally, I prefer that which I find more stimulating. 

HUM90:Youíve worked with a great variety of filmmakers, directors, actors,
Who have your enjoyed working for or with the most?

PG: Wow, so many!  Generally, I am more of a Ďcrewí girl than not.  I have great memories with so many terrific and talented filmmakers.  I always thought that I was going to do theatre only and getting into film was a fluke really.  When I began my first few jobs I knew that I wanted to be a filmmaker myself so I had to make a decision, whether I would go to film school or stay in Los Angeles and continue on as a working actor.  I obviously, stayed on as an actor and used each project as my ďhands onĒ training.  What better way to learn but by being there, up close, and asking a zillion questions.  Itís the kind of film school one could never get in a classroom.   

HUM90: Whoís your biggest inspiration?
PG: As an actress, Geraldine Paige.
 

 

HUM90: You are a Ďpoker aceí and often play tournaments for HollywoodPoker.com.
How did you become such an ace card player?
Who taught you?

PG: I am and always have been an avid poker player.  My father played poker with the guys every Saturday night and I was the Ďwaitressí I got a lot of tips just watching them and knowing what each player had in the hands.  I have always been a card game lover, all my life.  I find it funny now, that poker has become the national opiate.

HUM90: How did you become involved with Hollywoodpoker.com?
PG: A friend of mine simply sent an e-mail to them suggestion that they bring me on as one of their Ďcelebritiesí and they did.  It is a terrific site and I endorse them fully.  There is a Ďcommunityí there and the regulars are just great people.  Plus Iíve been playing with many of my peers, which is such fun!  I love chatting during a game and being really sarcastic to them, all in good fun mind you! 

HUM90: How often do you take part in tournaments?
PG: At least a couple of times a week.  Iím guilty of becoming an on-line poker addict.

 
HUM90: What style of poker is your preferred game? Texas Holdíem?
PG: I love Texas Holdíem and itís the most popular but I really love playing 5 and 7-card stud as well.

HUM90: There are many celebrities who take part in the tournaments, which celebrities do you think are good?
PG: Of those that play at hollywoodpoker.com is Timothy Busfield, Mimi Rogers, Andrew Hill Newman, Ronny Cox, etc.
Vince Van Patten and Pamela Gidley                                                 Josh Malina, Pamela Gidley, Joey.Knish and Kane Hodder

 
HUM90: Who are you friends with on the Poker circuit?
PG: Well, Doyle Brunson is my poker Godfather.  I adore that man!  Chris Ferguson is a terrific guy!  Iíve been fortunate to meet most of the poker greats and have spent some really fun time hanging out with them!  Please correct the spelling!  I am a terrible speller.

HUM90: Without revealing any of your poker secrets any top tips?
PG: Yes.  One thing that so many people do not think about is; itís not about loosing your chips as much as it is about keeping the ones you have.  Change your style, always, and as often as possible.

HUM90: You have a thriving Jewellery Business, How long have you been designing your own range of jewellery?
Whatís your favourite piece from your range?
PG: Wow, you sure have done your homework!  Iím impressed!  The jewellery idea came from my business partner, Joe Cayuela.  We have a production company that puts on poker tournaments for a variety of casinos.  We may simply put on the tournament or film it as well.  He is a jeweller by trade and after talking about it for sometime we decided to go for it.  My mother was a gemmologist and used to be in the estate jewellery business while I was growing up so I have quite the collection of fine jewellery.  Like clothing, I am a sucker of jewellery so what better reason than that to have a line myself.  Gidleysglitter.com is still in its infant stage.  Itís less than a year old now.  The manufacturer we are in business with just recently offered me to design my very own line of jewellery!  We are very excited about this venture.  Itís a Ďonce in a lifetimeí opportunity for us!  So, by this time next year, we hope to be presenting it to the public.  Hereís my shameless plug!  gidleysglitter.com !!!!!

 

HUM90: What does your range offer people thatís different to others?
PG: Quality.  Quality.  Quality.  Thatís what really matters.

HUM90: Youíre successful in acting, writing, directing, poker, and jewellery designing.
PG: Thatís very sweet of you to say.  I donít feel as though Iíve accomplished THAT much!

HUM90: Whatís your next challenge? An album of show tunes? Power boat racing? Rock Climbing?
Whatís next on the horizon?

PG: Next obsession, car racing!  I love formula 1 racing!   
Iíve been a race fan since I was a kid.  I guess that can happen with 4 older brothers and no sisters.  Formula 1 is the grand daddy of them all so, naturally, Iíll have to start very small!  But thatís okay, Iím willing!  Iím always in search for that script to make my first feature with.  Iíve made 2 shorts thus far and co-directed & produced 1 feature.  Itís time to make my own.  I am not a writer though and that is the big hurdle.  Itís difficult to get your hands on a really good script, for free! 

HUM90:How do you unwind & relax?
PG: Playing poker!  Iím a television junky as well.  I love watching documentaries!  Very now and then I get the cooking bug and that is quite relaxing for me.  Hard to find sometimes but a great new book is such a welcomed delight.

HUM90:Pamela , Thank you for answering these questions for the website, Iím truly honoured.  Craig

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