updated 6/23/2004 10:48:01 AM ET 2004-06-23T14:48:01

Guests: Daphne Barak, James Garner

ANNOUNCER:  DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.

DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST:  A private conversation.  How did a young woman from a small town in West Virginia end up the focus of a war-time crisis and the Pentagon‘s worst nightmare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PFC. LYNNDIE ENGLAND, ACCUSED OF PRISONER ABUSE:  I don‘t know.  I‘ve been asking that since it all started.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  She‘s the woman seen in this photo at Abu Ghraib—and this one and this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ENGLAND:  Whatever they think about it, we could care less.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Tonight, Private Lynndie England tells her side of the story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ENGLAND:  I just want to go home, get it over with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Plus, the life of a Hollywood maverick.  In a town where desperate actors will do anything for work, this no-nonsense straight-shooter has never been afraid to buck the system.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES GARNER, ACTOR:  If you think I‘d have anything to do with that...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  So how did a Depression-era high school drop-out from dusty Oklahoma become so hot?  Tonight, Hollywood veteran James Garner recalls his great escape from TV cowboy to big screen star.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARNER:  Do you know what that is?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  And why, at the age of 76, James Garner has found himself a whole new younger audience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARNER:  Why the hell not?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

               

NORVILLE:  Tonight we dig into the Garner files.

ANNOUNCER:  From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.

NORVILLE:  And good evening, everybody.  Tonight I‘m joined by the woman who obtained the first extended sit-down interview with one of the soldiers accused in the Iraqi abuse scandal, Private First Class Lynndie England.  It was this photo and this one that among all of the horrid images from the Iraqi prison that specifically singled out Private England.  A military court hearing to determine whether PFC England will be tried was supposed to be held today, but it was put off until next month.

Joining me now is Daphne Barak.  She refers to herself as an international interviewer, and she sat down for an exclusive interview with Lynndie England just a few days ago.  Nice to see you.

DAPHNE BARAK, INTERNATIONAL INTERVIEWER:  Thank you.

NORVILLE:  Has it sunk in for her just how much trouble she‘s in?

BARAK:  Oh, definitely.  She‘s very realistic.  I was very surprised. 

I thought I would meet a very naive girl who was sort of just following orders, as she said, quote, unquote.  But no.  She is actually saying in the interview that from January—she called her mom in January.  She said, Mom, you‘re going to hear a lot of bad things, and don‘t believe that.  And then the conversation was cut off, and the mom was going ballistic.  And she said from January, she understood it was going to be very bad for her and she‘s going to pay the price.  Those were her words.  And then she said something happening—she tried to fight it and—because she doesn‘t think she could go to jail.  And then in April, something happened, and she did not say what it is.  What I understand from her mother is that her aunt died, and basically, her aunt sort of raised them.  She was like a second mom.  And the Army refused to let her go to the funeral.  And basically, she gave up and she...

NORVILLE:  That was the catalyst for her.

BARAK:  Yes.  And she said, I cannot fight it anymore.  I understand I cannot fight it.

NORVILLE:  You asked her about the kind of feedback she‘s getting, now that she‘s back here.  She‘s down at Fort Bragg.  And it was rather interesting, her take on the support mail that she‘s getting.  Here‘s Lynndie England.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ENGLAND:  There‘s just a lot of people out there who support me and love me.

BARAK:  What do they say?  What do they say?  Give one example.

ENGLAND:  They just—they think I‘m great, and I‘m the heroine of Baghdad and...

BARAK:  You‘re the heroine of Baghdad?

ENGLAND:  Apparently.

BARAK:  Do you feel that way?

ENGLAND:  Not really.

BARAK:  What do you feel?

ENGLAND:  I just want to go home, get it over with.  Everybody else go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Does she really think she‘s going to go home at the end of this trial?

BARAK:  No because she‘s five-and-a-half months pregnant.  And actually, there‘s a big question about the baby and that‘s an indication of what she really thinks.  I asked her mother, I asked the sister, Jessica, because we interviewed everybody, and her, What will happen to the baby?  And they all agreed that the mother is going home with the baby.  She‘s staying with Lynndie until she—until the delivery, and she‘s taking the baby home.  That means that they all understand that she‘s not coming home.

NORVILLE:  That‘s she‘s not going to be going home with that baby.  She also was very much aware of the scorn with which she‘s been met since these pictures came out.  And she had, I thought, a really interesting reaction to that.  Here‘s a clip from the interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ENGLAND:  I read it and I laugh because people—they don‘t know what they‘re writing.  It makes me laugh because they write lies.  And it‘s funny because it‘s, like, Well, how‘d they turn that around?  How‘d they come up with that?  You know, it‘s just funny, the way they turn things around and then make up whatever they want.  It makes me laugh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  That‘s an astonishing reaction to me—It makes me laugh.  I mean, we can put the photos up, and you see her pointing to the genitals of a naked man.  That makes her laugh, that people are writing that this is an outrageous act from an American soldier?  Does she not get it?

BARAK:  Well, I think the problem is that when I sat with Lynndie—and I sat with her twice and also for private two lunches last week—you really feel sorry for her.  You really feel that she‘s—you know, there were probably higher ranks, as she said, who told her what to do.  And still I have the question, Should you follow orders or not?  I mean, you should not just follow orders.  And she actually agreed with me toward the end of the interview, which was not aired on NBC, that, Maybe I should not have followed orders, and maybe I would advise others not to.

But at the end of the day, when you look at the photos and you see she‘s smiling, it‘s very difficult.  And the mother was much more up front.  She said, I can‘t really deal with this.  I can‘t deal with this.  And actually, the mother said, I understand there are other photos which I did not see, and they‘re even worse.  And I‘m scared to even know about it.

NORVILLE:  Does she—does she get what people are talking about?  Does she understand how these photos have so upset not only Americans, but people in Iraq and elsewhere around the world?  Does the impact of her alleged actions and the other actions of the soldiers involved really come home?

BARAK:  I didn‘t have this feeling because that‘s why it was so important for me to sit down with the family, as well.  And it was quite difficult and quite a tough production, because I asked the sister, the mother, her and the brother, If instead of me here was an Iraqi prisoner sitting down, what would you tell him?  The only one who apologized was the mother.  She said, I guess I would have apologized.  She was very, very—the mother was heart-breaking.

NORVILLE:  Did Lynndie not apologize?

BARAK:  No.

NORVILLE:  Did she not say, I‘m sorry for what...

BARAK:  No.  No.

NORVILLE:  ... I did?

BARAK:  No.  I mean, she didn‘t want to comment on that because her attorney was in the room.  But I didn‘t see an apology.  And the sister said, It will be very interesting to know more.  I want to know more details.  I would like to ask him what happened.  Apology?  No way.  And the brother said, I don‘t think I would like to meet with him.

NORVILLE:  You also mentioned the baby.  She‘s nearly six months pregnant.  And you asked her about the baby and what her expectations for the future were.  And it‘s kind of interesting to see her predictions from her own mouth.  Lynndie England.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARAK:  Well, you told me that the most important thing in life right now is to make sure that the baby is fine, right?

ENGLAND:  Right.

BARAK:  What did you mean by that?

ENGLAND:  Make sure he gets here all right and make sure he doesn‘t come early, he‘s healthy.

BARAK:  You‘re scared he‘s come—it will come early because of the stress of the trial?

ENGLAND:  Uh-huh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Who‘s the father?

BARAK:  The father is Charles Graner.  He actually—his trial started yesterday in Iraq.  And it was very funny.  The first interview on Monday, Lynndie talked about him a bit.  And she said on camera that, you know, they‘re talking every few days and talking about the baby and stuff like that.  Then I was really, really instructed by the attorney on the second interview not to mention it because, apparently, she was not officially divorced when she started the relationship with him.  And according to the Army, it‘s a problem.

NORVILLE:  So she faces potential charges, fraternization, conduct unbecoming, something that has to do with the sexual relationship she had with this man.  Now, she refers to him as her boyfriend.  She acknowledges that he‘s the father of her child.  Does she hope for a life with him in the future?

BARAK:  Well, the funny thing, the family is very, very unfavorable about him.  The mother says in the interview almost that if it wasn‘t for him, she doesn‘t think Lynndie would be in this mess.

NORVILLE:  He‘s alleged to be the man who took many of the photos, obviously not this one here, in which they‘re pictured together, but some of those other photos, where she‘s—she‘s up close and personal with some of these naked prisoners.

BARAK:  Well, the mother actually said in the interview on camera that they were supposed to get married and she really put her foot down and she prevented this marriage.  And it‘s very, very interesting that I asked, you know, What happen if they—you want to take the baby, but what happen if the parents of the father want to take the baby—you know, it takes two to tango—and the father said, No way.  He‘s going with us.  They can have visitation.  The sister says, No way.  The attorney, Roy Hardy (ph), the family‘s attorney, says, Well, who says he‘s the father?  I want to do some tests.

NORVILLE:  The question of what happens with the baby is just one of them.  Another question is what happens to Lynndie England?  She doesn‘t think she should be going to jail.  Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ENGLAND:  First, though, let‘s not get the wrong impression that I think that I‘m not the only one that shouldn‘t go to jail.  I think that none of the seven of us should.

BARAK:  So basically, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that the seven are just seven scapegoats, not only you.

ENGLAND:  Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  So who does she think should be punished?  If there is someone at fault, who is it, in Lynndie England‘s opinion?

BARAK:  Well, I‘ll tell you, I was surprised.  I thought she would say one of the other seven or two of the other seven, so I was really surprised.  She thinks higher-ups.  Actually, she said higher ranks should go to jail, not she, but...

NORVILLE:  Did she name names?

BARAK:  No.  Of course, there was an attorney in the room.  But when we walked afterwards and we talked on camera, she did actually acknowledge -- she actually said that her biggest mistake was not a few months ago but five years ago, when she went into the Army.  And she said she would advise strongly to people to think twice, quote, unquote, before they go into the Army.  And I said, And what about following orders, Lynndie?  Would you think twice about that?  And she said—this is the only time she‘s almost showing remorse—and she said, Yes, I think you should think twice.

NORVILLE:  Well, there are tens and thousands of people who serve honorably in the military and haven‘t had the experiences this woman‘s had.  You talk about the lawyers.  How much were they hovering over the two of you?  Because she does face some serious criminal charges.  And before you answer that, maybe we‘ll have a sense just looking at this one interchange, when the lawyers decided that this was an area they didn‘t want questioning to go to.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARAK:  So (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you knew it was going to change.

ENGLAND:  Something like that.

BARAK:  And that‘s when you called your mom and said, Look, we might have some problems and...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s...

BARAK:  Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re getting into that area, that gray area.

BARAK:  OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Let‘s get back into the...

BARAK:  You‘re good.  I should hire you!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Let‘s get back into the white area.

BARAK:  OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  What was the white area, where you were allowed to discuss?

BARAK:  Well, I think they were just really scared of the specific allegations.  And don‘t forget, she‘s going to trial.  But you know, I mean, there was, like, for example, one question which I felt was very legit, and they stopped me.  I—and it‘s on tape.  I said, Look, you might go for jail, and how would you like the guards to treat you, like you treated other people?  And I thought it was very legit.  And he said, Oh, Daphne, come on!  And like—I mean, I was really—and I had to say all the time, OK.  I‘m not going to ask that and just ask from here and not from there.  I mean, it was really a restricted interview.

NORVILLE:  You mentioned that her mother was really the only person in the family, of the various members that you spoke to, who apologized.  But she also had some things to say about some of those special moments with her daughter.  Here‘s part of that interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRIE ENGLAND, LYNNDIE ENGLAND‘S MOTHER:  A special moment would have been the day I went with her to the doctor and seeing the sonogram and seeing the baby.  That was a glorious moment.  That was very special.  I guess a down moment is watching her be sad, but yet she—she will not show emotion.  I mean, she hasn‘t broke down, but you can see it in her eyes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Mrs.  England has been beside her daughter.  She‘s actually living with her at Fort Bragg.  That‘s against Army rules, isn‘t it?

BARAK:  Yes, but basically, she said—by the way, I liked Terrie England.  I mean, I think you and I and everybody would understand whatever her daughter did, just imagine you are waking up one morning and you see your daughter in these kind of photos.  And she‘s very honest about it.  She‘s shocked.  She‘s emotional.  And yes, she (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she said, Look, I told them I‘m coming.  My daughter is pregnant.  I have to be with her, and take it or leave it.  And they‘re sort of, like, closing half an eye.

NORVILLE:  I was interested in looking at some of the publicity materials about this particular interview, that among the other people who were part of this whole thing was the Englands‘ literary agent.  They‘re looking to sell their story?

BARAK:  Yes, I guess so.  I mean, why do you have a literary agent? 

You know, yes, I guess so.

NORVILLE:  What do you think...

BARAK:  I mean, basically, she doesn‘t have money.  She‘s coming from a very poor background.  She actually went into the Army in order to save for university study.  She wanted to be a meteorologist.  So they attorneys are pro bono.  There are too many chefs in the kitchen.  And they don‘t have money, so...

NORVILLE:  And finally, do you think she‘s sorry, even though she didn‘t say it to you?  Is she unable to say I‘m sorry, or she feel no regret or remorse?

BARAK:  The problem is, unlike the mother, who is extremely emotional, Lynndie‘s not emotional.  I went with her two times for lunch.  This is off camera.  I would never quote what she told me.  But the only thing I‘m quoting, what I told her.  And I said, Lynndie, give me a better interview the second time.  You need to be emotional.  It‘s your (UNINTELLIGIBLE) It‘s your chance.  She said, I never cry.  I‘m not emotional.  I‘m not—I can‘t do that.  I‘m not capable to be emotional.

NORVILLE:  The stoic soldier.  Daphne Barak, it‘s a fascinating interview.  Thanks for coming on tell us a little bit about it.

BARAK:  Thank you.

ANNOUNCER:  Up next: From TV maverick to big-screen leading man. 

James Garner‘s got one of the most impressive files in Hollywood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARNER:  I‘m not so old I can‘t kick your butt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  And he‘s always done it his way.  James Garner reveals the secret of his success when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  That may be one of television‘s most memorable songs, the theme song from “The Rockford Files.”  And my next guest, James Garner, starred in that series for seven years, playing private detective Jim Rockford.  “TV Guide” cited Rockford as television‘s greatest detective of all time.

But Jim Garner‘s played plenty of other roles in his 50-year career.  He has starred in eight television series, starting with “Maverick” in the late ‘50s, to his most recent television role on “Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.”  He joined the cast at a very difficult time, after the death last year of the show‘s star, John Ritter.  James Garner has also appeared in more than 50 movies, including the 1985 film “Murphy‘s Romance,” for which he received an Academy Award nomination.  And his latest movie, “The Notebook,” opens on Friday, based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks.  Garner plays opposite veteran actress Gena Rowlands.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENA ROWLANDS:  It is a beautiful story.

GARNER:  Yes, it is.

ROWLANDS:  I don‘t know why, but it makes you feel sad.

GARNER:  I know you feel lost right now, but don‘t worry.  Nothing is ever lost or can be lost.  The body is sluggish, aged, cold, the embers left from earlier fires (UNINTELLIGIBLE) flame again.

ROWLANDS:  Did you write that?

GARNER:  No.  That was Walt Whitman.

ROWLANDS:  I think I knew him.

GARNER:  I think you did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Such an incredible performance.  And I‘m joined by actor James Garner.  You just saw the movie on the big screen last night.

GARNER:  Yes.  I had seen it about 10 days ago at home on a small screen, but I wanted to see it at the premier last night in LA on the big screen.  And it really helps it.  It really helps it to see it on a large screen.  There‘s some beautiful, beautiful shots in there that you don‘t really get the effect of on a small screen.

NORVILLE:  It is an incredible love story.  And the book was on the best-seller list for many, many weeks.  I think...

GARNER:  Fifty-one weeks.

NORVILLE:  I gather you had not read the book by the time they came to you for the movie.

GARNER:  No, I hadn‘t read it, still haven‘t.  I plan to in the very near future, but I want to kind of get separated from it.  And there‘s a little difference in it, I understand.  But I don‘t like to read a book and then do the movie or whatever and say, Hey, hey, there was something great right here.  Why did you take it out, you know?  And I like to read the script and do the script.

NORVILLE:  And the script is the story of a couple...

GARNER:  A couple.

NORVILLE:  Noah (ph) and Allie (ph).  Tell us the story.

GARNER:  Well, they meet in their teens.  And they fall madly in love with each other, and then World War II comes along and they got separated.  And so he lost her to—she was going to marry...

NORVILLE:  Another man.

GARNER:  ... another man.  Anyway, it‘s love found, love lost, love found,.

NORVILLE:  Which is not an unusual story.  It happens a lot in people‘s live.

GARNER:  I was just talking about a good friend of mine knew this young girl in high school.  And then they went their separate ways, got married a couple of times, I think, both of them.  And finally, at about 40-something, they got back together.  They‘re still married and very happily so.

NORVILLE:  They‘re...

GARNER:  They‘re Stuart Margolan (ph).

NORVILLE:  Oh, really?

GARNER:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  Oh, that‘s a great story.

GARNER:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  And it happens a lot.

GARNER:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  There‘s a scene that I want to show because it sort of sets up the whole story.  And it‘s you and your co-star, but in the earlier time, at the beginning of the romance...

GARNER:  Oh, with Ryan and Rachel?

NORVILLE:  Ryan and Rachel, yes.

GARNER:  Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are so good, you can‘t believe it.  They‘re absolutely fantastic.  I‘d never heard of either one of them.  And they are tremendous actors.

NORVILLE:  And here‘s a sample of just how great they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN GOSLING, ACTOR:  I‘m going to buy it one day, and I‘m going to fix it up.  All it needs is a new floor, and new walls and roof.

RACHEL MCADAMS, ACTOR:  Is that all?

GOSLING:  And plumbing and electric.

MCADAMS:  And furniture.

GOSLING:  Yes, and furniture.  But it‘s right on the water, and there‘s a big old barn up there.  I could turn that into my workshop.

MCADAMS:  Well, what about me?  Now, don‘t I get any say in this?

GOSLING:  You want a say in this?

MCADAMS:  Yes, I would.

GOSLING:  What do you want?

MCADAMS:  I want a white house with blue shutters and a room overlooking the river, so I can paint.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Now, you have to watch the movie to find out if either one of them get it.

GARNER:  She is so good!

NORVILLE:  You say you were at the premier last night, so you got to see the movie with a lot of other people.  I was at a screening.  And when I walked out, it‘s so poignant and so dear and it‘s so about wonderful love that most of us dream about—there was a woman, frankly, in the fetal position with an entire box of Kleenex.  It just touched her so deeply.

GARNER:  It was funny.  Last night, I went to the premier, and on the arm of the seats of the theater, there‘s a place for the cups.

NORVILLE:  Right.

GARNER:  And there was a round can about like that, that big around, which was really a Kleenex dispenser.  And they put it at every seat.

NORVILLE:  And I bet they got used a lot.

GARNER:  Oh, boy.  Did they.  People were going out and asking for more.

(LAUGHTER)

NORVILLE:  I don‘t think it gives away the story to tell that one of the players comes down with Alzheimer‘s, and it just seems so poignant coming after the president‘s death.

GARNER:  As a matter of fact, Gena gets Alzheimer‘s.  And we bring that to the public in this film, which—it needs to be brought out of the dark depths, you know?  Nobody knows anything about Alzheimer‘s.  And this teaches them just a little bit.

NORVILLE:  What did you learn about the disease, just playing this role?

GARNER:  The hopelessness of it, you know?  That‘s why I hope it does something.  In a way, I researched for it because, you know, not only the person that has it, because sometimes they don‘t even know, you know, but the people around them, their loved ones, it just kills them.  It just is so devastating.

NORVILLE:  It‘s so devastating.  And your character is so incredibly devoted to his wife, played by Gena Rowlands.  Did you and your own wife, who‘ve been married now for 48 years, in the course of this talk about the, Gee, what if, honey?

GARNER:  Yes.  Yes.  Because of this film, she says, Don‘t you dare get Alzheimer‘s.  And I said, I won‘t if you won‘t.

NORVILLE:  I won‘t if you won‘t.

GARNER:  Yes.  But—there‘s my wife.

NORVILLE:  Yes.

GARNER:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  You know, you all don‘t get out a lot when the photographer is out there.  It was real hard for to us find that picture of the two of you.

GARNER:  There‘s not many of them around.  She‘s kind of shy about that.  And I think that‘s good.  You know, I try not to get my children out there, and my wife.  That was from last night.

NORVILLE:  See how quick we get those pictures?

GARNER:  I can tell because that‘s what she was wearing.

NORVILLE:  Well, was she excited about the film, to see the reaction to it?

GARNER:  Oh, she loved it.  She really did.  Except she cried a lot, like everybody else.  But she enjoyed the film.  And of course, it‘s always fun to see the reaction of people, especially when it‘s a good reaction.

NORVILLE:  Oh, it‘s a great reaction.  I mean, I know nothing about awards, but I‘d give you all the awards that are out there.  You know, and this all comes at a really cool time in your life because you‘re back on regular television with “Eight Simple Rules.”

GARNER:  Yes.  I did seven, did you say, or eight TV series?

NORVILLE:  They tell me you did eight.

GARNER:  I don‘t think so, but OK.

NORVILLE:  Take credit for it.  You know, in this business, they don‘t give you a lot of credit, so take it when you can.

GARNER:  Yes.  OK.

NORVILLE:  How did “Eight Simple Rules” come to you?

GARNER:  They were all successful, all eight of them.

NORVILLE:  All right.  All right.

GARNER:  Ha ha ha.

(LAUGHTER)

GARNER:  But you know, I love doing television. and I‘m having so much fun doing “Eight Simple Rules.”  I‘ve got Katey ...

NORVILLE:  Sagal?

GARNER:  See, I‘m looking at the film and hearing it in my ear.

NORVILLE:  Yes.

GARNER:  Katey Sagal and Kaley Cuoco and Amy Davidson and young Martin, and that nit...

NORVILLE:  David Spade?

GARNER:  David Spade.  And we just have a great time.

NORVILLE:  Yes.

GARNER:  They‘re so wonderful.  They took me in with open arms.

NORVILLE:  I want to talk about that because you came onto the show at a very difficult time.

I want to take a short break.  When we come back, more with Jim Garner, “Eight Simple Rules.”  His new movie is called “The Notebook,” and there‘s lots to talk about after this.

GARNER:  OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - “EIGHT SIMPLE RULES”)

DAVID SPADE:  All right, scooch.

GARNER:  What do you think you‘re doing?

SPADE:  I‘m going to bed.

GARNER:  Oh, not here, you‘re not!

SPADE:  It‘s OK, Grandpa.  I‘m wearing underpants this time.

GARNER:  Well, I‘m not.

SPADE:  You‘re bluffing.

GARNER:  You sure that‘s a chance you want to take?

SPADE:  You think you can scare me off with a—oh!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MAVERICK”)

GARNER:  I‘m sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Hardigan, but I plan to stay another week. 

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR:  I could have swore you weren‘t the sort to let a man suffer.  Now I‘m liable to do something bad, something against my will.  Won‘t you think it over? 

GARNER:  Thinking things over never hurt anybody, did it? 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

(LAUGHTER)

NORVILLE:  Back with veteran actor James Garner.  And that was a scene with Clint Eastwood, Mr. Hardigan, from television‘s “Maverick,” Jim Garner‘s first leading role in a television series. 

When did that show air? 

GARNER:  Oh, that was about ‘57, something like that, ‘58. 

NORVILLE:  And that was when you first met Clint Eastwood? 

GARNER:  That‘s when I first met Clint.  He was under contract to I think Universal at the time.  And I was over at Warner‘s.  And he came over to do the “Maverick” thing.  And I really liked him.  I said, this guy is good, you know. 

And he was better than I thought he was. 

(LAUGHTER)

GARNER:  He passed me a long time ago. 

NORVILLE:  I don‘t know about that.  You both are still out there. 

GARNER:  I got to work with him.

That film clip came on about five years ago on some show.  And I saw it.  And then I was out at the club a couple days later at Bel Air.  And he was there playing golf.  And I said, Clint, they showed that clip the other day on “Maverick.”  He said, yes, I heard about it.  And I said, you know, we‘ve got to work a little sooner than every 40 years.  And sure enough about, six months later, “Space Cowboys” came up and he remembered that conversation.  I got the job. 

NORVILLE:  I want to ask you about this scene from “Space Cowboys.” 

One of those naked butts is yours. 

GARNER:  Yes.  That good looking one on the right over there. 

NORVILLE:  How did he get you...

GARNER:  It‘s just a good thing they didn‘t do the front, because, you know, I would be famous.  

(LAUGHTER)

GARNER:  Did I hear you laugh? 

NORVILLE:  It wasn‘t me.  It was them. 

GARNER:  You know what he did?  He came to me and said, the other guys are going to do it.  And I said, well, if they‘re going to do it, I am going to do it.  Then he went to the other guys and said, hey, everybody else is going to do it.  And he told everybody the same story.  So we all said, well, if they‘re going to, yes.  And he got us to do it. 

NORVILLE:  And that‘s how it was done. 

GARNER:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  Absolute treachery and lies. 

GARNER:  Yes, well, I still had the best looking butt. 

NORVILLE:  Yes, but we had to digitize it for the people at home. 

GARNER:  Yes.  And thank you. 

NORVILLE:  There it is, one more look.  And we‘re going to leave the digitizing up there. 

How different is television now than it was in the old “Maverick” days? 

GARNER:  Well, it‘s much more busy today. 

There‘s more people.  There‘s more crap.  You‘ve got so many people.  We used to do with it a smaller crew.  We didn‘t have cell phones and all that all over.  A guy would yell at somebody to get what he wanted.  But, you know, we did it just as fast and just as well as we have they did. 

NORVILLE:  Yes.  And now there‘s so much more to it.  There‘s also more pressure, isn‘t there? 

GARNER:  Well, the big thing—one of the big things is, the cameras are much better today.  Those big old Mitchell cameras we had were hard to move around and whatever. 

NORVILLE:  Right. 

GARNER:  But I‘m sorry.  What was your question? 

NORVILLE:  Well, no, I‘m also curious.  You came on to “Eight Simple Rules” at the worst time for the people on the show.  They just lost John Ritter.  And I‘m sure the network wasn‘t sure really what they were going to do. 

GARNER:  No, they didn‘t know.  And they were taking a flyer. 

They loved the show so much, they wanted to keep it going.  But they had to think about how to do it.  And you really have to give those writers credit.  The segue from the funeral to the end of the season was really wonderful.  That was very creative writing. 

NORVILLE:  How tenderly did you feel you needed to walk when you came on the set? 

GARNER:  Very tenderly.  John was so well loved. 

I mean, everybody—you know, somebody would go pick up—oh, God, this—John had this cup and they would all start crying. 

NORVILLE:  Oh, lord.

GARNER:  But they welcomed me with open arms.  They were very sweet about it.  And, well, they‘re a group of loving people. 

NORVILLE:  Well, in a sense, it was kind of a no-lose for you.  If the show didn‘t continue, they could hardly blame you. 

GARNER:  Yes, they could, too. 

NORVILLE:  And, if it keeps going, you‘re the hero.  You helped them stay alive. 

GARNER:  Yes, well, it could have been a big flop and I would have taken—he couldn‘t do anything for it, you know.  And I would become a loser real quick. 

But it was a challenge to me to do that.  And, frankly—no, I shouldn‘t say that.  But not a lot of people could have gotten away with it and I don‘t know how I did, but.... 

NORVILLE:  Do you think it‘s the residual goodwill that you bring into the role from all the other work you‘ve done? 

GARNER:  I think it‘s my history in television.  I think it‘s a history in television, that I have a bit of an audience out there.  And that helped it a lot. 

NORVILLE:  “The Rockford Files” was such a fun show.  And it‘s still a huge hit out there in, I don‘t know if it‘s TV Land or Nick at Nite or wherever.  It‘s got a ton of viewers watching it still.

GARNER:  I hope so.  I hope so.  I want to keep getting those profits. 

(LAUGHTER)

NORVILLE:  Do you still get little checks from them? 

GARNER:  Little checks?

NORVILLE:  Nice big fat ones? 

GARNER:  I own 38 percent of the profits.  So I get one every now and then. 

NORVILLE:  Good for you.

GARNER:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  How did you get so smart about the business to negotiate a deal like that? 

GARNER:  Oh, I never got smart about the business.  I just got stubborn about it.  I‘ve sued two studios.  Well, not true.  I sued one.  I sued Warner Brothers and Universal sued me and I countersued. 

NORVILLE:  Now, the Universal one was directly related to “Rockford.”

GARNER:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  You had sustained some injuries I guess jumping off of cars or... 

GARNER:  I got sick as a dog.  I mean, everything was falling apart, where I couldn‘t walk, couldn‘t talk.  I was sick, stomach, back, feet, everything.  And I went to Scripps in California. 

NORVILLE:  The hospital. 

GARNER:  Down near San Diego at the hospital.  And they did a two-day or three-day workup of me and said, you have got to quit working.  You have got to take some time off. 

NORVILLE:  Wow.

GARNER:  So I picked up the phone and called them and I said, I have got to quit working.  I‘ve got to take some time off.  They said, well, how long will you be?  I said, until I get better.  And they sued me. 

NORVILLE:  And you ended up settling. 

GARNER:  And I countersued them.  And I‘ve always wished I would have gone to court.  But we settled on the courthouse steps because they didn‘t dare go to court. 

NORVILLE:  How risky was that for you personally?  Because, you know, they say Hollywood is one of those places, if you want a friend, get a dog.  You show that you‘ve got any backbone, they‘ll get rid of you. 

(CROSSTALK)

GARNER:  You‘re right. 

I could have lost $2.5 million in law fees if we had stayed on and I had lost it.  But that didn‘t bother me.  I knew I was right.  And I am just—it‘s my Oklahoma upbringing. 

NORVILLE:  Well, we‘re going to get into that in a moment. 

GARNER:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  James Garner is a man of principle and a man of stubbornness.  You‘ll find out where that comes from right after this.

ANNOUNCER:  Up next, straight-shooting James Garner speaks his mind on the state of showbiz and why he yearns to be back in the saddle again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARNER:  Games like this, you don‘t stand a chance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT is coming right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  From “The Rockford Files” to his new movie, “The Notebook,” how has Hollywood legend James Garner stayed at the top of his game?  Find out after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY”)

JULIE ANDREWS, ACTRESS:  I‘m going to slap your face, Charlie.

GARNER:  Go ahead.  I won‘t hit you back.  I‘m a coward.  On the other hand, I‘m selfish.  I don‘t easily give up what‘s mine.  You‘re mine, Emily, and I‘m not going to let you go.  All you have to say is, I don‘t love you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Back now with veteran actor James Garner. 

That was a scene from what he says is his favorite movie that he has ever been in called “The Americanization of Emily.”

You love Julie Andrews. 

GARNER:  Oh, she‘s my baby.  I love her to death.  Yes, that‘s my favorite picture.  It‘s also her favorite picture, and Arthur Hiller, the director. 

NORVILLE:  How come? 

GARNER:  I think the content of it, and Arthur presented it well. 

And, of course, as I say, Julie, I love her.  And she was so good in this. 

And, at that time, she was known only as a nanny. 

NORVILLE:  She was Ms. Mary Poppins at that time, yes.

GARNER:  Yes, she was Mary Poppins and she sang and all those things. 

Then they found out in this she could act. 

NORVILLE:  And this was really an anti-war film. 

GARNER:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  Which was kind of a radical thing for you to go jump into. 

GARNER:  Well, in the middle of the ‘60s, with Vietnam, you bet. 

NORVILLE:  Yes. 

GARNER:  It was a little difficult.

NORVILLE:  And that was right when you were kind of exploding like a Fourth of July fireworks in the movie business.  You had done it in TV. 

GARNER:  I was? 

NORVILLE:  Yes.  This was ‘64, I think.  And you had done...

GARNER:  Sixty-three, yes.. 

NORVILLE:  Sixty-three.

You had done the movie where you subbed for Rock Hudson with Doris Day. 

GARNER:  I don‘t know any of that. 

NORVILLE:  Well, you did. 

GARNER:  But, anyway, I did it with Doris.

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  And you were sort of—you were the Hollywood it boy. 

They loved you. 

GARNER:  I remember once somebody told me during that time, said, Jim, if you‘ll just do a little more publicity, you could be No. 1 in the box office.  You‘ve got all these good films.  I said, why would I want to be No. 1 in the box office? 

Because, once you‘re there, you can only go down.  Well, I don‘t want to go down.  I don‘t want to hang in there about seven or eight and watch them go up and down like an elevator.  I said, I just want to be around a long time. 

NORVILLE:  And, boy, you‘ve done it.  How? 

GARNER:  Probably choice of material. 

We were talking earlier.  I talked to Nick Cassavetes last night.  And he said, are you proud of your performance?  Are you happy with it?  And I said, Nick, I look at it and I say, OK, I didn‘t embarrass myself, so I‘m pleased with it.  And I don‘t think I embarrassed myself in this film. 

NORVILLE:  There‘s one scene which is just so incredibly gripping. 

And if I even talk about it, I‘ll start crying.  It‘s a great movie. 

(CROSSTALK)

GARNER:  No, don‘t do that.  Don‘t do that.

NORVILLE:  I‘m not going to cry, because I‘m not going to talk about it.

(CROSSTALK)

GARNER:  Promise? 

NORVILLE:  Promise.  I did that already when I saw the movie. 

GARNER:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  Where does your drive come from?  I know you lost your mom when you were a really little boy growing up in Oklahoma.

GARNER:  Yes, I was 4.  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  That must have changed you in some way. 

GARNER:  Well, I‘m sure it did, because I don‘t know what I was at 4 years old.  But I think it gave me just a little bit of backoffishness when it came to women, because my mom left me, you know? 

It didn‘t hang on long.  But I think it made me a little leery of relationships and that sort of thing.  And I‘ve always been kind of a loner.  And I enjoy it. 

NORVILLE:  Is that the Oklahoma part, that loner thing, the cowboy

(CROSSTALK)  

GARNER:  It could be.  It could be.  There‘s an ethic back there that‘s different than most places that I know.  You‘re a man of your word and your word is your bond, all that.  And you treat women with great respect and—but I just wouldn‘t commit until I met my wife. 

NORVILLE:  But then and you Lois met and you got married in less than a month? 

GARNER:  Yes.  I was—yes.  I was 27 or 28.  Yes, half a month, 14 days.  I met her at a rally for Adlai Stevenson and took her out to dinner.  And we went out every night for about 13 nights.  And the 14th night, we got married. 

NORVILLE:  So you believe in love at first sight. 

GARNER:  I believe in love at first sight.  And I believe love endures. 

NORVILLE:  And do you believe in soul mates? 

GARNER:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  You found one. 

GARNER:  Yes, I did.

NORVILLE:  We‘ll take a short break.  Back more with Jim Garner in a moment. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE ROCKFORD FILES”)

GARNER:  Did it ever occur to you I just might go tapioca and throw you out of one of the windows? 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  You‘ve got your full complete share of mouth, don‘t you?

GARNER:  Right.  I haven‘t done anything wrong.  You can‘t hold me. 

So book me or let me go. 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  You walk out of here, you‘re going to be dead before morning. 

GARNER:  That‘s my problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  Back now with actor James Garner, whose new movie, “The Notebook,” opens nationwide on Friday.  It‘s an incredible love story. 

You were saying in the last segment that you grew up in a place where your word was your bond and there was sort of an honor to a man and the way he conducted himself. 

GARNER:  Absolutely, absolutely.  And then I went to California. 

NORVILLE:  Yes. 

GARNER:  Where all that was thrown out the window.  You deal with executives and that sort of thing at studios and networks and whatever, and they would rather screw you than make a good deal.  They really would.  They feel like they are earning their money if we really stuck it to him. 

NORVILLE:  If I can twist him a little bit. 

GARNER:  Yes.  We could make more money, probably, if we did it in a nice way.  But they don‘t do it.

NORVILLE:  So how have you managed to stay afloat? 

GARNER:  I don‘t get close to them. 

NORVILLE:  You keep an arm‘s length?

GARNER:  Yes, I keep arm‘s length. 

And somebody said, oh, so and so at such network, he was talking.  I said, who is that?  I don‘t even know who they are.  I don‘t know who runs the networks.  I don‘t know who runs the studios, and I don‘t care. 

NORVILLE:  Because they know who you are and that‘s all that matters. 

GARNER:  If they want me, they can call. 

NORVILLE:  Is there a role that you haven‘t played, a type of character that you would like to? 

GARNER:  Not really.  You have to understand, I didn‘t want to be an actor. 

NORVILLE:  What did you want to be? 

GARNER:  Rich. 

NORVILLE:  Well, you are, aren‘t you? 

GARNER:  No, not yet. 

NORVILLE:  Thirty-eight percent of “Rockford,” and you are not rich yet? 

GARNER:  No, no, my wife, she spends 40. 

(LAUGHTER)

GARNER:  No.  Hey, I‘m all right. 

NORVILLE:  You‘re doing OK.  Yes. 

GARNER:  But I never really wanted to be an actor.  I didn‘t want fame.  I didn‘t want to look for fortune.  I was looking for something that I could make a living at. 

NORVILLE:  Yes.  Well, you have not only made a living.  You have made people really happy. 

We gave sort of an announcement to the day and said that you were going to be on, and if people wanted to ask you questions, they could e-mail us. 

GARNER:  Oh, yes?

NORVILLE:  So we have got some questions from some folks. 

Mike Jay Smith wrote in.  He said: “What do you think is the biggest role that you should have gotten?” but I guess you didn‘t.

GARNER:  Oh, there was only one film that I would like to have gotten and now I am kind of glad I didn‘t.  It was a film—it was really kind of very close to “Bridge on the River Kwai.”  I forget what the name of it is.  It was a beautiful script, but the movie didn‘t turn out that well.  And I wish I would have done the movie. 

NORVILLE:  It probably would have been great.

GARNER:  They did it, and an actor got it because he was cheaper than I was.  And but it‘s OK.  I got “Sayonara” for the same reasons.  I was cheaper than the guy that was going to do the part. 

(LAUGHTER)

NORVILLE:  And our next question comes from Alana Robinson from Louisiana.            

She says: “I‘m 18 years old.  I‘ve been a fan of yours ever since I started watching ‘The Rockford Files.‘”  She‘s 18.  She says: “You are a very genuine, real and sexy man.  That‘s why your my favorite actor ever.  If someone else were to play Jim Rockford, who do you think it should be?”

GARNER:  Oh, gosh, I don‘t know.  I don‘t know.  But it has to be somebody that understands that kind of material and kind of dry wit.  But for me to pick somebody, oh, I don‘t think I could do that.  Gosh. 

NORVILLE:  Was it kind of your natural way, anyway?  I mean, you are obviously a very funny man.  You have cracked some good ones while we have been talking. 

GARNER:  Well, the writers understood me.  And I was very fortunate.  I had the best writers in the business.  I had Stephen Cannell, Juanita Bartlett, Steven Bochco, and David Chase, not bad writers. 

NORVILLE:  All of whom have had pretty successful.

GARNER:  They all do well.  Except Juanita.  She retired.

But if you have got good writing and they are looking at me, saying, here‘s what he does best, and they are writing for you, very lucky. 

NORVILLE:  Yes. 

And finally, Judith Wozencraft writes.  And she says: “It‘s not a question for Mr. Garner, but a remark about how wonderful he is.  I always thought he was the most handsome man.  Well, this little old senior citizen still thinks he‘s the most special.”

GARNER:  Well, good.  This senior citizen appreciates it. 

NORVILLE:  Yes.  Yes. 

More movies ahead? 

GARNER:  Well, I hope so.  But right now, I am only looking forward to “Eight Simple Rules.”  We go back to work in, what is it, August, August the 2nd or 9th or something.  And I am looking forward to that. 

NORVILLE:  Yes, as is everybody who watches the show. 

GARNER:  And if a movie comes along, fine. 

NORVILLE:  Well, the one that came along, “The Notebook,” is wonderful.  You and Gena Rowlands are just gripping.  She is such an eloquent woman. 

GARNER:  Thank you.  I am so proud to have been in it. 

NORVILLE:  Well, it‘s a beautiful film and it opens nationwide on Friday. 

GARNER:  OK.

NORVILLE:  Jim, good to see you.  Thanks for being here. 

GARNER:  Hey, Deborah, thank you so much.

NORVILLE:  Appreciate it very much. 

GARNER:  I enjoyed it.

NORVILLE:  When we come back, a controversial one-man show all about Princess Diana.  That‘s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  We love to hear from you, so send us your ideas and comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC.com.  Some of your e-mails are posted on our Web page.  That‘s NORVILLE.MSNBC.com.  And while you are there, you can sign up for our newsletter. 

That‘s our program for tonight.  Thanks so much for watching.  I‘m Deborah Norville.

Coming up tomorrow, Princess Diana‘s former butler Paul Burrell shocked the world with his book that revealed secrets about the late princess and about the British royal family.  Well, guess what?  He is shocking folks again.  This time, it‘s with a one-man stage show all about his life working for Princess Diana.  Is he revealing any new secrets of the royal family in this one and should he even be doing this? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL BURRELL, FORMER BUTLER OF PRINCESS DIANA:  It‘s my chance now to actually interact with the audience, and say, this is me, this is who I am, and I am very proud of who I am. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Tomorrow night, Paul Burrell will be in the studio with me.

That‘s our program for now.  Coming up next, Joe Scarborough with the latest on the al Qaeda kidnappings and Michael Moore‘s film “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” is coming up next.

We‘ll see you tomorrow.

END   

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