The Big JAG!
First appeared in FHM, May 2000. By Suzan Ryan. Please note that there were about 8 pages of some very sexy photo's, I made the decision to only show one!
to see a larger picture, just click on the photo!
She's saucy, seductive, and loves a man in uniform: Meet Catherine Bell.
You've met a few real JAG lawyers - is your role a realistic representation of what they get up to?
They say it's realistic, but that they wouldn't do 90% of the stuff we do. They spend most of their time in court and not hanging from the bottom of helicopters, ha ha; but they do say we put forward a very realistic portrayal other than that.
Have you ever gone up in an F-14 Tomcat?
Not a Tomcat, but I did go up in a F-16 Thunderbird. I got up to nine Gs'! I got a pin for that, and the pilot was nice enough to slow it down a bit for me, ha ha. He also let me do a few loops and rolls. It's like playing an arcade fame, you use a joystick. I couldn't see if I was up or down, but he guided me. It was incredible.
You're on record saying that you "don't have a personal life anymore." What hours do you work?
I always say that, but it's true. We usually work 14-hour days, and sometimes 16 to 18 days, which doesn't leave much time for anything else - most Sundays are spent recovering. Sometimes you work all the way through to 5am, then get a few hours and you're back on set again. When I do get time, I like to hike and I take lots of vitamins and powders to keep healthy. I try to discipline myself to spend 15 minutes working out each day as a minimum.
What were you doing when you found out you'd got the role of "Mac" MacKenzie in JAG?
That's a funny story. My husband and I were sitting at our dining room table looking at a stack of bills trying to work out a way we could pay them. We'd already borrowed money and I was thinking we'd have to borrow more. I'd been working two jobs and my husband had taken on another while I did acting classes. I got the call and my agent said, "You're not supposed to know this yet, but you've got the part..." I started crying and we went out and brought the cheapest bottle of champagne we could fine.
How did you get into acting?
I started when I was in college because I was shy and thought it would be a good way to break out of that. So I did a bit of acting and thought "that's scary, I'm gonna have to do it again." I'm a firm believer in doing things that scare you. I love to go bungee jumping, jump out of planes, ride motorbikes, do kickboxing. I love all that stuff.
You were also a "body double" for Isabella Rossellini (in Death Becomes her). What was that like?
It was strange, because I was showing my butt all day and all these guys (on the set) were hitting on me. It was like, "you're showing your butt on camera, why don't you show me?", and they were so sleazy and gross.... Actually, I met my husband on that film. He was assistant to the director, Robert Zemeckis, and the only guy who didn't treat me like a 'thing'. I was gone as soon as I spoke to him.
Do director's think they can get away with more with a body double than they can with the "star"?
Well, I don't have that experience but I know what you mean, there's meaningless shower scenes written in to scripts to show off someone's breasts.... I had to wear a bikini for the JAG episode we filmed in Australia, but that was okay because it was fun, and practically straight after I was approached by Playboy. I didn't do it because I didn't want my uncles going, "I know what your nipples look like," every time I saw them. But I did ask how much, and it was an incredible sum of money. It was kind of flattering but the shots I did for FHM were without doubt the sexist I have done and, I think, far sexier than anything Playboy could do. I was like "are these photo's of me?!"
How long were you in Australia for?
Only two weeks. Didn't get to see much except for the Opera House, Luna Park, and the Harbour Bridge - basically wherever we were shooting.
No time for sweeping plains and rugged mountain ranges, then?
Well, I did get to go out to the Blue Mountains with some friends, but it was so foggy while we were driving around there that they were pointing out into the mist and going, "Well if we could see, this is where the so and so is." I ended up looking at all the things I couldn't see on the drive on postcards. It was pretty funny.
First appeared 17th April, 2000