It was 1996. Don JohnsonFirst peeled out of his 1970 Barracuda convertible to become the smart-aleck titular character. “Nash Bridges,” the CBS police procedural that brought the “Miami Vice”Six seasons of prime-time television with superstars
The onetime maverick captain of the San Francisco Police Department’s elite Special Investigations Unit is still making the wheels squeal more than 25 years later with “Nash Bridges: The Movie,”Saturday, airing on USA Network at 9 ET/PT
Johnson, 71, had no problems pulling his SIU screen partner, Joe Dominguez (Cheech Marin), out of retirement. He simply gave Marin, 75, a phone call that demonstrated that Johnson can still crack Nash Bridges-wise a quarter century, and a few gray hairs, later.
“I asked Cheech, ‘First of all, are you still alive?’ He answered in the affirmative. I said, ‘Second question, are you ambulatory?’ And he asked the same of me,” says Johnson, having a good ol’ chuckle. “After we finished (messing) with each other for a few minutes, we realized, this is going to be fun.”
Johnson and his wife Kelley Phleger shared a home in Montecito. Johnson kept the conversation going with a video discussion.
Question: If Nash Bridges was a cowboy cop in back in 1996, how much do you rein in his conduct in 2021?
Don JohnsonI brought Nash Bridges to the 21st Century, within the four walls that made up the character. I sort of extrapolated the growth that I’ve experienced spiritually and emotionally. Lo and behold, even wisdom showed up, So Nash may even be meditating now.
Q: One scene featuring a battleaxe, Nash Bridges announces. “This is going to hurt.” As a frequent screen puncher and punchee, what actually did hurt?
Johnson: I’ve learned a few tricks in my old age, like making sure you stretch before you do a fight scene. Amazingly, none of us suffered any injury during all this. I was exercised but not sore or stiff. I’m in good physical shape.
Q: You do look very well – what is your life elixir?
Johnson: I start each day meditating and do something physical every day like hiking or yoga. At the start of the pandemic, I began to do yoga seriously with my wife. It was medieval. Real serious. I chose wisely to do a regular class with girls – and not men – because they will kick your (butt).
Q: Is this two-hour special a backdoor to a full? “Nash Bridges” return?
Johnson:It was likely something we kept in our minds. If everything goes smoothly and we have the right numbers, then yes, it would be great to make more. And I did realize that my creative fertility around these characters, this tone and San Francisco has gotten really good.
Q: In 2017, there was talk of a Vin Diesel-produced return of your classic 1980s “Miami Vice.” Where does that stand?
Johnson: It was meant that we would talk. He reached out to me. I reached out. It never ended. It’s not what people are talking to me about.”Miami Vice”). This is a mistake. The problem with “Miami Vice”It was a specific time and sensibility. It will obviously take on a completely different tone now. While I don’t think it is impossible, it won’t be easy. “Miami Vice.” It will be “Vice”-like.
Q: When was the last time that you spoke with someone? “Miami Vice” co-star (and “Nash Bridges” guest star) Philip Michael Thomas?
Johnson: We talk two or three times a year because people are always throwing money at us to get us to redo it. It doesn’t make much sense without the full weight and power of Universal Studios behind you.
Q: You just reposted an Instagram photo from Antonio Banderas (ex-husband of Johnson’s ex-wife Melanie Griffith) featuring their daughter Stella Banderas posing with yourGrace, daughter. Are you one happy extended familia?
Johnson: Grace and Stella are like sisters. They love each others. When you have a child with someone, that’s forever. So you’d better figure out how to make peace, because what you do and how you behave directly affects that child. We don’t hang out together all the time. But it’s normal and natural for me to repost Antonio Banderas’ photo with both of our daughters. I would not do it otherwise.
Q: Dakota Johnson will be bringing Chris Martin (Coldplay singer) home to your family for Thanksgiving? There are a lot of engagement reports. Let us know your thoughts.
Johnson:That is not something I think about, and I won’t say anything. She is very private. She doesn’t like it when I talk about her world.
Q: What season premiere will you sing in? “Kenan” with Kenan Thompson on Dec. 15. This is a return to Don Johnson’s crooning?
Johnson:This is a Christmas song but it’s not one you are familiar with. It’s within the realm of the character. Don Johnson is not going. “Woo, here we go again.”
Q: In the spirit of all this, is there any chance you might return with ex Barbra Streisand for a follow-up to your 1988 duet, “Till I Loved You”?
Johnson: I’d probably say no, but it is impossible to say that you will never know. Anything can happen. My heart is open to God. I live my life thinking, “I can’t wait to get up tomorrow to see what (expletive) will happen next.” My life has turned into a very entertaining place.