Exclusive Castle Interview!
Castle star Nathan Fillion, even over the phone, exudes that relaxed, slow-drawl charm that is the mark of all good Southern gentlemen. That is actually kind of odd since he was born and raised in Alberta, Canada, not Tupelo, Mississippi.
He began his acting career in soaps, even gaining a Daytime Emmy nod for his work on One Life to Live, but it was his work on Joss Whedon's sci-fi/western epic Firefly that gained the actor the following he has today.
Fillion and FireflyBut popularity with the fans doesn't always translate into good ratings on TV. After Firefly was canceled, Nathan watched two more shows burn out in an instant (Miss Match and Drive with six episodes each) after landing a recurring role on ABC's Desperate Housewives. This time around, it was Fillion who went looking for something different and he found it in the cozy mystery series, Castle.
"I'll say this. In my real life I sit around, I chat with people, (so) when I'm on TV I wanna be doing things that I can't get away with in real life. Let me squeal tiers and smash into something. Let me get away with stuff."
Playing the mystery novelist turned detective, Nathan, as Castle, gets away with plenty.
What sets Castle apart from most cop shows on TV today is the sense of humor. It's Bones without the excessive gore.
"I gotta tell ya," says Fillion. "I've seen a lot of crime shows where cops, are dark and brooding and haunted (but) we actually hung out with some homicide detectives in New York City and these guys are not dark and brooding and haunted. They are, if anything, balancing life out. They're regular guys. They tell the most incredibly entertaining stories, "oh get this, so this guy kills a guy, so we're chasing him..." it always starts with some guy killed a guy, but the story is funny and very entertaining, these guys are brilliantly cleaver. So I think in that way Castle is very much like reality."
King of the Castle
In the show, Castle is also surrounded by women. Though there are two male detectives on the peripheral (Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever), the major forces in Castle's life are female.
Says Fillion, "I think Castle is very comfortable around women; he's been married twice, he's a single dad, got a fifteen year old daughter, his mother lives with him and also he's got Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). He's got women everywhere around him, in fact his publisher is one of his ex-wives. He's never really had an adult male role model in his life, and I think that's one of the reasons he stays so childlike in his adult years.
Maintaining that distinction between the two is crucial.
A literary cop show
The other line writers have to watch is the one where Castle seems smarter than the cops. Early critics of the series (myself included) were a bit put off by scenes that made Detective Beckett look like she couldn't do her job without help from the celebrity novice. Can the writers make Castle look smart without making the cops look dumb? Nathan Fillion says, absolutely.
"My weakness is, while I'm telling a story, I'll get distracted by details which send me off on tangents. I blame my mother. When I call home and I talk to my folks, my mom always wants all the details. 'So I had a meeting today for this particular project.' She'll say, 'tell me the story and start off with this; I walked into the office and the carpet was a lovely shade of… and go'. That's how she sets it up. So I think that's my weakness. I get a little too detailed, but yes I do love telling stories."
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