Comic Con 2011: CASTLE Interviews With Nathan Fillion, Seamus Dever, Jon Huertas, Molly Quinn and Executive Producer Laurie Zaks

     July 27, 2011


Earlier this week, we posted the recap of the Castle panel from this year’s Comic Con. The cast was on hand to give us a sneak peek at Season 4 as well as some insight as to the fallout from the season 3 finale. While our recap had plenty of highlights and quotes from your favorite mystery writer and homicide detectives, I was able to interview the cast and wheedle out a few more secrets.

Other than the obvious repercussions from the cliffhanger ending of season 3, the new season of Castle also promises to have some fun. In addition to a bachelor party episode (you’ll have to read on to find out whose), there will be a special superhero episode early in the season and a Halloween episode of Castle that might even feature a certain ghost-busting guest start. Fans of the show will want to check out more of our insider info, so hit the jump.

After the panel, Nathan Fillion (Rick Castle), Seamus Dever (Kevin Ryan), Jon Huertas (Javier Esposito), Molly Quinn (Alexis Castle) and Executive Producer Laurie Zaks took the time to answer some questions. Tamala Jones (Lanie Parish) was there as well, but unfortunately time ran short. Stana Katic (Kate Beckett) was unable to attend. Check out the interviews below:

Question: Castle and the new captain are going to have a bit of a contentious relationship. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Nathan Fillion (Rick Castle): What we discover is that Roy Montgomery had a reason to have Castle there. He had an interest in Beckett and felt a responsibility towards her. He knew she was haunted, knew she was tortured and saw the effect that Castle had on her. So he had an interest in keeping Castle close. He could have very easily made it very difficult for Castle. The premise of our television program is not very realistic in that a writer would be able to tag along on homicide investigations in these incredibly dangerous circumstances constantly. So the fact that the captain of the police force actually wants it to happen lends it far more validity.

The new captain, not so much. She’s not invested in these cops and certainly not Castle in the way that Montgomery was. It’s going to be much more difficult for Castle.

Has she been cast?

Fillion: She has been cast. I’m a big fan. She’s lovely, too.

How’s that going to affect Castle’s work?

Fillion: Castle is accustomed to being surrounded by women, he’s accustomed to people adoring him. He thinks pretty highly of himself, he thinks he’s pretty charming and he’s never had a lot of trouble in that area. I think you get him, certainly with the Kate Beckett situation, she does like him but she tries not to let on and he drives her crazy.

But when you have someone like our new captain who is not swayed by his charms, who does not see a use for him being around when she has plenty of good cops, you have someone who’s a thorn in Castle’s side. But Castle is not someone who takes failure to heart.

So he has to prove himself again?

Fillion: I don’t know if it’s so much about proving himself, to Castle anyway. You might actually have an excellent point. For me, right now, it’s about, can Castle get his way. Castle is very accustomed to getting his way.

With Beckett having been shot, I’m assuming there’s going to be a recovery period for her, since she was really injured.

Fillion: She’s dead. [laughter] Like flies they’re dropping.

How’s it going to change their relationship? Is he going to tend to her wounds?

Fillion: You know, when we were recasting the Beckett role… [laughter] What can I say about that, that wouldn’t spoil a beautiful first episode? A lot of things happened that can’t be undone. Words were said, bullets were fired; there’s gonna be repercussions.

When people go through these extreme situations, they come out changed. Do you see that in the characters this season?

Fillion: Absolutely. That’s something I think that our writers are very good about, making sure it’s a constantly evolving process. They’ve come a long way, these people and it’s been a long, rocky road at times. But our writers and creators have been very good about maintaining a reality that certainly satisfies me, as far as being a fan of the show, and maintaining a reality that would actually keep two people apart that do love each other.

Have you ever written a Castle episode or come up with the idea for one?

Fillion: I’m constantly pitching one episode where we see life through Castle’s eyes. I think Castle’s just a little off as far as his perception goes. A very, very clever man, but I want to see the world as Castle sees it, kind of a rose-colored glasses, all the women find him irresistible, all the guys find him super cool and do whatever he says. He’s tough, there’s theme music when he walks, those kinds of things.

(After asking us how we were holding up at the end of the Convention)

How’s everything going for you?

Seamus Dever (Kevin Ryan): It’s been going fine. I finally got to actually walk around this time. I didn’t last year because I was doing a play at the same time as I was shooting the TV show and at the same time trying to go to Comic Con. I had to come in the day of so I was exhausted. So I would like to think that I’m a little bit more lucid this year for your interviews and coming up with better quotes. But honestly, walking around the floor, I finally got to do that this year and it’s cool. I saw some great costumes, I bought some cool t-shirts that you can’t find anywhere else and I’ve been enjoying it.

Given the (Thundercats) t-shirt, are you looking forward to the new animated series?

Dever: I didn’t even know there was a new animated series! I am an old school sort of syndicated cartoon watcher. I’m a big fan of Voltron, too and I’m looking for some Voltron t-shirts. And I hear there’s a new Voltron coming out, too (1). It’s crazy, it’s like everything is cycling, everything from our childhood is being repurposed and repackaged. I hope they do a good job. I mean, was the original good, to an eight-year-old? It was! I enjoyed it and I watched it every Sunday on syndicated television.

The theme was great!

Dever: It was! I remember when it premiered. The next day at school, everybody was singing that song and trying to be Lion-O. The very next day! And it was like this phenomenon to everyone in my 5th grade class. It meant a lot to my generation.

So what can we expect next season with Ryan and Jenny (Juliana Dever) and also on the police force with the new captain?

Dever: So, first part: Ryan and Jenny. I think we’re gonna see the development of their wedding plans. I think there’s a lot of mileage, being a married man myself, there’s a lot of mileage that you can get out of planning a wedding. All of a sudden, men, and women too, who are unaccustomed to answering questions about vows and how to put together the proper ceremony and what it would mean for your family and all these things, all these decisions that you never had to make before in your life, you’re having to do. I think it’s fun to see Ryan thrown into that sort of thing, like all of the sudden he’s making cake decisions and frosting and which filling is better; is it lemon cake or white sponge cake, what is it? I think it’ll be fun to see Ryan doing that and there’s a lot of mileage in that.

Ryan’s always had a comfortable…we’ve played that he’s had two older sisters, so Ryan’s always been comfortable with his feminine side and I love when we get the opportunity to explore that on the show, because I’m very comfortable with my feminine side as well, being someone who has had an older sister. I think it’s fun when we get to play with that with Ryan and certainly that will happen with the wedding.

I think we might also meet Ryan’s family. If there is the wedding, and I’m not saying that’s going to take place. I’m not allowed to say that there is a wedding because I’m not sure. I know people want there to be a wedding and I know he’s engaged, but we’re a few episodes away from having to deal with that decision. But I think it’ll be fun to see if there’s a competition between Best Men, for Esposito and Castle to sort of pitch who’s a better best man, that kind of thing.

We have a new captain and that’s going to be different for us, because we’ve always had Montgomery. Montgomery is someone [who] Ryan and Esposito grew up being a homicide cop with, and Beckett as well. Now that symbol of authority is gone. So how do we deal with that? What does that mean to Castle? What does that mean to the sort of way we get protected in our precinct? I think all that’s gonna change.

How was your wife cast?

Dever: My wife’s a very good actor and you’re always wanting to give your friends and your loved ones breaks and do whatever you can. My wife’s very talented and the series creator Andrew (Marlowe) likes Julie a lot, and his wife Terry Miller; we hang out socially. They wanted her to come on the show in some sort of reoccurring basis. That’s the genesis of how that happened. She’s very happy to be on the show and it’s great to work with a loved one. Nathan is very nice to her. Nathan and Jon are always hitting on my wife and I’m sorta comfortable with that now, I guess.

How do you feel about becoming a Comic Con veteran at this point?

Jon Huertas (Javier Esposito): Oh, this is nothing. I’ve been doing this for two years now. It’s fun, it’s amazing. Actually, I’ve always wanted to come to Comic Con before we ever did. To be honest with you, I was kinda scared to come to Comic Con, because I just didn’t think that I would know or understand how to navigate it and actually let it be entertaining to me. It just seemed daunting, it seemed overwhelming. So I’m glad I was able to come down with the show and be steered in the right direction. Now, every year I will come to Comic Con whether we’re invited or not, and check things out. I love comic books, comic book characters and superheroes.

Did Nathan give you some pointers about how to handle Comic Con,the crowds and all that?

Huertas: No, he’s selfish. He doesn’t give me anything. No, I actually haven’t seen much of Nathan during this Comic Con. We’re staying in two different hotels so we don’t meet up until we have a Castle event. I just go downstairs and walk the floor and go into the Gaslamp. People stop me, but I think that’s part of the fun for them. They get to see Stan Lee or people that they hope to get their stuff signed and photos with. I think that to hide from that and take that away from fans is just wrong. I think that our show wouldn’t be what it is today without our fans. You always have to give back to the fans. I remember being a fan of television and film when I was growing up and if I would’ve had the opportunity to meet somebody that I watched on television, it would’ve made my day, it would’ve made my life.

Are we going to see more of Esposito and Lanie (Tamala Jones) next season?

Huertas: Oh, we’re gonna be naked a lot on the show. I hope, anyway. I think we are, yeah. We’re going to see a lot more of the two of us interacting as a couple. Last season, we showed a little bit of us actually as a couple interacting. This season we’re going to see a little bit more and they want to go all the way to where we may break up, and we may get back together. It might be because of Ryan and Jenny’s relationship and where they’re going as a couple into marriage. It might make one of us, Lanie or Esposito say, “Maybe I want to get married.” And maybe the other person doesn’t. I think we’re going to explore all that. It’s gonna be fun. Lanie’s…well, Tamala who plays Lanie, she’s very hot. Soft skin… (drifts off)

Nathan (Fillion) was talking about how a new captain is going to change the working relationship of Castle. How does the whole Montgomery thing play out for Ryan and Esposito, given their history together?

Huertas: Ryan and Esposito, at first it’s pretty hard for them to accept this new captain. First, they’re kind of scared of her because she’s a whole different type of leader, a different type of captain. She comes from a different section of the NYPD, the Internal Affairs. She’s a little more hard-lined. She’s also, I think, more worried about her political career and where she’s going next, [rather] then serving the people. She’s out for justice, but it’s not as passionate as Captain Montgomery was. It worries Ryan and Esposito and their ability to sometimes bend the rules. We’ve always been able to bend the rules a little bit; we don’t know if we can do that with this new captain. Will it be as fun as it was before? We’ll see.

Esposito was really passionate when he found out about Montgomery’s past. Are we going to see more about how that affects Esposito?

Huertas: I think he’s a little bitter. I also think he’s going to be adamant about finding the guy that’s responsible for Montgomery…being killed. He’s going to be vigilant, as much as he can outside the parameters of solving other murders, to find out who this guy that’s responsible for Beckett’s mother’s murder and Montgomery’s murder now. Hopefully we get to get out there in the street and toss some people around a little bit.

What was it like filming the scene between you and Seamus (Dever) when you found out that the captain was crooked? That was an intense scene and a lot of fans had an intense reaction to it.

Huertas: Yeah they did. It was intense filming that. We had choreographed two different versions of that fight. What was important to us was, in that fight that it’s not just about a fight; it’s not about throwing punches and hurting each other. It’s more about, what are they emotional stages that these two are going through within the fight. We wanted to make sure that we got that across with the stunt coordinator, who allowed us to really take the lead on the fight. We wanted it to look real. I love John Wayne, but we didn’t want to look like a John Wayne movie fight. We wanted it to really look real and dangerous.

What we shot is actually longer than what you guys saw. The episode was running long and we had to cut some of it down. It was intense because it was at the end of the night on our last night. We were filming really late, the network was trying to shut us down. We were under the gun and we were supposed to shoot on one location, but because the network was trying to shut us down, we went out the back door of our stage and created that alley using trucks. That’s a little underground trivia for you guys; this table’s special to me. So we created that scene. It was really intense. We were working really hard and fast. And so I think that came across in the episode, how crazy and intense it was.

You mentioned that you’ve been a fan of comic books and superheroes. We also heard in the panel that Castle’s going to be having a superhero episode. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Huertas: I’m anxious, because I want to see what kind of superheroes we can create. We are working with Marvel now. Marvel is allowing us, I hope, to use some of their already established characters, which would be great. But if not, we’re going to have to create our own, which is also loads of fun. Like that movie Kick-Ass; they created some cool characters. Maybe we can do something like that. I’m super-excited. I hopefully want to get into a fight with one of the superheroes and see what their powers are really like…compare my powers to their powers.

What superpower would you have?

Huertas: Super-strength. Super-speed. All of it.

(Molly Quinn came to the session dressed as Captain Mal Reynolds, Nathan Fillion’s character on Firefly/Serenity)

This is a great follow up to the Lieutenant Uhura costume. How long was this in the works and did you get it from an official prop department? Did you have any help?

Molly Quinn (Alexis Castle): I had my mother’s help; my mother and the internet. Originally I was going to be Marvel Girl. As I was looking at the costume, it wasn’t coming together right. It was late one night and I was talking to my mom and said, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could dress up as Captain Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly?” just joking around. It was about three months ago, so I didn’t have to keep the secret too long. It was definitely a hard secret to keep.

How did he not see you before the panel?

Quinn: He came late, which was putting us all on pins and needles, but it was lucky for me. He’s a crazy man, but that’s what makes him so lovable, isn’t it?

Alexis is getting older, she’s almost ready to go to college. How is that changing the dynamic between her and her dad?

Quinn: She’s forming opinions of her own and some of those differ from her father, so he’s having to really see her as more of an independent voice, even though she’s always been the adult. She’s always kind of idolized her dad. Now that she sees the world isn’t in black and white, that her dad is a little gray and the whole world is very gray, and how she handles that. It’s always a scary position to be in when you first realize that not every adult is good, that type of thing.

Is she still going strong with the boyfriend?

Quinn: I guess, I guess.

Did you ever find the rat?

Quinn: The rat? Yeah, we did find the rat. What was his name? Theodore? Yeah, we found Theodore. That was the hardest episode. “Really? I have to cry over a rat?” I couldn’t do it. That was the only time I couldn’t…well, I might have eventually, but it was very difficult.

How are you and Alexis similar and how do you differ?

Quinn: I like to say that we’re similar in that we both have great relationships with our dads. I love my dad; I’m a daddy’s girl, all the way. We both use our imaginations. She plays laser tag, I play laser tag. These very physical things we both like, like karate and going to the gym or rifle ranges, things like that.

Ways we differ used to be very big, like in season 2 and even in season 3. But at the end of season 3 and a lot in this season, we’re really becoming parallel. I’m really feisty, I don’t back down if I’m confronted, basically, whereas Alexis was always very demure and very, “Oh, I have to study for this test.” She’s still very smart, but she’s becoming, I guess a little later than I became, a little more street smart, a little more savvy to what people are saying and what they actually mean. Like when she hit the girl in the bathroom. You might talk like, “I’ll knock someone out,” but when you’re in the fight, are you going to freeze up or are you going to deck ‘em? And as I’ve maybe been in a similar situation before, we’re starting to become very similar in a feisty way, which I like to see.

I would like to see her go into work with Lanie Parish in a medical field or maybe even a private eye, via the Veronica Mars route, I think that’d be fun. Who doesn’t love Veronica Mars?

Given the laser tag and the karate, how competitive do you get? And what belt are you up to right now?

Quinn: My karate skills are very limited. I’m a green belt. I’ve only been studying for about four years now. I’ve been taking it a little slow; I should be going faster at it. I’d love to do stunts for a movie, actually. I get very competitive, mostly in acting though. When I’m going out for a role or something, that’s when I really get very territorial about things. Everything else I like to have fun with. I don’t like people that try to psyche other people out. But if they do, then I’m not gonna let it happen. I find the fun in things. Only one person’s gonna win. All you can do is your personal best. Those sound like very parental things to say, but it really is true. There’s no reason to get hung up on it because it comes down to such minute, finite things. You just have to enjoy life and that’s what I like to do.

With the ending of season 3, how do things stand with Alexis? Is she supporting her dad or is she busy with her own life?

Quinn: Well, she can’t be busy with her own life. That’s another source of friction for her. Now that my dad is putting himself in more danger, how can I live my own life and be okay with myself? She’s not supportive. You have to think, that bullet went by her and her grandmother’s head just as well. And she saw her dad throw himself and endanger his own life to save this woman who, as Alexis, I don’t think that she treats him near as well as he should be treated. So it’s scary for her.

She may have to assert some tough love in their talks. Things aren’t going to be as fluffy anymore. She’s really getting down to the nitty gritty. She has no cotton candy world now. She was very lucky to be in her own bubble, and now, overnight, it’s shattered. There’s definitely going to be some words, at least, between Alexis Castle and Kate Beckett.

Do you think that the relationship between Alexis and Kate has changed since earlier in the show?

Quinn: I don’t think they ever had a relationship. My dad really likes [her], like he always gets with his muses. [She] actually [isn’t] very interested in him, which is interesting. Alexis has a level of respect for Kate that she didn’t have for anyone else. She respects her, but beyond that I don’t think they’ve had enough time to assert any type of relationship. Now, all Alexis is seeing is [Kate] putting her dad in danger. So I don’t know if she’s going to pressure her dad to get him out of the precinct or what she’s gonna do.

You’re obviously dealing with some heavy themes at the beginning of the season and it sounds like we’ll get back to some lighter episodes later, like the Halloween and superhero episodes. So how does Alexis fit into that?

Quinn: Well who knows? She might be in college. I don’t know if Alexis will ever be the same again. By then, I don’t know if they’re going to have her more settled into what’s going on or if she’s still gonna be upset about it. I’m sure that by then she’s going to be going on her own a little bit. Maybe going to her own Halloween party or even throwing one at her house while her dad’s away. She’s going to be experimenting. Part of that is to show her dad that, “You won’t let me know what you’re doing when you’re away, then I’m not going to tell you. You don’t like it? Neither do I.” She’s not going to lose her core values, but she’s definitely going to put on a show.

In the finale, we saw that they threatened the Captain’s family to get him to do what they wanted. Do you think there are going to be implications with Castle’s family instead of just a direct danger for Castle?

Quinn: I do, exactly, because it’s not just him, either. “You’re being so selfish. It’s not just you; it’s me, it’s your mother, it’s our friends. We’re not comfortable with this. You can’t just go out and do your own thing without getting our okay, because it’s our lives you’re putting on the line as well.” It was fun at the beginning. Of course we didn’t know, but it wasn’t really serious. He’s always done things, he’s always been arrested. In the beginning it was fun and it was for research. That’s what Alexis and her grandmother kept telling themselves. But now, he’s lost his smile and he’s got lines in his forehead.

Who made the choice to start the new season right after Beckett was shot?

Executive Producer Laurie Zaks: Oh, I’m sure it was the man behind everything, Andrew Marlowe. He’s really the creative genius behind Castle and certainly the creative head. You never know what he’s thinking, but the writers are always one step ahead. I remember talk of this season finale at the beginning of last year. Most of the writers have been with the show since the very beginning.

There was a question of when did the decision come to kill of a character or was it to shake up the show. Really it was about as a story evolves, as that mythology evolved with Beckett’s mother, that part of the story had to come to an end. The story’s not over, but that part had to come to an end and sadly we did lose Ruben (Santiago-Hudson). When that had happened, I was so emotional when I had heard it was his last day on the set. I said to one of the AD’s who had worked on LOST, I said, “I could never have done that show.” Because every week somebody was getting killed off. We’re a very close-knit group and it is a family. I know everybody says that about their show, but it was very emotional when Ruben left. I’m hoping there’s going to be a way for him to come back. Who knows.

What’s the most challenging thing for Season 4? Is there a specific storyline?

Zaks: Well, the writers are all just starting, but for me it would be very interesting to see how…once you say, “I love you” to somebody, it’s out there. It’s how that will dictate how Beckett and Castle will continue. There are reveals in the first episode that will dictate and inform, a little bit. I think that, for the writers, is one of the most challenging aspects, to keep that fresh, keep it alive and what happens when somebody says that. It’s out there. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

There was a lot of thought about that, by the way, about whether to say it or not. The network and the studio were like, “Does he have to say it?” and we shot it both ways. Once you saw it, it was like, “He has to. He has to say it.” So I’m really happy that we went that way. So that was a source of discussion, does he say it? Does he think it?

Was there a lot of discussion about it because sometimes a platonic relationship between partners can be stronger than a romantic relationship you see on a TV show?

Zaks: Right, I think that’s always the discussion. Will they or won’t they? We don’t’ know.

I heard you guys are doing a Ghostbusters episode and a superhero episode. Can you talk about that?

Zaks: The episode airs on Halloween night, so we had to do a Halloween episode. The story arena was just broken, but my own personal wish for that is that we get one of the original Ghostbusters to appear. I think it’ll be a very fun episode. Honestly, that’s all I know about it because they’re just starting to write it. We just got the approval from the network. Every story goes through a long process until the time it gets on the air. Everyone’s really excited about that.

Is the superhero one a separate one or part of it?

Zaks: That’s separate. The “superheroes” is the second episode and they alluded to an episode with Ryan’s gun, the gun that was left on the scene of the 3xK killer. That’s a very compelling episode, that’s going to be really good.

Are there any guest stars?

Zaks: I hope so! There’s a few coming up. We’d love to use somebody from Firefly. Nathan has a lot of friends, so we always have him calling people.

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