The following is an interview with show star Nathan Fillion in the “Castle” press room at San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago. In this seven minute chat he talks about his character Castle, what attracted him to this role, the impact of “Firefly” on his career and the secret of creating an epic hero. No worries spoilerphobes, no secrets about season three of “Castle” are shared.
So your relationship with Kate, where is it going?
So first season obviously, Castle blew it. He’s got his own sense of logic. He kind of lacks a filter. He doesn’t have a lot of repercussions in his life. So, when he thinks he’s doing the right thing, ‘This is going to be great, I’m going to be the hero,’ he’s completely off base and he’s wrong. So he blew it that first season. Second season safe to say Beckett blew. So what we have in the third season now is two people that we know should be together, two people we know want to be together, two people we want to be together and they’re in other relationships. Rather than chained together they’re chained apart.
I have this theory that Castle is beneath the Fillion gateway drug. Because I have people like my parents that say “Have you heard about this Dr. Horrible thing?” and “Doesn’t that guy know Joss Whedon?” Won’t that open yourself up to a bigger audience?
Let me tell you something. I’ve been plugging away at acting for 15 years now. If you look at my resume, you’ll see a long list of failures that people loved. There are people out there who love it. I’ve never met anyone who saw “Firefly” and said “Hey, I watched “Firefly” in its entirety. Eh, not bad.” I don’t know anybody, no one has ever said that to me. They either saw it and hated it or 99 percent of the time they saw it and loved it. So I’ve been very, very fortunate to do a lot of incredible projects that I’m incredibly proud of that I loved with all my heart. I’ve been so fortunate in my career.
Very different experience being on a television show that the masses are actually watching. That’s very, very different. Especially when you go see a movie.
What attracted you to this role?
(Struggles with answer) It was kind of, what’s the naysaying, nothing really great about it. I had seven scripts to read and it was the last one on the pile of scripts. For no reason it was the last of the pile. And I started reading it and I was sitting next to my girlfriend. I was about 15 pages in and I stopped and I said, “I’m going to read you this script like a radio play, you tell me if you don’t think this is great.” I was only 15 pages in and I already I said this is going to be a lot of fun. I know exactly what to do. I know exactly how to play this guy. I know this is going to be an audition scene this part here and I know what every actor is going to do, but I know what I’m going to do differently. And when I met up with these producers I said “Stop looking. I’m this guy.” I knew exactly what to do. This is me inside and out. You have a writer here who’s been living in a fantasy world creating out of his mind these murders, these stories, these incredible yarns he’s been spinning now he has a chance to finally live out these fantasies. Every day is a field trip for Castle. He’s in his element and he’s wearing his joy on his sleeve. He’s a child at heart, he’s having the best time. That’s me. I was watching movies and television thinking man, I want nothing more than to be on TV, I should have gone to ride a horse, to get shot by a gun, and have something explode. All of which happened by the way in “Firefly” the very first episode so I think I need a new list. (Everyone laughs). Including shooting a horse. This is my life. I’ve fantasized about being on TV and film my whole life and now I’m living that dream. Everyday my worst day is a great day.
Do you look forward to becoming more of a detective and less of a writer on the show?
No, because I think there’s enough detectives. There’s enough detectives on our show, there’s enough detectives on TV. What I like about our show is that these detectives are dark and brooding and murder is killing them inside and eating them up and chewing them up. We met a lot of NYPD detectives when we were in New York shooting the Pilot. We had these guys on the set, we were hanging out with them, we were great. I’ll tell ya, it’s a little bit better than hanging out with a comedian because you’re laughing just as much but everything they’re talking about is a reality. These guys are incredibly funny, they’re incredibly wonderful people, they have the most amazing stories that are incredibly entertaining. The only thing is that these stories start with “So this guy gets killed…” Our show I think is a little bit closer to real life in that our detectives are real people in that they love their job, they like the people they work with, they’re actually having a good time. Yeah they got worries, yeah they’ve got woes, they get upset at times, but they’re not brooding with the “stain of the city” seeping in their clothes (everyone laughs).
And Castle, he’s a different guy altogether. He’s not an investigator, he’s a writer. He doesn’t care about the facts. He wants the story. He’s living in his mind. He’s in a dream world most the time. It’s bugging the crap out of Kate Beckett but at the same time his expertise, his angle, is very often helpful.
So what’s the secret of creating an epic hero?
Secret of creating an epic hero is allowing the hero to fail. I think that the age of the hero that’s (changes to deep superhero voice) “I know just who to call, he’s the best man that ever lived,” that era of hero is over. The Rambo that cannot fail. The super, invulnerable, who can throw a knife 100 yds, we need a hero who’s a real man that can actually fail. Indiana Jones is my first experience with that. There’s a guy who got punched and beat up and abused and bruised and cut and slapped and then wins in the end. That’s the guy I like.