KING OF THE CASTLE
Nathan Fillion thought romance would ruin his show. But it’s doing better than ever, he tells Colin Vickery
HOW long will Nathan Fillion keep on playing mystery novelist Richard Castle? That is the question Castle fans are asking as the US crime drama heads towards its sixth season fi nale.
Castle has already been renewed for a seventh season but it is anyone’s guess what the 43- year- old Canadian actor will do after that.
A year ago, news emerged that Fillion was a no- show on set, supposedly because he was locked in a dispute with his bosses over his desire to move to a four- day work week.
In November, the National Enquirer revealed more trouble behind the scenes. Fillion was reportedly upset that co- star Stana Katic, who plays NYPD detective Kate Beckett, was getting too much attention and screen time.
All of that comes after Fillion suggested in 2012 that seven seasons of Castle would be his ideal.
So is Fillion getting itchy feet? Is it time to move on?
“That’s a good question,” Fillion says between scenes on the set of Castle.
“This is the longest time I’ve ever spent employed. This is uncommon – having a television show that is on the air and not in danger of being cancelled and successful for six wonderful years. This is a gift horse I do not look at in the mouth.
“[ As an actor] I do get to do things that I’ve never done before – invest in character. I’ve never done a character for six years before. I feel like I know this guy [ Richard Castle] pretty well, and I feel like the audience does too.
“The audience is invested [ in the show] and I don’t feel like they’re going to go anywhere any time soon. There is a wonderful security in that.
“[ But] as an actor, yes there are fewer and fewer and challenges. So would it be nice to play another character once in a while? Absolutely.”
The sheer number of hours on set seems to be an issue for Fillion. When you play the title character in a TV series, you are guaranteed to be in pretty much every scene.
There are plenty of days when Fillion doesn’t see the California sun. He arrives at the studio before 6am and doesn’t wrap fi lming until well into the night. No wonder he wants a four- day work week.
“This [ Castle] is a machine – we have to make it work and the hours are incredibly long,” Fillion says.
“It’s not a glamorous life. It is a bit of a sacrifi ce. You don’t have much real life. That is the challenge.
“We’re kind of locked in here. It is a walled compound in a big building with no windows. It seems a little insular. It seems a little confi ned at times.”
Fillion can’t be unhappy with Castle’s ratings. The current series is the most successful yet, with about 13 million viewers per episode in the US.
The popularity comes despite Fillion’s long- standing objections to Castle and Beckett becoming a couple.
For years, Katic had been lobbying the show’s creator Andrew W. Marlowe to allow Castle and Beckett to become romantically involved. Katic even reckoned they should have a baby together.
Fillion disagreed. He was adamant it was the unresolved sexual tension between Castle and Beckett that kept audiences watching.
Fillion knew that shows such as The X- Files, House and Moonlighting had slumped in the ratings once their lead characters became romantically involved.
“I hate being wrong,” Fillion laughs. “[ I thought] it was wanting them to be together that kept people watching. I fi gured if you give them what they want … they would start changing channels.”
Katic persisted and the rest is history. Castle proposed to Beckett at the end of season fi ve. The current season started with Beckett accepting Castle’s marriage proposal.
Fillion’s dire prediction never eventuated. Marlowe has kept things fresh with a job dilemma for Beckett, a deadly toxin for Castle and the re- appearance of Castle’s mysterious father Jackson Hunt ( James Brolin).
A recent episode where Castle and Beckett had to take care of a baby also showed they have wildly differing views on children.
Marlowe promises the pair will walk down the aisle in a season fi nale, but fans should expect a hitch – Castle is renowned for its cliffhangers.
Tonight, 9.45pm, Southern Cross