Kiss OF life

Nathan Fil­lion and Stana Katic re­vive Cas­tle with a hot ro­mance

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page - CAS­TLE TONIGHT, 9.45PM, SEVEN

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 finale.

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 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 film­ing 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 sac­ri­fice. 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 con­fined at times.”

Fil­lion can’t be un­happy with Cas­tle’s rat­ings. The cur­rent se­ries is the most suc­cess­ful yet with about 13 mil­lion view­ers an 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 that it was the un­re­solved sex­ual ten­sion be­tween Cas­tle and Beck­ett that kept au­di­ences watch­ing.

Fil­lion knew 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. “My thought process was that it was want­ing them to be to­gether that kept peo­ple watch­ing. I fig­ured 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 five. 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 that they have wildly dif­fer­ing views on chil­dren.

Mar­lowe prom­ises the pair will walk down the aisle in the sea­son finale, but fans should ex­pect a hitch –

Cas­tle is renowned for its cliffhang­ers.

Crowd pleaser: Au­di­ences loved it when Beck­ett and Cas­tle fi­nally got to­gether.

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