Event Host: The Paley Center for Media
Event Name: An Evening with Castle
Event Date: Event March 16, 2010
Event Location: Paley Center for Media, Los Angeles
On the day of “An Evening with Castle” fans started lining up outside the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills around 8am in the morning. They spent the day meeting other fans and sharing treats like Australian Tim Tams and chocolate, wine gums and gummy bears. At around 6pm the guests arrived and spent some time talking to the media before the fans were finally allowed to enter and be seated.
After we’d been sitting a little while John Zaozirny, Castle Writer’s Assistant came out to make sure those of us that had travelled from overseas (and interstate) had good seats! He was presented with a box of photo books that fans from this site had put together as a thank-you gift for the cast and crew and he offered to take a few items from us back to the green room to be signed by the writers.
Castle writer Terri Miller also came out to say hello before the event, Terri was unable to participate in the panel due to a prior engagement so fans were thankful that she was able to stop by. A few minutes later it was Writer/co-executive producer Jose Molina turn to come out and say hello and he was introduced to the people nearby he was familiar with from his regular visits to the CastleTV.net chat room. He was generous enough to lean over and signed items for those people within reach.
Eventually the show got started and Craig Hitchcock, Executive Director of the Paley Center for Media in LA welcomed everyone to the event. He remarked how quickly tickets had sold out and he expected it to be a great event based on the dedicated fans who were “camped out” first thing in the morning. He introduced Tom Bergeron, the moderator for the event. Bergeron pointed out that Castle is a unique show with a great cast and great writing. And unlike other crime shows out there is different, “it’s warm, it’s funny, the stories are fascinating, the chemistry undeniable”. He pointed out he has a guest role in the episode coming up The Late Shaft and then introduced Castle Creator/Executive Producer Andrew Marlowe.
Marlowe welcomed everyone who came including, "the folks camping out this morning, our Twitter fans and followers, the folks who flew in from Australia and across the United States for this" and said they were deeply honoured to have such loyal and dedicated fans and then announced that in the fall ABC thought it’d be good to do a two parter that would draw attention to the show and though it wasn’t complete yet (some of the music was temporary, the audio still needed to go through “mix” and visual effects not completed) they would show the first episode Tick, Tick, Tick to those attending the event.
They showed the entire episode which got an overwhelmingly positive response. There were many laughs, so much so that people actually missed some of the jokes! As well as all the funny, there was a strong dramatic element to the episode and all were left sitting on the edge of their seats wishing they didn’t have a whole two weeks to wait to find out what happens. The regular cast gave some of their best performances and Dana Delany was exceptional in the role of Agent Shaw.
After the episode finished the cast & crew forming the panel were introduced beginning with Jon Huertas (Jon & Seamus weren’t confirmed as attending because they were filming late) followed by Tamala Jones, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Molly Quinn, Susan Sullivan, Seamus Dever, Andrew Marlowe, Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion and Rob Bowman.
Bergeron started by asking a few questions and then opened up to the audience to ask their own questions.
Marlowe told us the idea for Castle came about after searching for great characters in a crime show, where it was as much about the characters as solving crimes. He said that when casting they needed someone for Castle who was naturally charming saying “that’s something you can’t fake”. Fillion said when he first read the script he told them “Stop looking! I’m this guy!” and said he’d never done that before. Marlowe said he could tell in the first five minutes that Fillion would be right not just in the role, but in the team.
Stana Katic talked about the chemistry on screen and that while it starts with the writing you have to have a person that you can “play” with.
Molly Quinn thinks Nathan is the most like his character and that he likes to play around but noted that they’re all a lot like their characters. Ruben Santiago-Hudson said Seamus Dever is most like his character and Dever admitted he was ok with that. Jon Huertas said he thought Dever and he were a lot like their on screen counterparts and that Dever has his back both as his character on Castle and in real life.
They talked about the keeping the sexual tension alive and they joked about the sexual tension between Ryan & Esposito. Marlowe said the sexual tension between Castle and Beckett is a very delicate dance and hopes they’ll be able to mine the tension without frustrating the audience for quite a while. Bowman said Beckett is sophisticated and in the game of “boy meets girl” she’ll throw a bait out there for him (eg the teasing in The Mistress Always Spanks Twice). Fillion thinks “caution” is a good idea and you don’t want to go too far too fast because once you cross over certain bridges you can’t go back. Katic thinks “there’s nothing sexier than swordplay” a statement which got a strong reaction from all the men in the room.
Although most assume it’s Fillion, the writers are the ones behind putting the nods to other fandoms in the show (eg, the costumes in Vampire Weekend) but that said, Fillion mentioned he’s never been on a show that’s so conducive to pitching ideas and while some of them get shot down there are always opportunities to try out ideas. Fillion and Susan Sullivan both remarked how in their previous shows (Firefly & Dharma & Greg) everything was very scripted and you couldn’t deviate from the script but they both love being able to throw out ideas on Castle saying “it’s fun”.
Coming up soon we can expect to learn a little more about Beckett’s back story. Katic says it’s great to have an opportunity to play a softer side to her character like the father-daughter moment in Sucker Punch.
Tamala Jones mentioned she loves Twitter and said that Fillion and other members of the cast got her into it recently though she’s been signed up on Twitter for a while and Ruben Santiago-Hudson says he doesn’t know how they find time to tweet. Molly Quinn tweeted her very first tweet while back stage (from the @PaleyCenter Twitter account). They talked about how they Twitter on set and to get “the whole story” you have to follow all of them. Katic said she’s never had fans before and she’s flattered and honoured by the response she’s had.
When Susan Sullivan auditioned for the part of Castle’s mother she was told that every diva in Hollywood and New York was circling the part and she was very lucky. During the audition she wasn’t aware it was Fillion that was reading with her and he was seated, not wanting to look down (she says an more mature woman should never do that!), she insisted he stand up and she thinks that’s what actually got her the part.
Bowman talked about how they had 140 women trying out for Beckett and Nathan read with every one of them. Stana Katic came in after endless women read for the role. Bowman said she had “obvious assets” and he was startled by the fact that she actually had great attitude and chemistry and they could “flash forward and see they had a show” at that moment. Bowman said during rehearsing the scene where Castle guesses Beckett’s past he knew Fillion was great but he realised at that moment that Katic had a lot more going on than he had expected from her. By episode two they were giddy about the cast they’d put together to compliment the great writing.
Quinn thought the script was great when she first read it but it was “just TV” and then she met Nathan.. She said there was instant chemistry and from that point she didn’t care what she did on set she just wanted to work with him. She got a little emotional recalling how he’s like a second dad to her and he really looks out for her with her own dad being back in Texas.
Rob Bowman talked about how each episode is only 42 minutes but they “talk fast”. Usually it takes a minute per page but Castle has 55 pages so they have to keep things moving fast. He noted that they had a fantastic editing team who understand cinematic brevity and the rhythm of the show.
Fillion said that learning lines is hard and sometimes he tapes notes to the ceiling. Much to Katic’s horror he revealed that there’s apparently a reason Beckett frequently carries a folder! Marlowe quickly came to their defence pointing out that their workload is huge and they do a fantastic job. He said they get up when it’s dark, show up to work and shoot a 8 scene day, all they do is wake up, memorise lines, hit their marks, do stuff like the Paley panel and then go home and memorise some of tomorrow’s work, it’s all they do but there’s so much team support that they help each other get though it.
Tom Bergeron noted that during his “cadaver scene” Tamala Jones had a “mouthful of dialogue” full of “techno & medical speech” and everyone applauded once the scene was done. Jones said that was because she always gets it wrong and that Marlowe had been good enough to send her the scene early. She said it’s hard because it has to sound natural and authentic.
The Paperback of Heat Wave comes out July 27th. Marlowe said the extra material like the Heat Wave novel and the @WriteRCastle Twitter account is always an ongoing conversation with ABC and they’re very excited that Castle is hard at work on his next novel Naked Heat which comes out this fall.
Marlowe acknowledged the tremendous cast and said they all had the talent to be a series lead and they’re working to open up the supporting cast members and giving them more time on screen but still aware that Beckett & Castle are the “bread and butter” of the show. He also took the opportunity to introduce some of the writing staff and other members of the crew including the Executive Producers during the event. He went on to say that the writing process is a collaborative effort and they talk about where the characters are in the arch of the season, how to fairly service all of the characters and mentioned that there’s a lot of back and forth.
After the Q&A session was over, despite the fact that the cast were told they wouldn’t be signing autographs people rushed the stage hoping to get the opportunity to say hello had have items signed. Despite working a very long day the cast cast graciously signed autographs for people and some took photos with some of the fans as well. Katic stayed until she’d signed autographs for everyone who wanted one, despite how terribly exhausted she appeared to be.
You could feel just by observing the interactions on stage that the cast and crew really are like family and the working environment they create is an unusually friendly and harmonious one.