S(her)lock holds fort in cop genre

Published May 14, 2012


IT was about 8pm and there I was, standing in the corridor outside my flat taking Stana Katic’s call because of the poor reception inside.

I’m sure the sight of me juggling my cellphone while furiously typing away on my laptop must have been hilarious, but I hoped my composed tone during my tête-à-tête with the actress didn’t betray me.

After commenting on the weather warming up on her side of the world, Katic expanded on the impact that bagging the role of Detective Kate Beckett in Castle has had on her TV career.

“Um, I think every role, whether in TV or film, has a part in building a career and relationships. This one (Castle) has created an awareness – no doubt. But, ultimately, they are all part and parcel of telling amazing stories with incredible people,” she shared.

Unable to stop smiling at the recollection of her audition for the part, Katic chuckled: “I think I was a smart-ass in the room. They liked that. There was some sweet story behind the audition story. Having travelled for about an hour, I was told: ‘They have a scene for you, go perform it for the camera’.

“Unfortunately, I came in with a shirt that was almost like a tunic. I thought I would make it work, but it just wouldn’t tuck in. I asked the hairstylist for a pair of scissors, and ran into the lobby.

“Nathan was grabbing a coffee and I asked him to cut off half the tunic. He said: ‘I can’t promise a straight line, but I can cut it’. The producers came in, saw that, and…”

The rapport the producers spotted between the actors is the crime drama’s big selling point, where Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), a mystery novelist with writer’s block, shadows Kate and helps her with her cases.

On the complexities of her character, she rationalised: “Kate is obviously driven by a need to find justice as she was tremendously affected by her mother’s mother.

“She’s a wonderful human, but she’s imperfect and can sometimes be stubborn. But she has this over-riding desire to rectify wrongs.”

Tenacious, intelligent and beautiful, Katic, who owes her good looks to her Serbian father and Croatian mother, enjoys tapping into the different emotional layers of her character as she juggles being in authority while maintaining “that sense of sensuality”.

Four seasons in, Castle viewers have their fingers crossed, hoping (and waiting on tenterhooks) for the writers to finally exploit the chemistry between Castle and Beckett.

As for getting to work with Fillion, the actress, who has built her career on the big and small screen, admitted: “He is really funny and loves cracking jokes. I learnt a lot from him – even when he wasn’t intending to teach me. I am blessed to work with a sweet cast, really!”

On Castle’s phenomenal growth, she explained: “We started out with a fanbase that was very local, and on the internet, and that kept us afloat in the first two seasons.

“After that we started finding a larger audience, with the show getting a bit darker and trying to figure out what are the parameters of our voice.

“The show is different because of a combination of things. There is that romance the audience is rooting for. A balance between the drama and the comedy. Viewers invest in the characters as there is a weight of reality (to them).”

Singing the praises of creator-writer Andrew Marlowe, Katic revealed this season is her favourite by far.

“Every character has been well-established thanks to Andrew and the rest of the writing staff. Now we are all free for more interesting, dangerous, quirky and romantic stories,” she shared.

As for whether we will finally get to see her and Fillion act on those flying sparks, the actress laughed: “It’s obvious they love each other. There is an interesting journey they will go on.

“At the beginning of season four, we find out more about her recovery and the people behind her mother’s murder. She begins a journey of self-discovery.

“One of my favourite episodes is when she has a flashback to the 1940s, thrust into a world of private investigators and gangsters.”

Still keeping a foot in the world of the silver screen, Katic says For Lovers Only struck a chord with the independent film community. And she is pondering taking on a few other projects.

She also expressed a keen desire to work in more period dramas.

“I think Game of Thrones was extraordinary. I want to do some period pieces. It would be lovely to tell great stories, that is my main ambition. And to be working with amazing creators,” she confessed, before saying good-bye as our time was up.

Relieved to be able to put an end to my so-called juggling circus act, I have to admit Katic’s candour and poise are impressive. And I have no doubt her exotic looks and versatility will ensure she is as arresting in her other projects as she is in Castle. Such talent can’t be handcuffed to one show for ever.

• Castle season 4 airs on M-Net Series (DStv channel 110) on Thursday at 7.30pm.

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