'Castle' Interview: Tamala Jones on Beckett's Fate, the New Captain and Twitter
'Castle' Interview: Tamala Jones on Beckett's Fate, the New Captain and Twitter
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Castle had one of the biggest panels on the Sunday of the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. Although the official Comic-Con program listed only star Nathan Fillion in attendance, most of the Castle cast joined Fillion on the stage. After the panel, the stars spoke with reporters about Castle, Comic-Con and what's coming next for the show.

Among those stars was Tamala Jones, the actress who plays Castle's medical examiner, Lanie Parrish.

The opening scene of season 4, wow.
Tamala Jones: Yes, that was a very exhausting day for me. I'm not one of those actresses that could just cry when somebody says "Okay, action! Tears!" I don't do that. So I had to be in a very sad, sad place the whole day. I didn't joke around. I didn't get to laugh, which is not like us at Castle, because we're laughing in between takes. I had to stay in the moment the whole time and I hope that it paid off.

But it was good. It's very sad, because we don't know what's going on with Beckett. We don't know if she's gonna live or what. It's still dangling.

But I have spoken to Andrew [Marlowe] and I kind of pitched that in the event that she does survive, I think that Lanie should carry a gun. Just because Captain Montgomery's gone now, and her best friend either is dead or survived a bullet, and now the stakes are higher. We still don't know who her mother's killer is. So that's the thing.


After the second episode, obviously, in the scene that we saw, there's a very strong bond between...
Tamala Jones: Beckett... and Castle? You have been doing this all day!


You're entirely right! But between Beckett and Lanie. Fans want to see more Beckett/Lanie moments. I think that the way the season will be lends to more of that?
Tamala Jones: I think so. I think in the event that Beckett does survive, that her and Lanie will definitely have to become a lot more closer and sister-like. It's the same thing in real life, if you've almost lost a friend or if you had lost a friend, you would think, "I wish I could've said all these things, you know, that I never got to say to them", that you took for granted that they were going to be here to say it, you know, eventually.

If she does, then that's my shot to make up for all the things that I didn't say or didn't do that I should have as a friend, because you never know when they're gonna go. I think that Andrew's definitely gonna explore those avenues, as far as bringing us closer, having more girl time, girl's night out. I think that we should do that. People want to see Beckett and Lanie out, doing something! I think that that would be a good deal if she does.


They keep saying that they need to raise the number of male viewers...
Tamala Jones: Yeah! Put us in some little dresses and send us out! Maybe something happens in the night club we're in. We're just out having a good time and some idiot decides he wants to hold the place up. Who knows? You could play with that in so many different ways. But I would love it. I would love it!


So how's the Lanie/Esposito relationship going this season? Is it still going to be strong or do you anticipate little bumps in the road?
Tamala Jones: There are some bumps in the road. I think it has a lot to do with Esposito being a ladies' man. We have all seen him flirt at crime scenes with witnesses, and I think that Lanie happens to be at a crime scene where that possibly happens. She's like, "Wait a minute now, what is that?" kind of a thing. I think that -- just relationship bumps. The natural rifts that you would have in any relationship where the guy just is out of order a little bit, you gotta put him in his place.


Any word on backstory episodes that we've been teased a couple of years?
Tamala Jones: I know that they are going to dig more into Alexis' backstory, Lanie's backstory and Ryan/Esposito's backstory. I had a meeting with Andrew before the season started, and that is one thing he said that we are gonna definitely get into, because it's time now, for the fans to be able to have some backstory on all of these characters. Now, where he's headed, I couldn't possibly tell you. They're so secretive around there. I mean we're starting the new episode, after this first one, we're starting the second one on Tuesday and I haven't seen the script! So we'll see.


They wanted to wait until after Comic-Con, so you wouldn't give all the goods out.
Tamala Jones: Probably! But I love the first episode. I think everyone is in it, and it's an awesome job. I wanna know what's gonna happen to Beckett and we still don't, so it's a little weird.


Are you gonna have many scenes with Penny [Johnson Jerald]?
Tamala Jones: I don't know. That would be a clash though. My character and her character. Because her, as the new captain, she is hardcore. She is harder than Montgomery ever was. And she's no-nonsense with Castle and Beckett and the guys as well. So the run-in, I think, would happen later on in the season, because they have to establish her and her character in this early part.

But she, man, she plays it so well. Like that woman is not to be played with, at all. She's very strict, her character.


Since her character on 24 was someone that people hated, people might be worried that this new captain is someone they have to hate, who is kind of against the Beckett-Castle thing.
Tamala Jones: I don't think you'll hate her. I think that you'll respect her, like she's coming from that angle, "Yeah, you may not like what I have to say, but you will respect me." And it's by the book.

She does not owe anything to Castle. She does not have a relationship with the mayor, as Castle does and as Montgomery did. So there is no loyalty anywhere. It's about how she wants to run this precinct, and I think that that's gonna cause some rifts with Castle and also between Penny's character and Beckett. You know, Beckett's strong too, so it's like "Hold on a second, sister. Wait a minute now. I've been doing this, I've been here. And you're new." kind of a thing. So you'll see that dynamic play out, but I don't think you'll hate her. I think you'll like her. You won't like her in the beginning, but you will like her towards the end, because you're gonna get it.

And we have great writers. They're gonna do an amazing job on giving you the right balance on hating her and loving her at the same time, I believe.


Since Castle varies so much between full-on comedy and really serious drama, and your character often seems to be right in the middle of whichever direction is going since you're with the bodies and all that. Which do you prefer to play and how do you feel about going between the two?
Tamala Jones: I love being able to do both. Originally, I come from a world of comedy, and I've only done two dramatic projects. This one, and Dangerous Minds, years ago, the television show, which also was on ABC. But that's it. So being able to have the advantage to play in between, it works for me perfectly. 'Cause you miss it if you just do one all the time and you don't get to do the other, so it's great.


You probably have the most active Twitter users for any show...
Tamala Jones: Honestly, those Twitter fans have been so loyal and amazing to us. Some of them are here today. And they come and visit us on the set. They're just so supportive and I think that without them, we wouldn't have survived this long. They had been very adamant about what they want to see, they have written in to ABC. They have jammed Andrew up on Twitter like, "Yo, we need to see X, Y, and Z! We need it! We need it!" and Andrew figures out very clever ways to deliver.

But I love my Twitter fans, I kind of feel like they're my family. I can't say secondary, because Castle's my secondary, but they are a part of my family. I've spoken to a woman about her husband that has diabetes and he's in the hospital. She's @lovemydaughter. I check on his progress all the time because he's been not doing so well, I'm like "We're gonna pray for him and I'll check to see if he's okay." Then I have another one. We stayed on Twitter for like hours. It's @HeatherM and she lost her son four years ago and the anniversary was recent and she just, was going through it. I've never seen this woman but I felt so connected to her. Just trying to inspire her, "He's moved on and he's watching over you now. You've got other children and you have to live for them." And she was like "I know but it hurts and I just feel so alone." We got her to smile, me and this other one, @brandyshitsays. We got her, what is it, @Shitbrandysays. Anyway, we finally got her to cheer up and we felt good about it. So I just don't look at them as fans on Twitter. They really are a part of my life and I thank them for everything that they've done.


Thank you so much. Good luck this season!
Tamala Jones: I was having so much fun with you ladies! Thank you!


Castle will return to ABC on Monday, September 19 at 10pm.

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