Castle is going back to the 1940s. And, fortunately, Tamala Jones is ready to explain exactly what that means for our favorite Castle characters.
The actress who brings Dr. Lanie Parrish to life as the Castle medical examiner spoke to BuddyTV about the unusual episode, “The Blue Butterfly,” which incorporates a film-noir style and a trip back to the 1940s. Keep reading to hear what she said — and watch a clip featuring Tamala Jones‘ film-noir character.
BuddyTV: What can you tell us about “The Blue Butterfly,” the Castle episode airing on Monday?
Tamala Jones: Well, I think this is going to be everybody’s new favorite Castle episode. It’s amazing.
How amazing will “The Blue Butterfly” be? Can Tamala Jones sing? Who has the craziest 1940s accents? Find out in BuddyTV’s Castle review!
BTV: Considering that there’s a whole film-noir story in this episode, how much of the normal Castle plot and setting will we see in “The Blue Butterfly?”
TJ: What happens is, Castle and Beckett are investigating a killing of a treasure hunter, and they discover that that particular case is linked to a mysterious homicide in the 1940s. Castle kind of feels like, to solve the present-day murder, we have to solve the murder from the past. So we have stylized flashbacks that go into the 1940s from the present-day.
BTV: Does the action go back and forth between the 1940s and the present?
TJ: It goes back and forth, but it spends a nice amount of time in both times. It looks really nice.
BTV: What about your own character? Who are you playing in the past?
TJ: I play a chanteuse character, Betsy. She is also the best friend of… Dempsey, this gangster — she’s the best friend of his girlfriend. And the gangster Dempsey is played by Mark Pellegrino, who I love!
BTV: We all love him.
TJ: Isn’t he amazing?
BTV: He really, really is. In everything I’ve ever seen him in.
TJ: Well, wait ’til you see what he does in the Castle episode, playing this character.
BTV: Based on the photos we’ve seen, it looks like you’ll be doing some singing in this episode. What was that like?
TJ: That was exciting. It was really exciting. I am really excited to hear the feedback on that. I’ve never sung in front of a group of people, and when Andrew [Marlowe] asked me, would I do it, I said, yeah, I can do it. And when it got time to do it, I did it. I want to hear what everyone has to say, what they think! It was fun!
BTV: Do you have any singing background at all, or is this the first time for you?
TJ: This is the first time for me. I’ve really never sang outside of my car or the shower! I’ve never sang in front of anyone, so to do that, it just opened up another door to me. And I want to keep doing more of that. Maybe I need to start doing karaoke or something? I don’t know — but it was fun.
BTV: Is your film-noir character of Betsy in any way related to the character of Lanie? Or are we talking about two completely different characters?
TJ: Two completely different characters. I think the thing that they have in common is the confidence about them. Betsy is a lounge singer, a nightclub singer, and people who come to that nightclub, they’re her regulars. She knows everybody and she kind of keeps the people that work there in line and making sure everything runs smoothly.
BTV: To play this part of a 1940s lounge singer, did you have to do any research into period music or film?
TJ: I definitely had to look it up, because the language is different in that time, the attitudes are different in that time. I went online and I pulled a lot of different singers from the 1940s up and watched their mannerisms and body language. I pulled up some old films and listened to the way they spoke and the rhythm of their speech.
I think that we all did some research, because once we all came together, it was like a painting. It was so beautiful.
BTV: During your research, did you find any favorite movies or singers?
TJ: Well, I am a huge fan of Billie Holiday — and Andrew said “Billy Holiday-esque” — I went nuts, just looking her up online. I saw her in the very beginning, all the way to the end.
BTV: What was the best part of doing a film-noir episode of Castle?
TJ: I think that working with Chuck Bowman, who directed, which is our executive producer Rob Bowman’s dad, who is a Hollywood legend. That was the best part, to take direction from him. And the guest cast that we had — Mark Pellegrino and Patrick Cassidy, Chad Everett — we had really great people and it just came together.
BTV: If Castle were to do more theme-episodes in the future, do you have any ideas about what would be the dream theme for you?
TJ: You know what? I’m not only just a cast member, but I am a fan like you guys. I have so many ideas!
What I would like to see Castle do… I would like to have scenes with Castle where we just go out, and he’s following me around for one day, ’cause he’s trying to figure out how I know all of this stuff. He knows the murder side, but he wants to know more that I discover. Something like that.
I’d like to have more scenes with Nathan [Fillion]. I’d like to have a scene with Susan [Sullivan]. There’s so many different ways.
I’d like to do a scene with, you know, our new captain. Maybe people find out that Lanie and the new captain are friends from a long time ago, because we still haven’t seen any interaction with those two. I don’t know if we will.
I have so many ideas for the show! But I’m like you — I have to sit and wait to see what they come up with, and I always love what they do come up with.
BTV: What about “The Blue Butterfly” will appeal to Castle fans?
TJ: I think it gives people a different side of us as actors, to see what we can do. They’re really going to enjoy “The Blue Butterfly.” It embodies everything about the 1940s, and everyone did an excellent job making us feel like we were there.
“The Blue Butterfly” will air on Monday, February 6 at 10pm on ABC.
(Image and video courtesy of ABC)