Dillon Casey joined the CW show, Nikita, at the start of season 2 in the fall of 2011. The show follows the agents of a secret organization called Division. Dillon plays Sean Pierce, an Oversight agent.
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Dillon spoke with BuddyTV this week about Nikita, how he almost didn’t audition for the show, and what’s coming up next for his character. Below is our exclusive interview.
What attracted you to this role that you have? What made you say “I need to do this show”?
Actually, it was just the opposite, which is probably why I got the part. I mean, when you think back, when you’re auditioning, you’re an actor, if you tend to care too much–when you go to an audition, you go in with this feeling of desperation and fear. They can smell it on you. Nine times out of 10, you’re not going to get the part.
When I went to audition for this, I had something else planned that I wanted to do that lined up with the shooting dates. My dad had planned a trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro, a sort of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I was just, like, “you know, I’m gonna go on this trip.” My manager sent me the audition, and he said, “I know you’re not gonna be around, but the part suits you, you know, just in case…” So it was one of those things where I read it, I really loved the part, and I said, “yeah, sure, I’ll go in for this.” But I didn’t really expect to get it because I had this other great thing planned.
I sort of convinced myself that I didn’t care too much, so I was a little more relaxed when I went in there. And as soon as I did it, as soon as I walked out, I knew I was gonna get the part. I just felt something about it. It’s one of those things where I convinced myself I didn’t want the part. That’s probably why I got it. When all’s said and done, it’s amazing. I’m so glad it’s worked out really well.
Yeah, it has. Did you watch the first season before you joined the show?
No. Actually, after I got the part, I caught up and watched it all in a marathon, and sort of caught up and caught the tone of the show and where my character will fit in. But up until that point, I heard that it was a great show on The CW, but I never watched it.
Your character is Sean Pierce. As we mentioned, he was introduced in season 2. Coming into season 2, was it odd to come into the show when it was already established and when the rest of the cast had already been together for a year?
Yeah, that can be a really intimidating thing. I’ve done a lot of guest stars and a lot of recurrings. And when you’re doing those types of roles, you’re always jumping into a set full of people that have already clicked and already know how to work together, so you have this feeling that they’re looking at you, thinking, “How did this guy get cast? He better do something amazing to show us why he made it on the show.”
And then, in this case, it was a huge part. It was recurring. The producers weren’t sure if they were going to turn it into a regular part, so there was definitely a lot of pressure there to kind of blow them away right off the start. And it’s interesting because they all knew each other. They all had a dynamic that I needed to slowly become a part of it. But at the start, I was just an outsider, and I felt that they were all looking at me and thinking, “who’s the new guy?” Yeah, it’s definitely tough.
We learned several episodes into the season that Sean is the son of Senator Pierce, one of Oversight’s main leaders. Did you know about this connection between your characters going in, or is that something the writers wanted to keep under wraps?
Actually, for the auditions, one of the scenes was between Sean and Madeline. And it was a great scene where Sean’s mother is asking him to get into Division and clean it up. She’s telling him that she created this underground covert operation and it’s gone wrong. She’s lost control of it. So she’s telling Sean she needs him to go in there to clean it up and regain control of it.
Now, that scene didn’t make it in. It was supposed to be in the second episode, but because of time constraints and also because of the arc that they wanted for Sean and his mother, they didn’t want anybody to know that this woman was his mother until later on in the show. So I knew about all those connections. I was ahead of the audience at that point.
Speaking of parents, what’s it like having Alberta Watson as your on-screen mother?
She’s great. She’s a veteran Canadian actor. She’s been around for a while, so it’s always a learning experience working with her. She has this incredible ability to just take lines–She has this really spontaneous feeling to her and nothing’s very precious to her, if that makes any sense. She can get new lines and just makes it hers right away. And seeing somebody work like that is just great, and it’s just been an awesome learning experience.
Your character is very loyal to his mother, perhaps too loyal sometimes. How far do you think Sean will go to protect his mother?
You know, it’s hard to say. How far you would go? I mean, it’s family. Family’s one of those things where it trumps all. So, it’s tough to say because…I don’t know. Being family is up there, so I think that he’ll go as far as he has to go.
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Many fans have noticed the chemistry between your character and Lyndsy Fonseca’s character, Alex. Was this potential romance something that was pitched to you right from the start, or did that develop over time as your characters began to have more interaction?
It’s interesting. That’s, again, one of those things where I knew that it was a possibility. Before I went into my first day of shooting, [show creator] Craig Silverstein sat me down and he told me what he’s looking for in this character, the potential things that he wants to happen here. And one of them was, “You know, we want to potentially make him a love interest for Alex, but we’re not really sure yet. So it depends on how you guys get along and how it’s coming across on camera.”
So, I haven’t tried to give us any extra chemistry or push it that way, but apparently it’s coming across. So, again, it’s all natural. It’s all organic. So whatever’s happening there, I think the writers are adapting to it and they’re sort of taking what we’re doing on camera and making it, moving forward, using that. Again, it’s still not even sure if there is something, so you never know.
Do you like this path that your characters are heading down, this potential romance?
Yeah, I like it. I like the way that they’re really taking their time with it, and they’re letting it happen naturally. The problem is, with television, once they get together, where do you go from there? The writers, they seem to know what they’re doing.
Your character has kind of been torn lately between his loyalty to his mother and his connection to Alex. Do you think that he’s going to be forced to pick a side, or will circumstances maybe take that choice away from him? Or does it even matter?
I don’t know. He hasn’t been forced yet. It would have to be a life or death situation. Because I have the feeling that Sean, no doubt, would always go to his mother. He always picks his family. And family means a lot to him. He’s been in a lot of situations where he kind of has had to choose.
Sean has basically, up until now, when he’s had to rationalize what he’s doing, he knows inside him that Division is a traitorous organization and he knows that his mother is a part of that. He’s had to put all that aside and say, “It doesn’t matter. She’s my mother. We’ll talk about this later. Right now, I just want to make sure she’s safe.” He hasn’t been forced yet. And I don’t know what will force him, but it would have to be a pretty dire situation.
Can you tease us with anything that might be coming next from your character in future episodes?
I only know what’s happening in this week’s episode. Sean’s loyalties are going to have to be tested, just like you said, when you asked me if he’s going to have to pick a side. But I think that he’s going to have to also make his mother pick a side…because Sean hasn’t heard Nikita’s side of the story yet. He’s only heard his mother’s and he’s only seen what he’s seen from Division’s point of view. So, he’s definitely going to have to pick a side this week.
We’re really looking forward to that.
He’s trying to be loyal and he’s, you know…
Exactly. Besides Nikita, do you have any other shows or movies coming up, or is Nikita your only focus right now?
I have a movie coming out on Valentine’s Day called The Vow. It’s a movie with Channing [Tatum] and Rachel McAdams, in the vein of The Notebook. It’s a really nice love story.
Besides Nikita, Dillon Casey also has a Funny or Die web series, Living in LA with Dillon Casey. Check out episode 1, “Fun in the Sun,” below. And you can find out more about Dillon at his website, Casey Brothers.
Living in LA With Dillon Casey Episode 1: “Fun in the Sun!” – watch more funny videos
Nikita airs Friday nights at 8pm on The CW.
(Image courtesy of The CW)