Tamala Jones is the voice of reason on the ABC series, ‘Castle.’ And by voice of reason, we mean the character, Lanie, trying to get Det. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) together with Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) – and we wish that she’d hurry up and do it already!
But the biggest question on everyone’s mind other than the cop and the writer’s sexual tension is whether or not ABC will bring the series back for the 2009/2010 season – since ‘Castle’ was not among one of the series that received an early pickup. Tamala tells us there might be good news on the horizon, and talks about what it’s like to work with perhaps the funniest (and hottest) man in showbiz – Nathan Fillion.
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We did a set visit a few weeks ago and Nathan was so funny. Is he always cracking jokes on set?
Yeah he’s like the practical joker on set. He is so much fun. Even though we deal with real story lines about homicides and stuff like that he is the one who’s the light on the set. No one can ever some grumpy because he will wipe it away.
Tell me a Nathan set story.
Oh where do I begin with that guy? Well he has a push scooter that he rolls around set on. He side swipes people when we’re getting ready for rehearsal. He’ll come in flying on this push scooter screaming out of the way! Nathan Fillion is coming through! He’s so funny.
Why do you think that Lanie seems to be the only one that sees a connection between Castle and Beckett?
Well as you’ll get to see Lanie and Beckett are really great friends. She knows Beckett. Beckett takes her life way too seriously. And Castle is her outlet, he still knows how to handle business but he’s opening her up and she’s smiling more. You know this woman’s character has been hurt so many times. Her dad is no longer here. It’s just her and the different situations that she has to face with different homicide victims. They all are part of her so when Castle comes into her life he eases her up. He’s like okay let me give this girl some personality because she needs to open up. And you can totally tell when your best friend can be denying something. They can be like I don’t want to date anyone, I don’t want to see anyone, but your best friend knows you. And she’s going to be like you’re lying, I know you’ve got the hots for that guy. So that’s basically Lanie towards Beckett and that’s why she’s able to see that.
How far does the women’s relationship go back?
I think they met when they were professionals. I think that what you’ll get to see next season (hopefully, fingers crossed we come back) she is a wild girl. I mean she knows her stuff, she knows how to determine how death was caused and that’s like second nature to her. But she has a life outside of that. And I think that’s also what she wants Beckett to do. Kind of like lets go hang out. You don’t always have to hang out with me and go drinking. Why don’t you go hang out with Castle? See some guys. But I think they met professionally for sure.
What’s one thing about Lanie that you see in her character but that we haven’t yet seen on an episode?
I think Lanie has a little Beckett in her too. You know, had a hard time growing up and made every effort to do the opposite of the environment she was brought up in. But she enjoys life. She doesn’t take things too seriously other than her job. She knows what everything means. It is what it is. Everything is black and white with her. There is no in between.
Since you’re a medical examiner on the show how did you prepare for the role? Did you have to hang out with real cadavers?
I wanted to do that and I was offered that but me and dead bodies in real life? I couldn’t handle it. So I watch a lot of True TV and Doctor G Medical Examiner. She’s amazing. It’s this woman talking about her patients as if they are still alive. And she describes what happened and what was the cause. She can basically look at the insides of their skulls and see if the person actually fell on their own or was it a forced push. And that’s why the skull is cracked open and the way she talks is like you know, my guy, he was alive during 0800 hours and now he’s gone. And I have to go inside and figure out what did he ingest. The way she’s talking to them is crazy. I fell in love with her. And I also love Forensic Files. They are on True TV.
God, I would probably faint or have nightmares.
They do the job on the show though as far as bloating the bodies. The makeup artists that we have are amazing.
Do you have professional medical examiners on the set as consultants to tell you how to do certain things?
Yeah for instance in episode two or three there was a frozen body who has been in a freezer for a very long time. And the person finally took them out and they were un-thawing. We has to have a medical examiner show us and the person who was playing the dead person, you’re fingers don’t move. You fingers don’t move regardless if you’re frozen or not. So when I was to lift up her hand and start looking for things even if her finger was up and the other was down it needed to be stiff. They are very adamant about that. We make a lot of mistakes where we allow the body to be flimsy. And they’re not. Rigor mortis has set in and you have to understand that that’s within the few hours of death. So we hit the notes from there.
How is your show different from other detective shows? Like Bones, Fringe, and even X-Files?
Well I think our show differs because we also show family. It’s about Castle’s family. He’s a single parent and he has a daughter he’s raising and his mother is there who I love. Oh I love his mother. But you get to see his home life and he’s not a detective. He’s a murder book story writer. To see that dynamic with the homicide detectives works. And those two detectives are hilarious. You still get the ‘Moonlighting’ effect where there’s that romance underneath the job. It’s a bit more family though and sometimes when we watch these shows we only see them go to work. And we don’t really see where they come from or why they are the way that they are.
What has been your favorite or most memorable episode so far?
I love the episode where there were charities going on and someone was getting lists of people involved in the charities and they would go there, take pictures of the jewelry and then he would steal from them. In that episode Castle gets Beckett a dress after getting the tickets. And she was like no we’re not doing this, it’s not part of the job. And it ended up being part of the job going to the charity, getting dressed up to catch the guy. And I really liked that one because you really got to see Becket melding in with Castle.
What’s coming up in the finale?
I can’t really say much but I can just tell you if you haven’t noticed each episode gets better and better literally every week. The last one is going to have your mouth watering. You’re going to want more. It’s gonna leave you hanging. You’re like ahh!!! I gotta wait till next season? It’s a good one.
I know that ‘Castle’ wasn’t on the list of early pick ups but have you heard anything yet?
Well we were told to set a date aside for the international press tour so we shall see. It’s always good when they tell you to save the date. It looks good. I honestly think they will because when you have a show like this to take it off immediately didn’t really give it a shot. And the following is so huge. Our numbers are terrific. I don’t want to speak out of term here but I honestly think that we will be picked up.
I know you worked with Tracy Morgan on the Tracy Morgan Show. What was he like?
That man is crazy. It was such a joy to work with him because again he’s like Nathan but Tracy is much crazier. The days to come in was like a vacation. We were constantly laughing. Tracy would be like [copying Tracy Morgan] ‘man I didn’t eat no breakfast this mornin. Is someone gonna give me some breakfast cause you know when I eat I’m sweet like bear meat.’ You know, he would just come up with these bear meat things. The guy had a saying for everything. He’s hilarious. He loves kids because we had two kids on the show. He’s the best. If I had to go away and leave my kids with someone I would leave them with Tracy because I know that they would be in great hands. They might be crazy when I get back but they will be in good hands. He’s a great guy and he’s so talented and I honestly believe that one day we’re going to see Tracy do a dramatic role that is going to shock everyone. Because as funny as he is, he’s so well rounded. I know he could be nominated for an Oscar for the right role and put in the right situation because he’s amazing. I’m telling you, there is not a dull moment around that guy.
What can we look forward to between Castle and Beckett?
I can’t really say anything about that. But I want to tell you that it gets close. A bedroom scene gets close.
Watch ‘Castle’ Mondays on ABC at 10/9c