Media Q&A with actress Stana Katic

Actress Stana Katic is known for her role as Detective Kate Beckett in the ABC series “Castle”.

The half Serbian and Croatian actress grew up in Canada and the United States  and studied at Chicago’s Goodman School of Drama.  In 2004, she made her first television debut as a flight attendant on “Alias” followed by appearances on “L.A. Dragnet” and “The Shield”.  But in 2006, the actress appeared on the series “24” and in 2007 on the series “Heroes” which would lead to feature film roles in “Quantum of Solace” and “The Spirit”.

“Castle” revolves around Richard Castle (played by actor Nathan Fillion, “Firefly”, “Drive” and “Desperate Housewives”) as the famous mystery novelist who is adored by many but behind-the-scenes, he is a playboy who has an on-and-off fling with his ex-wife (who is an actress), another ex-wife who is his publisher and lives with his bright teenage daughter Alexis (played by actress Molly Quinn, “My One and Only”) and his meddlesome mother and former Broadway actress, Martha Rodgers (played by Susan Sullivan, “The Nine”, “Dharma & Greg”).

There is a lot of pressure on Nathan to create another book and with him stuck on what to write next, his luck starts to change when he meets by-the-book Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic, “Heroes”, “The Spirit”, “Quantum of Solace”) who is investigating several murders which have taken place and the way that they were done, were like the murders featured in several of his novels. Because of his knowledge of how things end up with his books, he gets the opportunity to assist the detectives in their case.

Eventually, Richard Castle discovers that he can do several things in his life. Write his new book based on Detective Beckett, see if he can woo Detective Beckett and most of all to investigate other murders which he can incorporate ideas for his new book. At first, it seems implausible but with Castle being so well-known and friends with the mayor, Captain Montgomery (Ruben Santiago-Huds0n) will do what he can to make the mayor and his boss happy, so he allows Richard to tag along with Detective Beckett.

Needless to say, she’s not happy about it but with his skills of mystery writing and her skills as a detective, the two find out that together, they can be an effective duo in crime solving. But as they later find out, the two are developing feelings for each other, but both keep it inside in order to keep their professional relationship platonic.  But how long can that last?

Season four of “Castle” premiered on ABC on Sept. 19th.  With the upcoming release of “Castle: The Complete Third Season” (read our review for the DVD box set here), the following is a transcript of a brief media Q&A with actress Stana Katic as she reflects on the third season “Castle”.

What do you like about Kate Beckett, the character you play on Castle?

STANA:  I like the way that Kate is imperfectly perfect. She doesn’t always make the right choices, but she will try to. When she doesn’t make the right choice, for whatever reason, she wants to get it right in the end. I like that about her. I like it when a person fails by accident, but they then step up to the plate in order to try and fix things. Kate always tries to do better. She always tries to improve.


Do you think that helps the audience relate to Beckett?

STANA: Absolutely. Beckett is not always going to make the right choices and I think that’s what everybody faces on a daily basis. Sometimes we screw up and in spite of screwing up you’re still given an opportunity to go back up to the plate and try again. Life says, “Hey, it’s a new day. Try it again and try to do it better.” Beckett is that kind of character. That’s probably what I like the most about her. She’s like a hero who is flawed and I think that’s why she really has a connection with the audience.


How does Beckett cope with relationships in Season Three?

STANA:  I love the way that she handles relationships this season. I understand that she is a girl who doesn’t want to break up something that’s really great. She doesn’t want to break up a great friendship and a great working relationship. I think any girl in Beckett’s situation would probably make the same choice.


Does she continue to investigate the murder of her mother in Season Three?

STANA:  Definitely. And there are some huge revelations that happen this season, too. Beckett might not show it during other episodes, but she is continuing to do her own pursuit at home for sure.


How do you keep your character so fresh on a long-running show?

STANA:  It’s my job to keep it interesting for me, as well as for the people who are watching. As an actor, you try to attack a scene that you might have done 30 different ways already. You have to find the 31st way. As we keep exploring Beckett’s inner life and peeling away layers of her, there will be so many more beats to play.


There are rumors that the cast gets to sing together this season… Is that true?

STANA:  There is an episode in Season Three that revolves around an old bar in New York. If you’ve ever been to New York, you’ll know that there is a great pub culture there where people circulate around the same bar. It’s a hangout for people, and in a way, it’s almost like Cheers. That episode is all about finding a community around a place and Castle ends up buying the bar at the end of the episode. So, we all had aCheers moment and sang together.


We don’t usually get to hear the cast sing… How did everyone do?

STANA:  Everybody on the cast has a beautiful voice, from Nathan and Seamus to Ruben and Jon, who is actually recording his own CD project on the side. It wasn’t difficult to film, other than we had to have a series of close ups singing, so they did extra takes just to get those. But everyone’s voices are really fantastic.


Will the bar become a new set on the show?

STANA:  I hope so. I know that’s probably on the writers’ radar, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.


Beckett often gets into scrapes in the show. Do you enjoy playing the physical side of the character?

STANA:  I love it! I have a lot of brothers, so I had to survive when I was growing up. In that way, I’ve had a lot of practice and I find it easy to do physical stuff. I really love it, and I’d love to do more of it. I want to do action films one day. I want to go and hang from wires, and jump off bridges, and hang on bungee cords. I’ve always really loved it.


What are your main priorities when you’re not working?

STANA:  The most important thing for me in life is to explore and to live as fully as possible, to be as fully engaged and fully alive as I can be.


Have you reached the point where you are recognized wherever you go now?

STANA:  No, I’m not fully there. Occasionally people recognize me. When I went to the Oscars, somebody asked me to sign their program, which was really nice and very flattering.


Can you tell us about the environmental project you’re involved with?

STANA:  Sure. I started a scheme called The Alternative Travel Project and the idea behind it is very simple: that by making a small change in your own life, you can affect the world. If a big group of people decides to make a decision together, the ripple effects across the globe can be life altering.


Are your Castle co-stars involved with the project?

STANA:  I recorded a series of videos with Seamus Dever, who plays Detective Kevin Ryan on the show. We gave up our cars for seven days to see what would happen. The idea was to ask people across the globe to go car-free for just one day – and it worked. People began writing in to pledge their own day without a car. And now it’s cascading into something bigger because schools want to be a part of it, too.


Are you proud of the effect the project has had so far?

STANA:  Absolutely. It’s wonderful because people are discovering new ways of traveling and it’s opening up different lifestyles to them. We have a school in Romania that goes car-free every Friday, and we’ve heard beautiful stories from places like Columbia where they have had car-free days for years. We have supporters across the globe in countries like Belgium, France, England, Saudi Arabia, Japan, all over North America and Latin America. Everyone is trying to give up cars for a day. There’s even a girl in Michigan who started traveling to work on a surfboard everyday. It’s really neat.


What are your ambitions for The Alternative Travel Project?

STANA:  My end goal is to hopefully change the experience of travel and lifestyle here in Los Angeles. I want to start on a small scale with L.A. and then maybe encourage people across the globe to have that same experience in their own cities. For Europeans, it almost seems absurd because not traveling by car is ingrained in their culture. But Los Angeles is a really car-centric society, so for us to find ways of traveling without automobiles is a little more difficult.


What do you like to do during your downtime?

STANA:  On set, I might read in my trailer. I’ll put on some music or watch a DVD. And if we have a lot of time off from the show, I’ll go and travel. I read a lot of film projects, too. I’m always looking for the next movie I would like to do during our Castle hiatus, so that takes up a lot of my time.


What are your favorite books?

STANA:  I have a number of favorite books that I have talked about in the past like Zorba The Greek and The Master And Margarita. I just finished a book called City Of Refuge by Tom Piazza, which is about the hurricane floods in New Orleans. It’s a fascinating read.


What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

STANA: I love everything from classical to independent music, as well as folk music from across the globe. Today, I’ve been listening to The Raconteurs, Florence And The Machine and U2. I listen to whatever you can possibly imagine. I really, really love music. It’s an important part of my day to just sit down and listen to some extraordinary compositions. I love it. It’s the perfect way to relax.