Stana Katic Builds Up ‘Castle’

Stana Katic is the new Johnny LaRue.

Physically, no.

But they share similar excitements with regard to the making of TV shows.

Katic stars alongside fellow Canadian Nathan Fillion in Castle, which is in its fourth season and airs Mondays on ABC and CTV.

Johnny LaRue, meanwhile, was a fictional character played by the late John Candy on SCTV in the 1980s.

Remember how Johnny LaRue always was angling for an expensive “crane shot” for his TV productions?

Katic isn’t keen on cranes specifically, but she admitted the only reason she cares at all about TV ratings is that the better they are, the bigger the budget.

“It means we get an explosion,” Katic said. “It means, ‘Ooh, yay, we can have a helicopter in this episode.’ Or Beckett (Katic’s character) gets to go skydiving.

“I don’t pay attention to the numbers, really, but obviously they’re important for production, because it means we can tell bigger and better stories.”

The subject of ratings and budgets came up when it was suggested to Katic that while Castle was not an overnight success, it has become the epitome of a slow-build series that does well on both sides of the border.

And slow-build series tend to last longest.

“I think it has been a service and a disservice,” Katic observed. “We’ve been the little engine that could. And we truthfully survived only because maybe one higher-up, or two higher-ups, let us hang in there, and because of the fans, with their word-of-mouth, or word-of-Internet, kind of engagement.

“But it seems like it’s not something the industry really is aware of, you know? Part of it is because we didn’t have that extreme firecracker start. There were places where I think people might have deserved some level of recognition (award nominations, etc.), and they’re not necessarily getting that because the show didn’t pop immediately.”

Katic said she actually prefers Castle’s path, since it has allowed the show to find its groove at its own pace. But with all things in life, you give up something to get something.

“Longevity is a sweetness in its own right,” Katic said. “But it comes down to, if the show pops immediately, then you get greater support from your network, you get greater support from a business end of things, and you can create bigger and better shows, which is everyone’s goal.

“So we’re still saying, ‘We can tell a really great story, just give us a chance.’ Whereas something like Heroes, they’re like, ‘Hey man, the world is your oyster, whatever story you want to tell, let us know.’ ”

But where is Heroes now, Stana? A phenomenon in its first season, Heroes was cancelled after its fourth, with hardly anybody paying attention to the final two.

“It’s true, exactly,” Katic said.

“I’m surprised by how many people are aware of our show when I get out of my cave of creativity. It’s nice when you go out there and realize people are responding to the work.”

Seems there’s more than one way to build a Castle. Sometimes you don’t even need a crane.