Friday, September 17, 2010

Jon Huertas: "Nathan Fillion Is Our Spanky"

Jon Huertas is one busy man. Aside from his busy schedule as Det. Javier Esposito on ABC's hit crime drama Castle, he is also quite a presence in Twitter-verse. He is auctioning himself off, so to speak, for TwitChange, the charity that is "changing the world, one tweet at a time." You can find Jon's auction here, where if you win the auction, Jon will follow you on Twitter, retweet at least one of your tweets to his followers and last, but certainly not least, he will invite the winner to the Castle set as his personal guest. His auction, along with the auctions of hundreds of other celebs, ends Sept. 25, so get on over there and help make a change!

In the meantime, I had the chance to catch up with Jon and tried to get him to spill some details on the upcoming season of Castle, which returns for its third season Monday night, Sept. 20, 10/9c.

Celebrity Extra: You are most well known for your present role of Det. Esposito on Castle, although I know you've had other great roles previously. How did the role of Esposito come about for you?

Jon Huertas: I was in Africa for about eight months shooting that HBO miniseries Generation Kill, and I had just finished that. That was the first time I had played a character who was more like me. We were so much alike, me and my character in Generation Kill, that I wanted to do more of that. I wanted to be able to bring my own experiences in life to a role. Javier Esposito is kind of like a blank canvas. I went in and had my own take on it. Andrew Marlowe, the creator of Castle, responded to that. I was allowed to help create the character of Esposito, help create his back story. Javier has a formal military background. It was really an amazing process that a lot of actors don’t get to experience. I thought it was just an opportunity to be an artist in this industry as an actor.

CE: For me, the writing for Castle is just some of the best in the industry today, with each character being just as important as the "lead" characters.

JH: Oh absolutely. I’ve never been on a show that had such tremendous writing. I think Andrew came from the world of feature films, and in the features world you flesh out and develop characters, and you have only two hours to tell a story. In television, you have a ton of time to develop and play with characters. I think that’s Andrew’s whole vibe. I think he hires writers who kind of have the same mind-set. That’s why I think a lot of people fall in love with all of the characters of the show.

CE: One of my favorite episodes of last season was the one that focused on Esposito and his former partner, whom he thought was dead. You must have been excited when you got the script and saw the meaty part you had in it.

JH: Yes, definitely. When I read that script, people had been throwing hints at me on previous episodes: You’ve got a great script coming up; you’ve got a great script coming up. When I read it, I was just like, “Wow.” Will Beall, the writer who wrote that episode, is actually a former homicide detective. He and I have a lot in common. Me being former military; him being a former homicide detective. We kind of have the regiment — like it’s a regiment of life you have to live by, so we have that in common. We’ve always kind of bonded, and I think he really got me and got my character, and it was such a great experience to just be able to go a little deeper. I got to go a lot deeper in that episode.

CE: Aside from a lot of the serious subject matter of the show, you guys look like you have a lot of fun on the set.

JH: We have fun all the time. We’re like a bunch of kids who have been given the greatest gift in the world, and that’s basically recess and playtime all day long. We take advantage of it. Nathan and I and Seamus really, I think, we’re the three who are the biggest kids on set, and each kid is different, of course. We laugh so much on set, and we get along so well with the crew. The crew is also an amazing crew, and I think it’s because when we did the pilot, we all came together — the actors, producers Rob Bowman, Andrew Marlowe — and we said, "Let’s establish a no-asshole policy on the set." So nobody can be an asshole on the set. If they are, they get called on it and are told they better stop or they’re hitting the road, so nobody’s ever an asshole. Why wouldn’t you want to keep working on Castle?

CE: When I spoke with Nathan last year, he said that you and Seamus were his Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. What would you call Nathan? 

J: Let me think. That’s funny, Nathan. I think I would call Nathan our Spanky from The Little Rascals. Yes — Nathan, he’s our Spanky.

CE: Give me a little tease; what can we expect for season 3?

JH: Well, for season 3 you can expect, from my character in particular, I’m going to have a little bit of an on-screen romance with another member of the cast, female member. A lot of people, I think, have been rooting for that. I’ve been told this happens for sure. Also, for the first episode, there’s a big surprise. Our first suspect in the murder that we are investigating, our first suspect surprises everybody. Other than that I think you are going to see a lot more fleshing out of the satellite characters — Seamus’ character, my character, Tamala’s character. There’s going to be a lot more of that.

CE: Can you tell me a bit about the charity you are involved with, Puppies Behind Bars?

JH: Puppies Behind Bars, I sit on the Board of Directors for that charity. It’s a charity that we train puppies from the age of six weeks to 18 months behind bars, in prison. Our inmates who are in this program, I think, are the best-trained dog trainers in the world. We have dog trainers who are world-renowned dog trainers who go into the prison and teach these guys how to train puppies. We give the puppies to servicemen who have suffered from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, even physical injury. These animals are amazing. They not only rehabilitate the veterans who get these dogs and help them through life on a daily basis, they also rehabilitate the inmates who are training them. These inmates now feel like they have purpose; they have a reason to be. They’ve been taken away from society for so long that they are finally able to give back to society.

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