For seven seasons, the ensemble cast of Castle have proven, time after time, that supporting characters are an integral part of the success of a series. After all, Castle and Beckett simply would not be as compelling without one another, but their story would also not be as endearing to us without their friends, family, and co-workers to share their journey with. Likewise, the stories of these supporting characters have so often proven to add even more depth and enjoyment to the series, allowing us to explore new sides to these characters while allowing the talented actors who portray them to step into the spotlight as well.
Seamus Dever has been a member of the ensemble cast for all seven seasons, portraying the kind-hearted, sentimental, and all-round good guy, Detective Kevin Ryan. From his bromance with Esposito (Jon Huertas) and his idolizing Castle, to his brother/sister relationship with Beckett and his loving role as husband and father, the character of Kevin Ryan has always provided a perfect combination of comic relief and heartfelt drama and it would be impossible to imagine anyone other than Dever in the role.
Dever recently took time out of his busy schedule to give The TV Junkies the scoop on all things Castle, as well as his new indie film project, The Extraordinary Farewell. Speaking to us from his car, on his way home from the vet with his beagle, Daisy (yes, you can all swoon over that!), Dever discussed the recent Ryan-centric episode, what’s coming up on Castle, and how he and the cast are approaching the uncertainty over the future of the series, as well as his role in The Extraordinary Farewell and what fans can do to help support the project.
The TV Junkies: Recently we got to see a little bit more about Ryan’s on-the-side security job and his relationship with his sister and brother-in-law, but we also got a really fantastic look at how he reacted to having a case hit close to home, being the prime witness to a murder he thought he should have been able to prevent. What was this experience like for you and what are you most proud of in terms of that episode?
Seamus Dever: The idea of being kind of front and center and being the through line of the entire case, really having the load on myself, that’s what I’m kind of proud of is being able to do that. It’s not like Ryan was just one component, he was the through line, the drive to solve everything and to sort through everything. So how to do that in a plausible manner when you don’t really have your co-stars to work against was just a different challenge. What I’m proud of is being able to carry this and show that I can be a lead, personally as an actor, and also really having that responsibility and being up to the challenge. Unfortunately for Kevin Ryan, maybe not necessarily unfortunately for the Castle audience, it was kind of back to normal for us [after this episode] so I doubt there’s going to be anything left in this season for Kevin Ryan exploring.
TTVJ: Is there a script that you’ve ever gotten where you were surprised to see a certain storyline being tackled or have you sort of gotten used to the surprises your writers churn out?
SD: I’ll be honest, I don’t really pay attention to the mystery or the ghoulish murder. I guess you kind of get desensitized to that. I think I did early on, I was like ‘this is a really freaky one,’ but now I don’t really do that. [But] I remember reading the “The Wild Rover” script a couple of years ago and just being astonished. I was like, ‘this is going to change, right?’ You go through the process of network drafts, studio drafts, and you say, ‘OK, but when I get to it, it’s going to be Beckett and Castle as the heroes, right?’ And no, it was Kevin Ryan, so I was surprised when that made it through and the ease by which that actually happened was really surprising. [Also], there was a really funny script we did for “Swan Song” a few years ago, it was the mockumentary episode that we did, and I had heard about what it was going to do and I was like, ‘they’re not going to let us shoot this, are they?’ And they did! It was fun and it was funny and I’m very proud of all of our work collectively on that, writers as well as actors and filmmakers.
TTVJ: The show has had incredible success. You’re seven seasons in and despite the age of the series, it continues to resonate so strongly with the audience. What would you attribute that success to?
SD: I think it has been a good combination of classic television elements, where we’re not just a law and order procedural, where we have humour and we have comedy and we have romance, so everything sort of comes together. I think, on our network, in order to capture our audience there has to be a lot of other kinds of elements. There has to be the drama, there has to be the comedy as well, more of a balanced attack towards making a show and I think it’s that balance that has allowed us to grow in our audience. I think we tend to surprise people with our comedic elements as well. Nathan’s very funny, Jon’s very funny, Stana’s very funny, and we let that come through and I think the audience appreciates it.
TTVJ: Speaking of Jon Huertas, I’ve heard that you two are working on something together and being a little secretive about it. Is this something relating to Castle?
SD: It’s definitely related to Castle. Yeah. I can’t say anything more, it’s really awesome.
TTVJ: So you’re keeping this one under wraps?
SD: Yeah, I think we have to. We’ve been working on it, we worked very intensely on it [this past week] and it’s pretty cool. I think some people’s heads are going to explode. It’s great.
TTVJ: What can you tell us about what’s coming up on Castle as you near the end of the season?
SD: We delve back into a ‘where the hell Castle was instead of being at his damn wedding?’ episode. We come back into that and hopefully satisfy people’s curiosity about how that all shook out at the end of last season and the beginning of this season. We’ve got a really funny one coming up [after that]. Terence Winter tends to have a lot of comedy in his stuff so it’s fun. I think it’s called “Saturday Night Dead”. There’s a lot of classic Saturday Night Live moments so look forward to that. I don’t know how we’re going to end the season. I’m just looking at [episode] 22 right now and we’re going 23 so [who] knows what that last episode is going to be about.
TTVJ: Obviously, the question on everyone’s mind is whether the series will return for an eighth season, but I promise I’m not going to ask you what you know about that because I do believe that when you know, we’ll know soon after…
SD: You guys know about [things] before we do. That’s how I get all of my information, from everybody else not connected to the show, that’s sort of the chain of information the way it exists. So yeah, you’ll probably know before I do.
TTVJ: So you’ll find out on Twitter that you’ve been renewed?
SD: Exactly, exactly.
TTVJ: Does not knowing if you’re coming back for another season change the dynamic on the set or the way that you approach these episodes? Or are you all sort of just approaching it the way you would the end of any other season?
SD: We’ve been trying to treat it like, ‘this is it, this is the end, these are the final days.’ There’s nothing indicated in the scripts that there’s any sort of finality or even from the network so it might be the end, and yet we’re not being told that it’s the end, so it sort of messes with your mind only because you can’t really say ‘this is the end.’ We don’t really know. I’m trying to treat it as if it were the end, that way I can appreciate the moments of being with all of these people because I’d hate it to be where we finish and find out a month and a half down the line that we’re at the end and that way, I didn’t have those moments of ‘alright guys, it’s been really great and I really appreciate how we all spent time together and what we did here.’ So I’m mentally preparing myself that this might be the end. And, if so, I’m trying to let everybody know how much I’ve appreciated working with them and how great it’s been. That puts us in a weird position, certainly mentally and emotionally. You want something to end with a punctuation mark but we might end with an ellipsis and that would be strange so I’m trying to create an imaginary punctuation mark that we end with.
TTVJ: Moving on to some happier topics, you’re currently working on an independent film called The Extraordinary Farewell about magician H. Henry Locke and it looks truly fascinating. What can you tell us about this project?
SD: It’s a Faustian tale of a man selling his soul for extraordinary powers and fame, which sort of leads to the idea of someone being barest of a soul and what is that like. Then, when he’s headed to his final performance, he finds a glimmer of hope and proceeds to maybe create his ultimate trick, which is outwitting the devil. It’s the idea of someone who’s been sort of spent and used by an evil power and where that leads them, having one final push of hope. It’s fascinating. There’s a magic element that’s there but also, the best part of it, it makes you sort of question if real magic is even possible and what it would mean if it were.
TTVJ: You have a really great and innovative online campaign going at indiegogo.com to help fund the project and you’re offering some great perks to fans that donate to give back to them for taking the time and investing the money to help fund this project. Tell us a bit about that campaign and what people can do to help out.
SD: You can go to indiegogo.com and learn about the project and watch our teaser trailer. We put together an awesome minute and a half trailer that gives you a little sample. We have an amazing [Director of Photography] named Zoltan Honti, who was a protégé of Vilmos Zsigmond, so he’s got a very great look. We basically only filmed it in a day, shot a couple of scenes, and stitched it together for the purposes of the trailer. It will give you a good idea about where we’re headed, the atmosphere of the movie, the energy of the piece. And take a look at the perks [available with donations]. We’re really making it a transparent experience to be a part of filmmaking. We’re allowing the idea for people to get really involved in the filmmaking process who have maybe been very curious about it but didn’t know where to start or didn’t think that would ever be possible from the comfort of their home. I think there’s an element where people are sort of fascinated with the way this all comes together, so this is a way to get it from the ground floor and see the entire process from start to finish.
TTVJ: Is there anything else you want to share with us about your experience on Castle, any parting words for anyone reading this?
SD: It’s been a lot of fun and if this is the end, it will be sad to leave these friends of mine that I’ve become very close with. I’ve never worked with a group of people as long as this on any job, or really anywhere. I’ve become very close to this group of people that I get to see every day and have the pleasure of working with. The saddest thing is going to be not seeing Jon Huertas every day because we’ve become really close and good friends and creative collaborators. I’ll miss Nathan and Stana as I’ve gotten very close with those guys as well and seeing them every single day. It’s been a great experience and it opened up some doors for me and if this is the end, I guess you have to embrace that it might be the end. We’ve been in limbo for about five or six months and I kind of knew that we would be approaching this time, that we might not have any definitive word on whether or not it’s continuing. So I’m just trying to be positive about this whole thing and appreciate the experience.
While the Castle cast and crew may finish filming this season before any decisions have been made and fans around the world are left in limbo as well, hoping for the eventual news of a renewal, Dever’s words are perhaps the wisest words to live by as we all wait to find out the fate of the series.
What did you think of our interview with Seamus Dever? Did you enjoy his performance in “At Close Range?” What do you think of the cast members approaching the end of the season as if it may be the end of the series? Would you do the same if you were in their position? Are you interested to see The Extraordinary Farewell? Share your thoughts with us in our comment section below!
Lisa Caputo is a proud TV Junkie, something that is evident by her extensive collection of TV shows on DVD and Blu-Ray. A trained scriptwriter, cinematographer, and video editor, Lisa is a firm believer in the craft of storytelling, always looking for compelling stories, captivating characters, and a healthy dose of clever dialogue and stunning drama. Before joining TheTVJunkies.com, she was a freelance writer for TV Guide Canada, covering shows like Castle, Grey’s Anatomy, The Following, Revenge, Big Brother, and Big Brother Canada. You can catch her on Twitter at @Lisa_Caputo.