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Castle

Castle Clip, Interview: Joshua Bitton on Playing a Slob, Joining the Team

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While we already heard Seamus Dever’s take on tonight’s new episode of Castle, there’s a new face who also has something to say about the happenings at the 12th precinct.

Detective Frank “Sully” Sullivan - remember this first look photo? - will make his presence and his messy desk known in "Need to Know," as we grabbed some time with actor Joshua Bitton to discuss the detective and what we can expect from him going forward.

Bitton, who you may recognize from performances in show like The Mentalist and HBO’s The Pacific, explained how Sully interacts with Castle, Beckett and the rest of the crew, while also teasing the the case in tonight’s installment along with how long we can expect Sully to stick around. And scroll down for an exclusive sneak peek as well...

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TV Fanatic: You’ve played detectives before, but is there a different way you approach playing one in Castle?

Joshua Bitton: The first time I ever played a cop, I did a pilot for Spike TV, and we shot in Vancouver and we had a ride-along with the SWAT guys for a couple days. They took us out a couple times, and they talked to me about how they make it their everyday life, so even at a murder scene, they crack jokes, often very inappropriate ones, because that’s their day-to-day, so it’s almost like any other job with just higher stakes.

So, for me, in this, Sully’s the new guy and all I really want to do is try and fit in so I’m constantly trying to find all the answers and get in on the jokes. I don’t know how successful I am, but I try, and the guys have been really helpful, let me play with that and it’s been a lot of fun.

TVF: Is Sully the kind of character who’s maybe a little insecure? That’s why he wants to fit in so easily, so much?

JB: Absolutely. He’s really the new kid on the block [and] part of Sully’s thought process is that he’s coming in with the big boys, and so, very much so, he wants to let them know that he’s not going to let them down.

TVF: Who are most of your scenes with?

JB: With Seamus, Jon (Huertas), Nathan and Stana. I’ve really got to work with the whole team, and they are awesome. They really are. They love each other, they make each other laugh, they play, we find jokes in the scenes. We find jokes out of the scenes. I’ve had a real blast working on this show.

Castle has its rhythm. You come in and you’ve seen the show, but to play in it, it can be a different thing, and Seamus is super helpful. I know John because he did Generation Kill and I did The Pacific so we were shooting at the same time, and we met in audition and we had a lot of the same experiences to share. So, we’ve known each other casually over the years, and when I showed up on the first day, it was like, big hugs, ‘So happy you’re here, I’m so excited you’re playing this part.’

TVF: Gates (Penny Johnson Jerald) is that hard-nosed chief we know from TV cop shows…

JB: She can give you a look that really makes your knees buckle and I get both sides of it. There’s a sense of, ‘You’re the new guy, go do this,’ and what’s really fun working with her is that you feel that.

TVF: What can you tell me about the case in your first episode?

JB: There is a story of a child star, akin to a Saved By The Bell-type of actor, who is found murdered in a pretty horrific way. So, that’s one of the cases that I work on, which was really fun because there was the whole idea, like a Saved by the Bell show that we’ve all seen. So, it was this little world that they created with catch-phrases and things that we would all know and want to be a part of.

TVF: Do you get to do much with a gun and do some action scenes?

JB: I get involved in some stuff. I get involved in some investigating. I didn’t get to draw my weapon yet. We’ll see, maybe something down the line.

TVF: What’s the relationship between Sully and Beckett? Is there camaraderie there or is she not even regarding him?

JB: Well, it’s really interesting. There’s an interesting dynamic there, because for Sully, Beckett’s a legend. Now, the fact that I’m part of a team that Beckett’s part of…for her, I think there’s a sense of ‘who is this guy?’ Sully’s an interesting character. He’s a bit of a slob, and Beckett’s really ordered. She just really does her job. She’s a super-cop, to Sully. So, that was something that was fun to play with, because it definitely started out as just ‘how does she feel about me? I hope I don’t mess this up.’

TVF: It sounds like Sully isn’t quite as well dressed as Seamus and Jon are no the show…?

JB: It’s possible that my desk looks like a bomb hit it and that I might sleep on it sometimes. I definitely am a little schlumpy and frumpy compared to those guys, because they are clean. They have their own style.

TVF: What’s the Sully/Castle relationship like? Is he bringing him in under his wing, or is he more riding him a little bit?

JB: That has been a really fun dynamic to play with. One, Nathan is hilarious. Everyone knows this, but he’s really funny. So, there have definitely been moments of challenge, just keeping a straight face while on camera; with all the guys, to be honest. They’re all really funny.

You know, when I first meet Castle, we don’t have the  smoothest introduction and so there is this sense of ‘I know who he is.’ I think maybe I’m secretly a fan but I have a job to do and he’s a writer and he crosses that line a lot. Then, he’s such a part of the guys that, I think, in the same way that I want Beckett to like me, I want Castle to like me and I don’t know how successful I’m going to be. We do team up. I do get to team up with them and show my value a couple times.

TVF: So far, Sully appears in two episodes. Is the door left open to seeing more of you beyond these two episodes?

JB: I hope so. Where we were while we shooting it, Sully’s part of the team, and where that goes, I think depends on what the writers see. As someone said to me, they said, ‘Look, nobody’s put a bullet in your head, and so, maybe we get to see you again.’ I got to be honest, I honestly could say I don’t think I could be more thrilled, if I was able to go back there, because the cast, the crew, they really are a big, giant family…it’s a really fun place to work.

Castle airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC. You can keep tabs on Bitton, who is currently in the Los Angeles-based play Lost Girls, by following him on Twitter.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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I hope he's a recurring character. It's refreshing to have a new character in the precinct.

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Shouldn't your title say slob instead of snob? Thanks for the little short video. ABC has been really stingy with their sneak peaks and promos this week. The one on Revenge was only about 10 seconds if that long.

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