When BollySpice first chatted with Castle star Jon Huertas two years ago, we learned of his love for Bollywood and that he would love to be a romantic action hero in a Bollywood film. We wondered if he still had Bollywood in his sights. Recently, Reema got the amazing chance to sit and talk with Jon in LA and had a fabulous conversation with the actor. Not only did she find out more about his Bollywood dream, she also got to hear exclusively what else is going on in his busy career, other than playing Detective Javier Esposito on ABC’s popular TV series Castle. Read on to find out what he loves about Bollywood, a little about his new music career, and of course, life on Castle.
So last time BollySpice talked to you, you said you would love to be in a Bollywood film. Is that something you are still interested in doing?
Oh I’m absolutely interested in doing a Bollywood movie, you know I’m a big fan of Bollywood films. The thing about Bollywood that impresses me is the talent and skill that goes into producing a Bollywood film, not only from the choreographer, director, crew members but also the actors and performers, being able to dance and also put emotion into the work as an actor. I think they are some of the most entertaining films out there. As much as I love our industry, our movie industry here in the US, I think that Bollywood’s special because they put out a lot of movies, they put out more movies than Hollywood does. It’s interesting to me how they are able to turn out so much product not only with their movies, but also their music videos. Everything looks amazing. And I know a lot of people that I work with here in Hollywood, they think that nobody does it as well as Hollywood. And in a way I agree, but in India, the quality of film making, the shots, the direction, it’s probably more comparable to what we do than any other country. I’ve seen some amazing music videos that are super inspiring.
My goal is to get to India, I’ve never been. I wanna get there, I want to take in the country, the history, to work there, and to actually learn more about the infrastructure of Bollywood. I’d like to get there and learn how they do it. I know what our process is, I want to know what their process is. I’d like to see what the film schools might be like in India, if people just kinda pick it up, if it’s a passed down tradition from a family member. I know in India, there’s a lot more tradition like that.
Bollywood movies combine my love of musical theater and my love of film making. I would love to do a Bollywood movie because I would love to challenge myself.
Have you watched many Bollywood films lately?
You know what, I haven’t caught up this year on new releases yet, but yeah, I watch a lot of Bollywood movies every year, and there’s so many. I just go on Netflix, and there’s tons of Bollywood movies there.
Any favorite actresses you’d love to work with?
They’re all pretty hot, so…(laughs) I’d work with all of them. Not one particular one, no. I’m not one of those people that kinda gravitates to one or two people. I respect everyone for their talent.
So of course you know we would love to see a Bollywood themed episode on Castle.
I’m sure there would be a way to integrate it. You know, it’s tough to pitch things to the writers from the actors side because a lot of the time, they are already mapping out episodes well in advance. We may have an idea, but they’ve got the next 6-7 episodes already outlined. So they say, flush out your idea a little more and bring it back, because a lot of the time, the actors, you know we’re a little bit flighty, saying ‘wouldn’t this be a great idea? Me wearing basketball shoes!’ But then, you know, they come back and ask ‘what’s the idea, what’s the story behind it, what’s the case’? And then we get busy doing the current episodes, so we don’t have time to flush it out. So, Bollywood on Castle, I guess it would have to be where the case is set in that world. It is an interesting world.
ABOUT HIS MUSIC
So we hear you produced a Bollywood inspired track for your new album?
Yeah, I have a song that was inspired by Bollywood, which shows you how much I love it. If I release it as a single and do a music video for it, it would definitely have a Bollywood move in it.
I see myself as an actor first. But if I’m going to play in that field, if I do music, I want to do music that interests me, music that I would listen to. I love a lot of the instrumentation and sounds that are in Bollywood music, so I wanted to incorporate that into one of my songs. It’s my album, I’m producing it, I want to do it the way I want to. The way the music business is now, us as artists, we have so much at our disposal that we can produce our own stuff, and it can be that CD quality, that HD quality sound, so it makes it so much easier for us to be creative and not be bound by record labels and executives. I did my entire album myself with a producer named Christian Davis, my partner. We created it together, we wrote the songs, we picked the songs, there’s so much freedom that allows me to do stuff like the Bollywood song.
Do you have a certain direction for your music, or do you just go where inspiration strikes?
Whatever is inspiring me in that moment or that day. You know, I’m a romantic at heart, so I like a love song, actually, love songs that have stories. A lot of the songs today, they don’t really tell a story. The track is more important than the words. With me and Christian, what we did is every single song, we told a story. Is it a story that lasts a lifetime? Is it a story that lasts a month? Or is it a story that lasts one night? So we tried to tell a story, and some of the stories were love stories, some of the stories were “man I got drunk last night” that turned into somewhat of a love story, so there’s those stories in there. I think it’s kinda like real life, what we try to do is put people in situations when they listen to the songs that they’ve been in before, so they can be familiar with it. That’s what I tried to do with this album. I didn’t say ‘this is the direction I want the album to go’.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
I listened to lots of different types of music. I listened to classic rock, R&B, when hip-hop came around I listened to that, there was a style of music in DC that I listened to that was called Go-Go music, my mom would listen to country music. I wasn’t a huge fan but every once in a while a country song would interest me. What I respect about country music is that they tell a story in almost every single song. That’s what I would have to say influenced me as far as my storytelling, you know, they take you on a journey with their music, and I think that’s what I want to do with my music. I listened to of course salsa, merengue, and I love flamenco music, and Brazilian, Argentinean, Latin jazz.
Do you play any musical instruments?
I grew up playing percussion. I have what’s called a cajón, which is a box drum, like a wooden box, you sit on it and you play it with your hands. I play congas, bongos, so Latin percussion is what I ended up gravitating to. I’ve been working on learning how to play guitar, I wouldn’t say that I’m good enough to lead a band or anything like that, but I’ve been playing a bit. I would love to learn how to play bass. But that’s about it. My voice is my instrument I guess.
Have you found that social media, like Twitter or Facebook, has helped you in promoting the album?
It has, you know, with this album I haven’t really been promoting it yet. I’m going to be working with a company to push it. But I like using the social media to have a direct connection with people because you know, the way it used to be, you had a marketing company or a PR firm that’s pushing your stuff and the feedback you would get would be from some account manager or executive at this company. But I can go directly to the people and say “Hey, what do you think?”
My first song, ‘Sex is the Word’, I wrote this song on the way to this recording studio that I had never been to before. I hadn’t been in the studio, I hadn’t sang in years, 12 years or something like that. And I was just hanging out with these guys, they were like “Hey maybe you should get back into it” and I was thinking “Yea maybe I should”. They were just playing me just tracks they were working on and I just wrote the song to that. We got to the studio, recorded it that night in about 4 hours, and that was it. That was the first time I had been in the studio in 12 years, and I decided to put that out there and see what the people that I know like. They like what I do in the show Castle so let’s see if those same people, how they feel about me singing. If I were to get a lot of people hating on it and saying, “You know what, I don’t think you should be doing this, maybe stick to playing Esposito”, then I would not have put together and album and waste my time and money. So having that direct connection with the social media, it was paramount in helping me decide whether or not I wanted to be serious about it.
Then I got super excited at the beginning like “Yeah man, I’m doing an album and this and that! I’m going to release it in a month!” I did that one song in 4 hours and I thought I’d put an album together that quick. Then it came to the point where I recorded a bunch of songs but I wanted to make sure that they were of a certain quality within the story telling, within the production, and I decided that I should take my time, really allow myself with a great partner who could help me really flush out what we’re trying to say, and then you know, it did take a little bit longer. Then there’s the strategic planning of how to release an album. I was thinking “I’m going to release my album and put it on iTunes” but there’s no planning. So strategically planning what time of the year it is, what time of the quarter as far as the music business goes. There’s a lot of the business end of the music business I really wasn’t thinking about but now I think I’ve got a handle on it.
We’re going to release an album, releasing the single next month which will be hopefully, if everything continues to go in the right direction, tied to the show. It’s going to be tied to an episode where it’s a lot of fun, we’ve had the most fun on this episode. I think it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on Castle.
So that episode has already been shot?
It’s already been shot, so hopefully it’ll be tied to that. So that’s October, we’ll release the first single hopefully in October and then the second one in probably January and then the album shortly after that, the first quarter of the year. It’ll hopefully be a lot of fun. The second song, the one I’ve picked right now, is an amazing song. David Barrett, one of the directors of Castle, is going to direct the music video. Christopher Probst is going to DP it. Christopher Probst did all of Eminem’s videos, 50 Cent, all these amazing artists, so he’s going to capture an amazing picture for everyone.
You say about tying it in the show, what about a musical episode? Maybe not straight Bollywood but like the end of Last Call in Season 3.
You know, I don’t think Andrew Marlowe is keen to do a musical episode. One reason I think is that one thing about Castle that I like is that we’ve tried to be as original as possible. Yeah, there are other shows that had a female-male lead who had sexual tension, but I feel like we’re the one show that not only presented that too, we also tried to really dance back and forth over this line between drama and comedy. I haven’t seen a show in a long time that successfully goes, where you’re full-on fall down laughing, where you’re cracking up and then on the other hand, people have told me they’ve cried during an episode. To be able to do that and not seem like the show is all over the place is something I think is special about Castle. We’re able to do that, so I think that’s being innovative in a way.
So I think to do a musical episode, which other shows have done, like Grey’s Anatomy, I just think it doesn’t seem as original or innovative to Andrew so he would rather not do that. We do things like putting out books. A lot of shows like Grey’s Anatomy did a musical episode and other shows do musical episodes, but they don’t put out books, graphic novels, things like that, so I think that we’re special in that way. So I don’t think we’ll see a musical episode. I mean there is more music to come associated with the show, but it’s not in the form of a full musical episode.
So the 5th season began and there were rave reviews for the premiere…
We definitely came back with a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, so I think that definitely came across on the screen. We answered a few questions, we had to see what happened with Castle and Beckett, Ryan and Esposito, we saw a little something between them, so I think it was great, when we shot everything it felt great. The one thing about the premiere was that it picked up right where we left off. No time lapse. The emotions that Esposito had in the season finale were still at the forefront of his mind. So definitely there was no love lost there with Ryan. But you know, it can’t go on forever. You know, on the show we’re best friends, partners, so we basically can’t break up the partnership. There’s gotta be a resolve. You know, you get in a little fight with your bromancer. I’m glad the reviews were good. Whatever we do as a cast, I always trust that it comes across on screen that we have a lot of fun.
Do you think the show will still experience the same success it has in the past now that the two leads are an official couple?
I think it’ll hold up fine. Our fan base is very loyal. I think we’ll continue to have those fans with us no matter what. And I think since we’re going into syndication this year, we going to hopefully garner some new viewers, a bigger audience, and I think we’ll be fine. The way that it was done, the way Andrew and the writers did it, I think it was a very clever, smart way of putting those two together.
What can you tell us about the relationship between Esposito and Lanie?
The thing with me and Lanie is, you know the last thing we heard during last season was that we had the occasional booty call. And that’s from Lanie’s point-of-view. And I think that’s what Lanie wanted. One thing that they had cut out of the wedding episode, Ryan and Jenny’s wedding, it didn’t make it in, but she called it off with me because she didn’t believe in marriage. That didn’t make it in the final cut. I don’t know if they want to continue to go down that route, but once it’s in the script, I read it, that’s what I feel the backstory is. You guys only see the story that’s on screen, I see the backstory that’s in script form when we come up with it. You know, she wasn’t into the marriage thing. I think Esposito was like, ‘what do you mean? We could get married one day’. She didn’t want to move that fast or even think about that. So I think Espo was a little hurt by it. Or not hurt, but surprised by it. She was like ‘hey, I like you, I want to do this, but we gotta do it on these terms’. Like an occasional booty call. I think right now, at the beginning of this season, as far as relationships go, we’re focusing mainly on Castle and Beckett. It’s brand new, we gotta figure out how to introduce it to the audience, how to take the audience on the journey now, without killing the show, you know? I think that’s what’s more important to flush out right now.
Any Esposito-centric episodes on the horizon?
There’s one that’s pretty heavy on me and Ryan. I personally don’t really like episodes that are one-person heavy. I’m a big fan of ensemble casts. With our show, I like it when we’re all dealing with something equally. That’s my favorite. I never push or ask for anything like that. I’m sure if I did push for an episode, they would try to accommodate me, but I think they know I like ensemble episodes. Some of the story ideas I come up with, I talk to Andrew about a pitch, and they involve all of us. There are specific things I want to do in an episode. Like me, I want to ride a horse and carry a sword. At some point. It’s been a childhood dream of mine. I’ve been quoted before, and Andrew saw it, and he actually said, we might try to make that happen. I did pitch him an idea a short time ago, and he seemed to respond to it. When I see him I’ll talk to him about it again, I’ll say can we flush this out together? It would be an Espo-centric episode, and it would maybe introduce a brother, if it were to continue. But it’s early stages, just an idea that I had. But Andrew responded positively to it, so I’m going to continue talking to him about it, see if we can do that.
Congratulations on your ALMA award!
Thank you very much. Yeah, that was quite a surprise. The fan base voted for these awards, which says a lot about our show I think. One of the other actors was from Dexter, one of the other actors was from The Glades, other really great shows. I know that they have great critical acclaim, so it attests to the amount of fans that Castle actually has whether or not the Nielsen ratings reflect that. It’s a testament to our fan base. I think we have some of the most amazing fans in the world. I think at one point, we were the number one show in India, which is amazing to me. I mean, we don’t even have any Indians on our show. So, I think that’s amazing. There’s so many people in India, so it’s amazing that we have that kind of a reach and we have that kind of a fan base that can support me in that awards show. So I definitely thanked the fans as much as I could there. I even thought, you know yeah the fans vote, but somebody’s gonna pull some strings…but I was pretty surprised. I got nervous when I gave my speech. It was pretty awesome, pretty exciting. I’m very humbled by it.
ABOUT HIS CO-STARS
Stana Katic – She’s an interesting character. She likes to soak in as much as she can. She’s very genuine, and everything is heartfelt. There’s never any meanness from Stana. I can tell you that, there’s never any meanness. She’s amazing. She’s great.
Nathan Fillion – Nathan is probably one of the most giving, generous people that I’ve ever worked with. He’s always got a gift for someone, and he’s always looking out for if you need something. He’ll do it, he’ll get it. He’ll help you.
Seamus Dever – I’ll tell you, Seamus and I, Seamus is probably the most loyal person that I’ve ever had in my life. I think that Seamus would probably do anything for me. He would jump in front of a train for me, in front of a bus for me. One of the most loyal people I’ve had in life, so we’ve become really good friends. I didn’t see it right away, we had to get to know each other, but I’m really glad that we did.
The four of us, we’re there on a daily basis, we get along amazingly. I know that I wish I was able to work with Susan Sullivan a lot more, I wish I could work with Molly a lot more. I wish I was able to work with Tamala and Penny a lot more, because I like the true ensemble cast. It’s just the way the show is designed. But you know, we’ve watched Molly grow up, which has been amazing. And I really love Susan. She’s beautiful. I would make out with Susan Sullivan. I will make out with Susan Sullivan one day.
So yeah, it’s a great show to work on, it’s definitely one of the best jobs I’ve ever had in my life, so I’m really proud of the work we do. I hope we go a little bit longer.
Here’s to hoping Castle lasts more than a little longer. Thanks to Jon for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with us. We hope his Bollywood dream comes true soon!