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Pop Culture Principle talks with Seamus Dever

Castle, the popular television series for ABC, is now entering its fifth season on the network. One of the reasons the show has become so successful has been the work of actor Seamus Dever who plays Detective Kevin Ryan on the series. Recently Seamus was kind enough to sit down with us to discuss the show, acting, his career and what he likes to do when he isn't on the set. We also discussed some great organizations that help protect animals, something that is very important to Seamus and his wife. Seamus also has an extensive resume of acting credits. From working on the soap opera General Hospital, to guest starring roles in series such as The Ghost Whisperer, Cold Case, Army Wives, NCIS, Drop Dead Diva and all 3 CSI television shows to name a few.

PCP – What was it that made you want to become an actor? SD – I’ve been acting for about 30 years now. I started doing it when I was a kid. Did a lot of plays growing up. It’s one of those things you introduce kids to and find out you have an aptitude for it.  I was playing the lead role in Oliver when I was 12 and I felt what a sensation it was to be on stage and people liking what you were doing. PCP – Do you remember your very first paying acting job? SD – Yes I do. My first paying acting job was in a production of Camelot. It was a production from Texas that came through and they did a month of performances. Yea, that was my first gig and at that moment I was a professional actor at age 11. PCP – Many actors have had their start on soap operas. You worked on General Hospital. What was it like working on that soap? SD – It was great. I had done a lot of guest starring roles by the time I did General Hospital. It was my first experience being in front of a camera every day. You are surrounded by cameras and are allowed to do basically what you want to do. If you have an impulse to do something, you don’t have to sit down and have a big long discussion about it. You know whatever you are doing is sort of you creating something instantly and you are making it as you go knowing it will air in three weeks which was great. It really makes you think about your choices and come in with ideas and get really creative. It taught me a lot about being in front of a camera and making mistakes as you go. PCP – The role of Detective Kevin Ryan on Castle. How did that role come to you? SD – I was doing an arc on a show called Army Wives. I was playing a motorcycle doctor named Getty. I ended up dying on the show and when I was done with that show, I came back to LA because we filmed Army Wives in South Carolina. I then did a guest spot on Ghost Whisperer and one of the casting directors also worked on Castle. I sort of ended up on their radar after working on Ghost Whisperer.  The role of Kevin Ryan came around. They had already shot the pilot, I came in for an audition for that, they liked me. They called me back for a producer’s session, but I was on vacation in Italy at the time, but they saved it until the next session which was in front of all the executives and  executive producers and they really liked me. Army Bernstein, the executive producer of Castle, was a big advocate for me. He really pushed for me to get the role and I owe Army Bernstein a lot for that. PCP – What is it like working with Jon Huertas? Did you guys have instant chemistry when you first started working together? SD – I think there where elements at the very beginning that we fostered and grew as we went along. We didn't know each other before that and I think a lot of people think we’ve been friends for years, but  I had never met him before. I actually met him the day before we started shooting. It just so happened we have a lot in common and at the same time we are both different which works well. He’s got his strengths, I’ve got my strengths and we are both very open to working together and discussing our work. We said if we are going to make an impact on this show, we need to stick together to do it. We let down our guards and we rehearse. Jon will come to my trailer or I will go to his and we read through a scene and come up with ideas and we make choices together. We don’t really have egos when it comes to building the Ryan/Espisito relationship. The idea is making our relationship as appealing as possible so people will say that is a side of Castle that we would like to see. So, when we are not there, because there are episodes when we are not there,  people miss it and don’t consider it a Castle episode when we are not there.

PCP – Have you enjoyed the progression of your character from Season 1 going into Season 5. SD – Yes, it’s something that I’ve been trying to grow. Always pushing for more.  Always advocating for my character to do more. Started out as a supporting role and still a lot of times I am still a supporting role, so I’d like to see more, but its been nice seeing the character grow. PCP – Nathan Fillion is known as a prankster on set, what is it like working on the show with Nathan? SD – I suppose so. 🙂 He has a funny prank that he does where he has an electric shocker pen that he started using around the second season. I think he forgot that he’s done it from time to time and that we are use to it. You hold it and press the end of it to write and it shocks you. It’s not like a pen that you ever seen before and it quite clearly has a battery in it. LOL. We actually do a significant amount of work and we do work very hard on Castle. We work really fast and really hard.  We have a good time when we work and sometimes it seems like we are just messing around all day long, but we grind them out. We have a lot of hours in that precinct where we are trying to do something interesting. PCP – In the series, your character proposed to and married his girlfriend on the show who is actually your wife in real life.  How is it working with her on the show? SD – It’s really cool. It’s fun to have her on the show. She’s invested, how could she not be, I spend all my days there. It’s nice when she comes on set. She visits me at work and everyone likes her. They write her some fun stuff to do on the show. Hopefully there will be some more for her character. It’s great working with her on the show. PCP – Do you have a favorite episode of Castle? SD –Double Down use to be my favorite for a long time. We had a lot of fun doing it. There’s was an episode called Kick the Ballistics where we got to explore Ryan a lot more. That’s sort of my favorite as far as me stretching my legs as an actor. It reminds people I’ve done more than just bringing a piece of information. I got to stretch and I wasn’t just the supporting guy. There’s an episode we did called Swan Song, I think its episode 4 in the new season. I think the audience will really like it. We laughed a lot while we did it and from all accounts from our editors, there is a lot of funny stuff going on in the episode. A camera crew follows us around in the precinct. There’s a lot of talking to the camera, explaining what we do and a lot of playing up to the cameras for some of the characters. I think it’s one of my new favorites. PCP – How are you different from your character on the show and how are you the same? SD – A lot of times people want to make their characters superheroes. They know 5 languages, they know all these sports and an impossible amount of information. As an actor you collect various amounts of experiences that you choose that your character knows or not. I have to remind myself that Seamus Dever  is really good at facts and speaks a couple different languages while Kevin Ryan does not. Kevin Ryan is good at being a cop and Seamus Dever has never trained to be a cop. You have to give your character somewhere to grow and not be afraid to let your character have flaws. Just because I feel like showing off, doesn’t mean that I should. My character is still a cop, he hasn't been all around the world like I have personally, so he’s learning as he goes. I think there are some things that Ryan will surprise people with.

PCP – Any hints for the new season of Castle? SD – There are going to be a lot of interesting things for Ryan. There may be some family starting. I think this season Ryan is trying to figure out what he’s going to do. A lot of cops get into this thing where they want to raise a family. Does Ryan want to stay a cop? Is Ryan going to take an officer’s exam? There are going to be some interesting things between Ryan and Espisito this season that might surprise some people. We are working on a few things. Jon and I made a pact to get in shape so maybe we can show some skin on the show. We’d love to show the physical sides of Ryan and Espisito.  The rift between us is sort of in status right now. It’s going to take some time for Ryan and Espisito to trust each other and be in the same room at the beginning of the season. Should be interesting to see how it all progresses. PCP – Both you and your wife are involved with Best Friends Animal Society and Farm Sanctuary. Do you wan to talk a little bit about those organizations? SD – They are great organizations. Best Friends is based in Utah and I’ve supported them for 7 or 8 years now. They had a show called Dog Town on Nat Geo and they have a great advertising campaign and that’s how I became aware of them. Farm Sanctuary is the same thing where we donate money and I also lend myself to their cause. I am doing a Best Friends event called Strut Your Mutt shortly. I’ll be doing their ribbon cutting ceremony. Farm Sanctuary has 3 farms where they rescue animals. You get a different perspective when you see animals that aren’t couped up in cages. You get to see how affectionate they are around people. It puts a face on the cause and I think if people went to them and had that experience, they would think about the food they consume in a different way. I’m not saying they will become vegetarians as I am, but they might have a little bit more perspective about humane practices with animals. I encourage everyone to go visit a farm. My credo the last 8 years or so is if there is a way for us to survive without having other things suffer, it would be the best thing for all of us. PCP – When you aren’t acting, what do you do to relax? Any hobbies? SD – I work out a lot. Been doing the P90X program. I try to get a workout in first thing. It’s pretty silly because you are in your garage jumping around by yourself. LOL  I get up at 4 in the morning lifting weights and working out before the sun is even up. I do a lot of carpentry...lots of carpentry projects going on. Now that I have a house, there is a lot of gardening to do as well. Lots of home repairs and fixing things. A big thank you to Seamus Dever for taking the time out to do this interview with us. We hoped you enjoyed it. Take a moment and visit some of the links below. LINKS Seamus Dever Official Website Seamus Dever Official Facebook Page The Ryan Report - Detective Ryan's Blog Best Friends Animal Society Farm Sanctuary
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