James Brolin reprises his role as Richard Castle's long-absent father, C.I.A. operative Jackson Hunt, on the Jan. 13 episode of ABC's Castle (10/9c). And during this visit, he meets his son's fiancé, Kate (Stana Katic), and reunites with Castle's mother, Martha (Susan Sullivan), for the first time since Castle's (Nathan Fillion) conception. If Jackson seems a bit darker and more mysterious this time around, there's good reason: That's just how Brolin demanded it.
TV Guide Magazine: Who is Jackson in your mind?
James Brolin: I feel very clear about him not being your ideal person in life. He's saved a lot of lives and done the world a lot of good — because he loves to kill. I like the simile to [Showtime's serial killer] Dexter, although Dexter does it illegally and Jackson is hired by America.
TV Guide Magazine: Is it true that you and your wife, Barbra Streisand, were Castle fans before you took the role?
Brolin: No. We had seen the show, but we peruse them all. There are very few shows we have to physically be home to see. 24 was and now Homeland has gotten us. I also enjoyed Hostages and like The Blacklist. My wife's glued to Downton Abbey and likes Revenge, but I find that repetitious. My wife and I are famous for throwing out the next line, because writers get into a habit of writing the same show every week.
TV Guide Magazine: You got to work with Susan Sullivan this time around.
Brolin: We have a nice scene where you can feel us being pulled together, and yet she's going "f--- you" at the same time. But the reality is these two had a one-night-stand, he left and found out years later there was a kid. I mean, Clint Eastwood did this 11 times.
TV Guide Magazine: Does Jackson experience even a moment of sentimentality being with his son's family?
Brolin: Yes. I think feelings come up. As I'm leaving this whole mess, there's a moment where he thinks, "I wonder what it would be like to be having dinner with my family." But no, I'm bloodthirsty.
TV Guide Magazine: What has been your experience with TV over the past few years?
Brolin: I believe I've done five episodics over the last 10 years. I did them because I was paid so well, and I got the scripts in advance and I approved. I've only in my life done two scripts that I hadn't read in advance. One was The West Wing, and I was screwed royally. What we talked about was not what my character and arc were. I said, "I trust you guys; you're the greatest writers," and then they destroyed the role. I said I would never do that again.
TV Guide Magazine: Would you ever return to television on a weekly basis?
Brolin: Yeah, if somebody wanted to sit down and listen to a couple of ideas — which I'm not going to tell you — that would be interesting. Or if I were offered something that wasn't fluff. I'd like to sit down with [Breaking Bad creator] Vince Gilligan and ask, "What can we do together that would make you some money, Vince?"
TV Guide Magazine:, I wanted to ask about your memories of your previous series, Marcus Welby, M.D. and Hotel. Did you stay in touch with your co-stars, the late Robert Young and Connie Selleca?
Brolin: I never had dinner with Robert Young once. Never. He was very private. Never a problem, but there was a "pheasant-under-glass" element to him. If he wasn't working, he'd be locked in his trailer with curtains pulled. In the morning in makeup, we were very careful not to ask him a question because that would lead to one hour of monologue. Connie is the greatest. Every summer, she and [husband] John Tesh rent in Malibu so we'll see them around town.
TV Guide Magazine: In its sixth season, Castle and Beckett are on their way to the altar. When you were on Hotel, they managed to keep you and Connie Sellecca apart for all five seasons. What advice would you give to the Castle writers?
Brolin: Hotel was smart enough to always leave the anticipation going that any minute something was going to happen. And near the end of Marcus Welby's run, we were really hurting in the ratings. They decided to get my character married. I wanted to get Farrah Fawcett, but they felt she couldn't act. So we bring in Pamela Hensley. The night we were married was maybe the highest-rated show we'd ever had. Number one. And the next week we dropped to like number 79 or something. Anticipation rules. So keep dangling the carrot and make it sexy!
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