Interview: Jon Huertas
Mon, 28 Sep 2009 07:47:42
The best art always imitates life.
That's why Jon Huertas, with eight years logged in the military, was perfect for HBO's critically acclaimed Generation Kill. However, the discipline and perspective that Jon gained in the armed forces also served as a direct gateway for him to become an actor. Jon attended theater school while in uniform, and he cultivated a realistic style that's tangible and honest. That style fuels his performance as Detective Javier Esposito on Castle. The show's second season premiered last Monday on ABC at 10pm. Jon promises that everything gets kicked up a few notches on this season too…
The actor sat down for this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor Rick Florino about Castle, his time in the military, making music and much more.
How is Castle evolving during the second season?
I'm super excited about the second season! The first season wasn't long enough. We've got three more episodes this time around. Last year we did ten episodes, and this year we're doing 13—unless we get the back 9 order which I'm hoping we get. I think we will! For this season, we've got new cast members coming on board that are going to recur. Debi Mazar will be on. This actor I grew up watching in the '80s Ari Grote is coming on. He's awesome—just a great guy. He plays a new medical examiner on our show. There are great new team members helping round out the cast and the world that we've created. It's just a fun world to be in. We tell stories that are so interesting, and a lot of them rip from the headlines. It's that old fashioned way of solving crime. It's the classic murder mystery. You get the victim, you get the body and you tell the story backwards. We don't use microscopes. It's so much fun to be one of the storytellers. We've got some great scripts. My partner Detective Ryan [Seamus Dever] and I compete with Beckett and Castle in a way. I'm not going to give you much more than that. We're having fun this year, and I get to play with the idea of Javier being a heavy, bruiser type guy. The audience will find out a little bit more about my character's past being in the military. I was in the military in real life, so we take my past and work it into my character's past. It's really cool.
Is it fun having a slice of your own history imparted on Javier?
It is! It's really cool that Andrew Marlowe, executive producer, let me add that. He asked me about Javier—where I thought he came from. There aren't a lot of producers and creators that would allow the actors to, from the beginning, bring a lot of work into the character's arc. Usually they have all of that worked out. It was really nice to be able to do that.
The show is like a more badass Murder, She Wrote.
Exactly! It's like a funnier Murder, She Wrote too! It took changing the writer character from a female to a male—not to say that's any better—to give it a new spin. If anyone were to try to update Murder, She Wrote and again cast another female, it'd just be the same show, and I don't think people would get as excited about it. I think our new spin on it helped a ton.
Your military history adds a depth to the character. Javier is a deep guy.
I think by the end of the second season everything will go really deep. There's one episode that someone's writing that really dives into Javier's past—who he was and where he came from. The whole military thing is explored. I'm really excited about that.
How much of your acting style and personality were shaped by being in the military?
I definitely draw on it in my acting. The one thing that the military did for me was make me ready for any situation. I can't find myself that afraid of anything. If something happens, it's going to happen. There's not a lot we can do to prevent things. So you just deal with it. I bring that to each character I play. As the character, I'm going to deal with whatever comes up when it comes up and try not to forecast my character's behavior. My character is always going to deal with things as they come. I'm not going to anticipate anything.
You act in a reactionary way.
Exactly! If you do plan how you're going to act in real life, it usually doesn't go that way anyway. Then you get screwed. In the military, you're handling weapons of destruction that you can take someone's life with. If you've never held a weapon, you'd be surprised how lightly you actually hold a weapon. You're not squeezing down it. You're holding it so lightly that you guide it to do what you want it to do. When I'm acting, I don't get so regimented with the dialogue and everything else. When we're on stage working on this, it's organic. I can deal with whatever the director or the other actors throw at me. I was in the military for eight years then I moved to LA. I got my degree in theater while in the military.
How similar are acting and making music?
For me acting and making music come from the same creative place because I grew up doing musical theater. I was doing musical theater in high school and while I was in the military. I was always singing, dancing and acting at the same time. Music and acting were always synonymous. The music business and the TV/Film business are very similar, and we see them overlapping all the time.