Tamala Jones has appeared in numerous movies and television series but is known best for her role of Lanie Parish on ABC’s hit show “Castle”. Tamala is one of the sweetest people I have ever interviewed and even gave me some killer cold tips. Movie Mikes was lucky enough to chat with her during busy shooting schedule about her character and how much she loves working on “Castle”.
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Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got the role of Lanie Parish on “Castle”?
Tamala Jones: I was definitely looking for a change in the type of roles I was taking and my manager and agent agreed with me. We decided I should start stepping outside of the box and start auditioning for characters that maybe aren’t necessarily African American written. We met with the casting director of “Castle” and they agreed for me to come and audition for Lanie. I was literally was the only African American actress there. It was one line to delivers [laughs] and I got it. The role was only for a guest star with a possible recurring part. when the show got picked up, it was right in the middle of pilot season. I was auditioning and testing for a different pilot at the time. My team called ABC and asked them if they wanted to bringing me back on the show. They called back and offered me a role as a series regular.
MG: Tell us about your experience playing that character?
TJ: I have a great time playing Lanie. It is very challenging to learn all the medical terminology, which I love though. I have a really great time learning them as well as learning her. I also am lucky to be able to hang out with everyone on the set. I love the people I work with.
MG: Tell us about your new relationship on the show with co-star Jon Huertas?
TJ: Jon is the one that made this thing happen. The whole Lanie and Esposito thing is his idea. He has been campaigning this since last season and it finally happened. We were just shooting the ‘morning after’ scene and Jon was just so nervous. He wanted to know if I was covered up properly and if I was comfortable. He was the one with the skimpier outfit than I was. I had underwear on and pasties covering. Jon’s butt cheeks where out [laughs]. He was a little nervous but we had a good time… a lot of laughs. They are going to play with the relationship a little bit here and there. They are not going to make it so strong, which is what I like about the writers and producers on “Castle”. They will give you something and then they’ll take it back a little bit. Then give you little bits at a time to keep you intrigued and wanting more. I think that is really smart. You will see little things here and there…a little slip up at work, just little stuff.
MG: What is it like working with such a great cast?
TJ: Oh my God. I have the best gift from God working on this show. I wasn’t supposed to be a season regular and now I am. I am surrounded by not just great actors but the crew, producers and the writers. We are all a really big family and we all love each other. You walk on that set and it just not work for us. We really are a unit. We do special things for each other all the time, not because we have to but because we want to. We worry about each other. I make cookies for them. It is such a great atmosphere to be apart of. I am humbly happy and totally blessed to be involved with these people.
MG: What has been your favorite episode to work on to date?
TJ: I love the Halloween episode. That is my favorite. I loved how there was so many things going on in that episode. We all ended up at Castle’s lot partying and the one person we didn’t think was going to dress up, she threw you for a loop. It was brilliant. The episode touched on the addiction on vampires and werewolves that people are having. It goes along with the whole “True Blood” and “Twilight” scene. It was fun to be a part of that for a quick second.
MG: How does working on “Castle” compare for you than working on other TV series for you?
TJ: I had fun working on my other shows but they were half hour comedies. I grew up doing that,like working on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as a guest star. Most of the series regular shows I have had were mostly half hour comedies. This show was really a challenge for me to come in and work these long hours like we are shooting a movie year round. Trying to get this medical stuff down and really be married to the work. But…I really liked it a lot. I felt like I could do it in my sleep. I was working but I was actually learning things. I felt like I was in medical school with the all information I am gaining. It is great to always learn new things. I am really having a great time with “Castle”. That is the different between the other shows and “Castle”, I wasn’t learning anything. I was just going to work and having fun it was a party. Still here I am having fun but there is a serious time for our show as well as the laughter. It really helps us achieve greatness and it is a great feeling. I hope this show last a very long time.
MG: “Castle” just got renewed for season 4, are you shocked that the show is still going so strong season after season?
TJ: That was the best news ever. Usually you have to wait till March, April, May or even June to find out if you are coming back. We went in that day [screaming] “Ahhhh we’re coming back”. I just love it. I am not shocked at all. I am just happy I am stuck right in the middle of it. They love us on ABC and it is just a great feeling. When you hear me get excited it is real because I never take anything for granted.
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