What can you tease about your role on CASTLE?
Kelly Hu: I get to play this bodyguard to this Joe Francis-like character, who ends up getting killed very early on. So I’m not a very good bodyguard. [Laughs] I think I have a problem with that, too, because my character on ARROW also loses the body she’s guarding!
But there’s a little bit of an attractive between Esposito and my character, Scarlet Jones. So we get to go on a little date, but the date has a little surprise in it and gets interrupted.
Are your scenes mainly with Jon Huertas (Esposito)? Or do you get to work with Stana Katic (Beckett) and Nathan Fillion (Castle), too?
KH: I did both! I got to work with Jon, of course, and Seamus [Dever (Ryan)] as well, who are hilarious together. And Stana and Nathan because I get interrogated, being a suspect and all. So yeah, I got to work with almost everyone in the cast.
I didn’t get to work with the Lanie character, which I hear is the love interest to Esposito — or everybody is hoping [she] is. There’s no confrontation, no fight scene there.
Interesting. Was this a show you watched before you were cast?
KH: I’ve seen some episodes before work, but I don’t follow it. It’s been five years, right?
Yep. We know you’ve had your hands full with roles, so I didn’t know if this was a show you specifically went after.
KH: I watched a bunch of episodes when I got cast, and then I saw some episodes early, early on when Stana first got the show, because I had known her from doing a little indie film called STILETTO we were both in.
So CASTLE hosted a little reunion for you two!
KH: We actually didn’t get to work together [in the movie], but I did meet her in the makeup trailer and she is impressive, let me tell you. That girl speaks like 120 languages fluently. [Laughs]
She seems to have a lot of skills up her sleeve.
KH: Right? Unbelievable, this girl. And just so down-to-earth, too. We had a lot of downtime in between and we hung out and talked off-set and she was just so interesting to talk to. She’s really earthy and well-informed and she’s kind of like my idol now. [Laughs] When I grow up, I want to be like Stana. I’m not going to grow up, though…I want to be a kid forever.
Since you did have that history with Stana, were the guys hazing you on set? Or were they super calm and professional?
KH: Yeah, no, they were pretty funny. But they were super, super nice, too. So nice to the point where at one point I was wondering if something was going to go on, you know? When people are too nice, you’re like, “What’s really happening here?” But apparently these guys just are [that way]; they’re that nice. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that everybody’s super comfortable in the show. It’s the fifth season, they all know what’s going on, they’ve all found their character, and so they can all relax and have fun at this point. It’s a totally different thing when you have a new show going on and everybody’s trying to figure out what’s going on and the crew is trying to find a rhythm of everything.
But in this show, being in the fifth season, and it seems like everybody was really comfortable — a relaxed atmosphere.
That’s great. Going back to your character, since Beckett and Castle will be interrogating you, why should fans think you’re innocent…or why should they think you’re guilty?
KH: Oh! Well, I do have a lot of reason to whack this guy. I mean, everybody does, he’s not a very likable character. He’s a Joe Francis-like character. Not to say I’d kill Joe Francis myself. [Laughs] But I’m sure people have considered it!
And yet, she is quite likable. Esposito kind of has the hots for her, and even if she did get rid of a guy like Joe Francis, I don’t think anybody would fault her for it.
Is it open-ended for your character to come back, especially because of the potential romance angle with Esposito?
KH: I always say if you don’t die, there’s always a chance of you coming back. I play so many characters that die, it’s kind of strange. Whenever I get cast in something new, I call my mom and let her know. And the first thing she always asks is, “Do you die?” I’ve joked in the past I’m going to put a reel together of all my death scenes and have it play at my funeral. [Laughs]
I don’t actually die in this episode, so yeah, I’m saying there’s a chance I could come back. Just putting it out there.
Will this new lady in Esposito’s life cause problems with Lanie (Tamala Jones)?
KH: I hear there’s a bit of a thing going on between them that everybody is sort of rooting for. So I expect I’m probably going to get some hate mail after this. I know there’s some pretty rabid fans out there of this show.
Well, speaking of your characters being out there in the universe, you’re also on ARROW. Have you shot anything beyond what we’ve seen there?
KH: I’m actually in the ARROW production office as we speak. [Laughs] I’m actually at the producers office staring at the board of actors right now. I was saying earlier, it looks more like the Ford Modeling Agency than a TV series. Everyone on this show is so damn beautiful, it’s scary!
That’s true, they are a good looking bunch. What can you tease about your return to ARROW?
KH: There’s some more action going on with me and Stephen [Amell (Oliver)]‘s character, which I love. I love being able to do these fight scenes with him. And then also, God, there’s so many twists and turns.
I was just at the table read for this next episode, and I, unfortunately, didn’t get to read the script before the table read and I was sitting there gasping at these twists and turns. It’s one of these shows where so much happens in an episode. That’s the fun thing about doing a show like this, where it’s sort of fantasy — so many things can happen. Characters appearing out of nowhere and people getting killed, it’s like if you miss an episode, you miss so much. So you have to watch everything. It’s awesome. It’s such a fun show.
What’s up with all of the action roles?
KH: I really enjoy doing it, just become I can. But the older I get, the harder it gets. So I’m sort of trying to get away from that. But it just keeps pulling me in.
It’s so funny though to get all these bodyguard roles. I don’t know why people think that I could actually guard anyone’s body. People just look at me and think, “Hmm… She looks like she can kick ass. I’ll hire her as a bodyguard!” I’m really nice!
Do you get a lot of action scenes in “Castle”?
KH: You know, you would think so, because I do play a bodyguard. But I don’t. I don’t get any of the action this time.
Where else can we see you — besides in a returning stint as China White on “Arrow” — in the future?
KH: I’m also recurring on another show called “Warehouse 13” that will be coming up soon. And I’ve got five episodes on that, and hopefully I’ll be coming back for the next season as well. I’ve been pretty busy between “Arrow,” with “Warehouse 13.”
And then I’ve got a lot of voiceover work that I do as well. I’m recurring on three different shows doing voiceover. On “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Phineas and Ferb” and”Young Justice.” Even in my voiceovers I get to do a lot of action stuff! Even my voice sounds like it’s the action chick! I don’t know what’s going on with that.
So much of my voiceover work in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Young Justice” is fight scenes. So I do a lot of grunting and a lot of yelling and stuff like that. And so I don’t know why people think my voice is tough, but for some reason, I keep getting cast as a tough girl — even in voiceover. It’s weird.
I like to think it’s because I can act. Whatever it is, I’m getting paid. So I’m happy.