HERE TO ACT
A Spotlite on Actor Seamus Dever
By Meaghan Coffey
If you’ve tuned into Castle at any point in its six-season run, you’ll see two relationships consistently at play: the romance between Kate Beckett and the show’s namesake, and the bromance (or, more formally, ‘partnership’) between Detectives Jon Huertas and Kevin Ryan.
The latter is portrayed by Seamus Dever, the once-upon-a-time valedictorian of his high school who received a graduate degree in acting from the prestigious Carnegie-Mellon. Dever has likely guest starred on at least one of your favorite TV shows over the years, but found his home with the cast and crew of ABC’s Castle. I caught up with him to talk about his path from classical training to perfecting the art of the primetime bromance.
Meaghan Coffey: What brought you to acting? Is it a passion you always knew you would pursue?
Seamus Dever: I guess subconsciously, yes. It’s something I’ve been doing for over thirty years now and when something is a part of your life like that, you can’t remember ever doing anything else. Of course, the challenges have evolved and you are always learning to do it but that’s what I love about it.
Acting is quite a slippery fish. I’ve been doing it since they needed kids to play parts at Mohave High School in Bullhead City, Arizona. I did three or four plays before I played my first lead in Oliver. People wanted me to keep doing it and I really had an affinity for it, so I just kept at it. It took me through college and then graduate school and I haven’t stopped.
MC: You have quite the list of accomplishments in theater. How do you find the transition between film acting and stage acting?
SD: It took me a long time, to be honest. You hold on to a lot of things with regard to your voice and your body that you learned in school. I think the ego is attached to a lot of those things. Then you see yourself on camera trying something with your body or doing something with your voice and it looks like crap. Those things might work on stage but they look huge on film.
I look at my first film where I played best friends with Jeremy Renner as a good contrast. It’s a comedy and Jeremy knew what he was doing and I was only two years out of grad school. Consequently, he’s pretty good in it and I’m kind of embarrassingly big. In fact, he taught me a lot while working on it. But fifteen years later, I think I’ve learned a bit more about the difference and can allow myself to switch back and forth.
MC: Six years after landing the role of Kevin Ryan, do you find portraying him to be second nature or does it still take a second to step into those shoes?
SD: Nah, it’s pretty much put on his suit and his shoes and feel it. I really don’t even try to be someone different. I think the differences between him and me are second nature now. I’m louder and talk way more than he does. I think I’m more knowledgeable and worldly than him. I’m also a bigger smart-ass than he is. Sometimes I have ideas like a joke or an ad-lib about a scene and I offer them to Nathan because I know it’s not within my character’s behavior. Most of my playing of him is remembering those boundaries.
MC:: Castle also gave you the opportunity to marry your ‘real-life’ wife, Juliana Dever, in the third season. What was that experience like?
SD: It was really cool to do it all over again. I wish they would have shown more of it but it was a unique situation to be in five years after the fact. The same goes with my on camera proposal.
MC: Talk to me about the epic bromance between your character and Jon Huertas’ Esposito. Were the two destined to be inseparable from the beginning?
SD: I’m not sure they intended for us to be so prominent but that’s what they get for hiring good actors. I’m not content to just come in and say my lines and do the bare minimum. That stuff bores the crap out of me. Same goes for Jon. This was never a money job for me. To quote the rapper Macklemore, “If I would have wanted to be rich I would have been a f-ing lawyer.” I’m here to act so I’m going to find a way to make it interesting for me. Jon and I stuck together and built something out of it. Our network and our writers caught on and started wanting more. Thankfully we are willing to oblige them.
MC: There’s one more relationship we have to talk about—the one you’ve had front row seats for. What’s your take on Castle and Beckett’s story?
SD: I hope they stick together and we find new challenges for them and their relationship. I know some people want drama and conflict but just like in life, there are always new obstacles as every relationship evolves. I think that’s enough.
MC: What’s up next for Ryan? And what’s up next for you?
SD: I’m with Castle until the final bow. My clear goal is to be the lead in my next television show. I really have only shown a little bit of what I can do. There’s a lot I’ve been hiding.
Seamus Dever is an American theater and television actor best known for his role as Kevin Ryan on ABC’s Castle.
Written by Meaghan Coffey
Photography by David Crotty for Patrick McMullan.com
Design by Marie Havens
Seamus Dever, THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES celebrates the 2013 GENESIS AWARDS BENEFIT GALA, The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, CA, March 23, 2013, Photography by David Crotty for Patrick McMullan.com