Good golly, Miss Molly

MOLLY QUINN: Very different from her onscreen character, Alexis Castle.
MOLLY QUINN: Very different from her onscreen character, Alexis Castle.

Molly Quinn leans in conspiratorially. The vivacious flame-haired actress checks again to make sure no-one else is listening and then admits that when she was younger she vowed never to do anything TV-related.

‘‘I was strictly going for film. I was really gung ho about it,’’ the now 20-year-old Quinn says. 

Our setting is somewhat ironic, then. We’re in the dining room of mystery novelist Richard Castle’s apartment set, where for the past five seasons Quinn and her character, Alexis Castle, have grown up in front of television viewers around the world. 

It’s coming to the end of a long day of shooting but Quinn is still full of enthusiasm, laughing that executive producer Rob Bowman has jokingly threatened to fire her in the past,  when she’s previously related her initial less-than-enamoured approach to the medium. 

Written like a movie, Castle’s  pilot did intrigue her; however, it wasn’t until the producers wanted her to meet her potential TV dad, Nathan Fillion, that she became really excited. 

‘‘I ended up watching all of his stuff – Firefly, Slither – and that’s what made me really want to do this part. So while the script was of the quality I was looking for, it was Nathan that won my heart.’’

But did she ever think she’d still be there, five seasons and more than 100 episodes on? 

‘‘It didn’t actually sink in until we had the celebration for the 100th episode. My mom and my manager were there and I went up to them to say, ‘Thank you for giving me this opportunity’ and I just started bawling. I think I realised the amount that everyone sacrificed for me to be here and be a part of this amazing show, that has totally exceeded my expectations. It’s not that I thought the acting or scripts weren’t great, but we were just having fun.’’

So how much of Alexis is Molly? 

‘‘I always get a bit of pride when my friends come and see me and say, ‘Molly, that wasn’t you – that was someone else!’  

‘‘Alexis is very different. She is a lot smarter, but at the same time she can be a little entitled and bratty. That is something I never had the luxury of being. I’d be whipped back to Texarcana, Texas, if I stepped a toenail over the line. 


‘‘There was a time when I was around 15 that Alexia and I were parallel with boy stuff. I’d go through something in my personal life, then I’d get the script and go, ‘Oh, my god’.’’

Quinn laughs at a suggestion that her mother might be secretly a co-writer on the show – ‘‘she’s that talented, I wouldn’t put it past her’’ – and then confesses to being pleased that she and Alexis have diverged in more recent times.

 ‘‘I’m not such a fan of things Alexis has being doing this [sixth] season and I’m a really big fan of what I’ve been doing. I’ve developed a real appreciation for my family and the things that I have and I find that Alexis has forgotten where she’s come from, whether that’s because she’s upset that she doesn’t have all her dad’s attention any more, or she’s really trying to be grown up. And as great as their relationship is,  it’s not a parenting relationship. If he says, ‘No, you cannot go’, she’d do it anyway. If my dad said that, I’d storm off to my room and go pout for a couple of hours and then come back down.’’

As well as Alexis taking on more responsibilities, Quinn says one of the biggest changes for her this season is being able to work longer hours. 

‘‘I’m getting more of the everyday experience that everyone else has. Technically that’s made it more challenging for me, but I love that; it makes me feel alive and that I’m growing, not stagnating.’’

With her hours on Castle still allowing her to work on her own projects (she recently produced and stars in ‘‘spiritual journey’’ Welcome to Happiness,  due out next year), Quinn describes it as the perfect situation. 

‘‘I’ve got nothing to complain about and I’m happy to do this for as many years as they want.’’

But can Castle fans cope with her playing other characters, such as the naive Melissa in last year’s hit comedy, We’re the Millers? 

‘‘I loved Melissa; she’s so sweet, so innocent. You don’t come across girls like that very often, but when you do you know it. I met one at a party. She was all so naturally smiley; you wonder if something was wrong with her. However, I think it’s awesome and something that needs to be shown and cultivated.’’

She says, naturally enough, people had a bigger problem with an earlier movie she did called Hansel and Gretel Get Baked.

 ‘‘I was the stoner girl. That was the first time people came up to me in person and said, ‘What are you doing – this is so out of character?’ and I’m like, ‘Which character? It’s not so out there for Molly Quinn’.’’

Finally, when asked if she might add writing or directing to her many bows, Quinn demures. 

‘‘I would not be so presumptuous to think I am that talented. Maybe the urge to direct will come in a few years, but I’ve never felt it, yet. My loves are acting and casting. I’d love to open up my own casting agency –  when I really turn into an adult.’’ 

Castle, 9.30pm, Mondays from August 25, TV One.