Some television roles seem lovingly crafted for the actors that inhabit them. Such is the case of the role of Matilda King, the fashion queen of a fictional top magazine, in the upcoming CASTLE episode “Dressed to Kill.” The episode will reveal a surprising past connection between Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) and Matilda King (Frances Fisher). Best of all, it will reveal a future connection as well. But with Matilda’s assistant turning up dead on the very day that Matilda fired her, all signs are pointing to Matilda for her murder. Just how ruthless is Matilda in getting exactly what she wants and what will she do when she finds out that someone has betrayed her?
In an exclusive interview, special guest-star Frances Fisher previewed her fun performance as the queen of high fashion in CASTLE.
What can you share about your role as Matilda King and what attracted you to it?
FRANCE: When my agent said you have an offer from CASTLE, I thought that was fantastic because I love the show. I love the relationship between the two lead characters. I think Stana and Nathan are fabulous people. I just love what they do with their characters — the repartee between them. So when I read the script, I thought, “This is good. It’s well-written. It’s interesting. It’s a mystery and you have to follow it to the end.” And I liked the idea of being a part of the show.
Do you think your character Matilda is capable of murder?
FRANCE: I think in the right circumstances anyone would be capable of murder — if only in self-defense. But I don’t know. You’ll have to see if Matilda is the kind of person who could be a murderer. I don’t want to give anything away!
As a fashion editor, it is not hard to imagine that she has a ruthless streak to her. She’s got to have a strong backbone. Maybe she is capable of murder. So how would you describe her relationship with the murder victim?
FRANCE: Other than being her assistant? Well, Mathilda requires complete loyalty and devotion to the job. If somebody doesn’t do a good job, then they get axed. Not murdered, axed. (Laughs) And the mystery evolves from that.
What would you say is the one quality you most admire about Matilda?
FRANCE: That’s an interesting question. There is a glass ceiling and I think any woman who is able to rise to a powerful position should be commended.
In this episode, is Matilda a suspect or a witness? How does she get involved in the investigation?
FRANCE: (Laughs) I think everyone is a suspect in this world until they are eliminated. It’s kind of like “Clue.” That’s the fun of the episode in a show like CASTLE. It is to follow them and see how they unravel the mystery and catch the culprit.
What was it like working in scenes with Nathan and Stana?
FRANCE: All my scenes were with them and I had a great time doing it. They are fabulous people. I really enjoyed the whole process with them.
The show has a more comedic bent. How did it feel for you to step into a situation where it is kind of a drama, but at the same time, the way that they film it, it is filmed like a comedy?
FRANCE: I don’t think they film it like a comedy. There are comedic aspects. I think there is a lightness that is in the show that is so beautifully portrayed by all the characters. But Nathan and Stana really lead the show in that way. I think that the writing helps that. It’s not just a simple procedural. There is humor that is written into the scripts and it makes it fun. I’m just now thinking I could have brought a little more humor to the role. But I guess they liked what I did, because they didn’t tell me to do it again. (Laughs)
Did you have the opportunity to work with your fellow guest-star Rob Estes in any of the scenes?
FRANCE: Oh yes, I worked with him in a couple scenes too. He was great. In fact, we one very long scene that we had to do with a lot of dialogue and instead of going to lunch, he and I went to the set and worked during lunch and worked out our moves so that it was ready to go. Because as you can imagine in television there is not a lot of time to rehearse. In fact, there was a little moment in one of my scenes where I’m opening a box of shoes and I had to talk all during it. I just saw it and though it was going to be the easiest thing in the world, but I probably rehearsed that by myself about 40 times, just to be able to work with the props and say the line, just so it looked like an everyday occurrence.
How would you describe Rob’s character Julian’s relationship with Matilda? Are they kind of like allies in this situation?
FRANCE: Julian works for Matilda and they are allies. But he has a job in front of him that Matilda is not happy about. It is not up to snuff. She has really high standards and he has not quite met them yet, and they have a long-term professional relationship.
Sounds like you were all having quite a bit of fun. I have heard that about other guest-stars who have gone on to work on CASTLE and they really enjoy working in that environment.
FRANCE: It’s great. The tone of the set is wonderful. The crew is just so good and so lovely. When I wrapped, the props guy came up to me and gave me a single rose from the flowers that were in Matilda’s office. They were just great. They are a lovely group of people to work with. They have been doing it for so long that they are a well-oiled machine at this point. I’d love to see Mathilda come back. But who knows!
To see if Matilda is indeed the culprit behind a brutal murder in high fashion and how she may be connected to Beckett’s future, be sure to tune into see this week’s all new episode of CASTLE on Monday, February 3rd at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.
Tiffany Vogt is the Senior West Coast Editor, contributing as a columnist and entertainment reporter to TheTVaddict.com. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).