Jack Wagner talks CASTLE, Frisco and Felicia, and what’s next!
Jack Wagner has had a career that spans decades – a star in the 80s with GENERAL HOSPITAL, the 90s with MELROSE PLACE, and the 2000s with THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (among myriad other things). He’s done TV, stage, movies, music – you name it, he’s tried it. And tonight on ABC, he’s adding something else to his resume – a guest spot on the first new episode of CASTLE in the New Year!
I spent some time chatting with Jack about why this is something he’s doing now, where he wants to go next, and of course we talked about Frisco Jones!
Tell me about the character Billy Piper – who is he?
He starts out, Billy Piper is sort of, kind of like a fun loving guy, and it turns ugly rather quickly! He’s an alcoholic who is currently drinking; former golf pro whose career has taken a turn for the worst. Divorced. Wife has been killed, and he’s being accused, so he’s not having a good day.
Had you been a fan of the show, or how did you get involved?
I literally went and auditioned for, and got it.
Have you seen the show, are you watching it now having been a part of it? What is your involvement with CASTLE?
I have seen the show; I don’t watch a lot of TV. I always thought it was a great show. I think it has that kind of chemistry of MOONLIGHTING. I think the two leads are really fun to watch. And, it seems to have a really great audience, because it’s a really well done show. I think the two leads are very likeable.
I love when the show has guest stars – they bring in the big names, but rarely is that a giveaway of who actually does the crime.
Yeah, I think that’s probably a trademark of the show now. To be on it, really hit it off with Nathan on set. It’s a very short story arc. I only have one scene, but it was one where you come in, I felt very comfortable, and I’m really glad I did it!
Thinking about CASTLE, is this something that makes you want to come back on a weekly basis? Are you looking to get back onto a primetime series?
Yes, I am, exactly! This is how. For someone like me, I don’t know if you necessarily need to recreate yourself, but I’ve been working on series. The 80s was GENERAL HOSPITAL, the 90s was MELROSE PLACE, 2000s was THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, albeit a lot of the daytime audience isn’t what it used to be, I’ve been very fortunate to have been on series for 20-some years. If you want to change, you have to do small parts like this. I’ve been fortunate enough to get a few this past year. Doing DANCING WITH THE STARS and CELEBRITY APPRENTICE. Kind of like, making my step into a different direction. I just love to work. CASTLE was a character that I haven’t played for a long time. I would normally play a leading man, sort of heroic character, and this guy is very broken, bitter, dealing with alcoholism and divorce. As an actor, that’s what you want to play. A little versatility.
You’ve done music, TV, movies, stage – is there a medium that you’re continually drawn to, that you gravitate towards?
Oh it would be the stage. I just missed getting the lead in “Bridges of Madison County,” the Broadway show over the summer. I was on Broadway with “Jekyll and Hyde” in 2000 and then jumped into BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL for 9 years. I’m looking to get back on Broadway and really get back to the stage, which is what I really love to do.
Any new music coming up? I know you had a recent release of the acoustic performance on BATB?
Oh that’s so nice of you to know that! Nothing musically. I’ve done a few things for myself now. I did that on the show, and they put it on iTunes. I’ll write a few songs a year, and I’ll still do a concert or two a year, at a casino I go back to. It’s not something I chase anymore, but thank you for bringing it up!
I’d be remiss to let you go if I didn’t ask the question. We’ve seen so many familiar faces come back to GENERAL HOSPITAL – Duke is back, Lucy’s back, Sean’s back as AJ. Have there been talks, or has the idea of Frisco coming back been floated out there?
It has, just recently, actually. I know it’s the 50th anniversary of the show. I started tweeting when I did DWTS last year. I’m kind of not a social media guy; I’m a bit old fashioned. I jumped into that world, and all of these Frisco and Felicia fan sits, websites, all tweet me, so I do know that there is a big audience for the character of Frisco and also Felicia, played by my ex-wife Kristina. So we’ll see what happens. I certainly know it’s the 50th anniversary, and if I do some sort of short story arc, I would certainly do so in honor of the show and all of the fans!
CASTLE returns tonight at 10/9c with all new episodes. For more information on the show, head to ABC’s CASTLE site!