Following her highly publicized exit from ABC’s long-running Castle, Stana Katic returns on Amazon’s psychological thriller Absentia, bringing another resilient cop to life — with a twist!
On her new series, the 39-year-old actress plays Emily Byrne, a presumed-dead FBI agent who returns six years after being kidnapped, only to be framed for murder. Though Katic is playing another cop, the star says this character is very different from Kate Beckett, whom she portrayed from 2009 until her untimely exit in 2015, ahead of what was supposed to be a season 9 renewal for Castle, which was subsequently canceled less than a month after her ouster.
Below, EW goes in-depth with Katic about her new project and about her Castle exit.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was it about Absentia that really attracted you to this project?
STANA KATIC: I liked the idea of telling a story about an anti-hero survivor. First of all, one of the things that I said when I spoke to my agent, and they were like, “Oh, yeah, what do you think about doing next? What kind of story should be on the lookout for?” I said, “Listen man, the mom thing, no.” And they’re like, “Why?” And I know that’s horrible to say in one capacity, however, the issue with playing mom and girlfriend in a lot of stories is that that is a character that doesn’t actually drive the story in any way. And I was like, “I don’t wanna have the character that’s not a part of the actual story line, that’s relegated into the backdrop of it. I wanna be an active member in how a story is told, even if it is an ensemble piece.” And, often times, in the past, characters that have had that kind of role in a story, the main quality is that they worry. That’s it. They’re worried about their kid, who is going through the journey of the story, or they’re worried about their love or partner, who is going through the journey of the story. And then I read [Absentia], and I thought, “Oh, this is really interesting,” because Emily had all of those roles packaged into one person, and she’s still a badass, and she’s still an active member in storytelling.
What I was concerned about was that this would be more of a stereotype, or a storytelling tool instead of a fully fleshed out, complex, beautiful female character. And what I ended up getting instead was someone that had all of those qualities and then some. And I was like, “Oh, this is exciting. This would be really wonderful to play.” That said, I’ve also done reading about women survivors of World War II and the Holocaust, and so forth, and I thought it takes extraordinary amount of grit to come out the other end of something like that, and to actually be able to live life again fully, to embrace it. And I thought that would be an interesting world to explore. So, those are some of the elements.
Then I got offered the opportunity to be a part of it as [an executive producer] as well. And, I’ve had that title in the past, but this time they have welcomed me to the discussion table for development on the project, for even the editing process, and so on. It’s a whole new experience sitting at the producers’ table, and it’s so exciting to be a part of that element of storytelling, especially now, right? I think, as a woman in Hollywood today, it’s a wonderful opportunity to be invited to the table, and it behooves me to take that seat.
Talk about Emily as a character. How does she compare to a character like Kate Beckett? And what is she dealing with emotionally during this story?
Kate was awesome. I loved playing her, but …