“I like that kind of girl, and part of me really wants to be even more like her,” the 16-year-old Texas native told the Irish Echo in a recent phone interview. “We’re both grounded and know behavior has consequences, but she is way beyond me in that she has so much more responsibility because she has to take care of her family and she understands the world of high society a lot more than I do.”
The actress plays the sweet, well-behaved daughter of a charming, mischievous mystery novelist on the dramedy, which is set in New York, but filmed in Los Angeles. Nathan Fillion plays Alexis’ doting dad, Richard; Susan Sullivan, her hilarious, spotlight-loving grandmother, Martha; and Stana Katic, her father’s police detective love interest, Kate.
Asked how difficult it is to strike a balance in playing a character who is mature for her years, yet still fun and likable, Quinn confessed, “It’s pretty difficult to pull off.”
“It shows her being responsible and trying to help her father and grandmother in different situations, but, at the same time, they’ve had more life experience than her and that comes through. They definitely help her . . . and give her advice when she needs it. I think it’s a very giving relationship between both sides,” she said.
Quinn, who began dancing ballet as a child and later took up acting, said she was concentrating on film roles when she read the script for the “Castle” pilot and fell in love with both the storyline and the characters.
“It was such a great mystery and I laughed out loud,” recalled Quinn, who now lives in Los Angeles, and has appeared in the movies “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” and “My One and Only.” After reading the screenplay for the first episode of “Castle,” she auditioned for the role of Alexis and the rest, as they say, is history.
In addition to its humor and the romantic and professional tension between Richard and Kate, one of the most appealing aspects of the show is the credible, affectionate father-daughter relationship shared by Alexis and Richard.
“He’s so wonderful; I just can’t go on enough about him . . . He’s like my L.A. dad,” Quinn said of Fillion, who was previously known for his work on the iconic sci-fi series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly.”
The young actress is equally generous in her praise of Sullivan.
“She’s delightful! She always has jokes ready and she’s so tasteful,” Quinn said. “In real life, she is really nothing like Martha. She’s totally classy and she puts so much work into being Martha. It’s so cool watching her and listening to her thought process whenever she discusses something with the director. And she has amazingly awesome improv skills . . . You definitely have to stay on your toes.”
So, what can fans expect from Alexis in the show’s current second season?
“She’s growing up, with all that implies,” Quinn explained. “She’s 16 and she’s thinking a little more about boys. Her skirts are a little shorter and she might have some yelling matches with her dad, but it’s all tasteful. She never goes over the edge into being bratty. She’s just finding her own independence, even though she knows she’s not completely ready to leave the nest.”
Asked how in touch with her own real-life, Irish Catholic heritage she is, Quinn admitted, “I wish I was more in touch with it.”
“But I really enjoy it,” she added. “I think it has such wonderful, wonderful history. I actually did this short film that got into the Dingle Film Festival in Ireland, but ‘Castle’ started filming, so I didn’t get to go, which was really sad. But my grandfather said he’s going to take me there soon. I play the violin, so I have that whole Irish fiddle thing going on.”
“Castle” airs Monday nights on ABC. Quinn will also be heard this holiday season in the motion-capture animation movie, “A Christmas Carol,” along with Jim Carrey, Colin Firth and Robin Wright.