"In the company of wolves and grizzlies, Castle actor Jon Huertas came to Woodland Park Zoo today to announce his new role as Celebrity Ambassador for Wildlands Network, advocating for carnivore conservation. Jon spoke to a crowd of carnivore enthusiasts made up of zoo visitors, ZooCorps teen volunteers, a local boy scout troop and more than a few starstruck zoo staff! Jon spoke about his passion for all things wild, but especially his enthusiasm for protecting large carnivores in North America."
An actor of the stage and screen, Jon Huertas is best known for his multiple-award-winning performance as Det. Javier Esposito on the ABC hit television series Castle as well as his portrayal of Sgt. Antonio 'Poke' Espera in HBO's Emmy Award–winning miniseries Generation Kill.
Leading roles on the TV series Moesha, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and MTV’s Undressed led to parts on primetime stalwarts such as NYPD Blue, The Shield, Without a Trace, Prison Break, NCIS and CSI as well as movies such as Why Do Fools Fall In Love with Halle Berry. All told, Huertas has acted in more than 25 television shows. His performance as the brash Marine Espera on Generation Kill, which won three Emmy Awards in 2009, captured the attention of viewers and critics. He won his trademark role of Esposito, Castle’s tough-talking NYPD detective, shortly after. “The thing about that character is he’s someone I’ve kind of co-created,”Huertas says. “He was a really blank canvas, so it hasn’t been that hard to be him, because a lot of what he is, I am.” The crime procedural has endured for seven seasons to be one of ABC’s biggest hits.
In 2012, Huertas won the 2012 NCLR ALMA Award for Favorite TV Actor Supporting Role in a Drama as well as a 2012 Prism Award for Performance in a Drama Episode, both for his work on Castle. In recent years, he has moved behind the camera to direct the short films The Box and Lone, in which he also starred and wrote the screenplays. He produced the short film After School Special and is producing several documentaries: Ricky, American Dreamers, The Hill Chris Climbed: The Gridiron Heroes Story and The Prison Phoenix Trust. His voice work includes the film Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, in the character of Alberto, and the Halo video game series for Microsoft's Xbox.
Jon Huertas doesn't like the moniker “triple threat”…”What about Well rounded threat?”, he says. “Why limit it yourself to just three?” He’s released an Urban Pop album called, Grown and Sexy Music, through Midrats Entertainment/Sly Doggie Productions with a distribution deal through Sony Music. He currently plays out live with his newly formed band Silhouette and is currently prepping to record his next single.
As a kid growing up, Huertas got his first taste of performing when he was given a role in his Catholic elementary school’s Christmas program. He recalls, “When I sang my solo, I remember seeing that one of the nuns—she was one of the meanest nuns in the school—was crying. I feel like she was taken aback by the performance. That’s the moment where I said, ‘Hey, I can do this. I want to affect people with performance.’”
Huertas continued to develop his skills, performing in theater and sketch comedy shows, singing in choir, New Edition and KISS tribute bands (“I was the Gene Simmons!”), and even break-dancing in front of his local grocery store. Listening to the music of Elvis, Tom Jones, Prince, Boyz II Men and the Jackson 5 shaped his musical tastes. “I loved the harmonies of Motown and R&B,” he says.
Singing in an R&B group while serving as Armament Specialist in the U.S. Air Force was what truly gave him the self-assurance to show off his pipes in front of an audience. “There was a guy named Jerry in the group, and he was an amazing vocalist,” he remembers. When Jerry suggested handing lead vocal duties over to him, Huertas demurred, insisting that he wasn’t capable. “He said, ‘Yeah, you can. You can sing just as well as I can, you just don’t have the confidence.’ When he said that, it made me say, ‘Yeah, I can do it.’”
Moving to Hollywood in his early twenties to pursue an entertainment career, Huertas quickly fell in with a vocal group, recorded an album and signed a production deal. When the record release hit a snag, his acting career began to blossom. “I kind got a bad taste in my mouth for the music business, and decided to focus primarily on acting,” he says.
While filming the hit ABC series Castle, Huertas began seriously experimenting with music again, honing his abilities with a vocal coach and penning lyrics. However, it was meeting producing partner Vic Manzano that inspired Huertas to hit the recording studio. Vic linked him up with songwriter Christian “Davis” Stalnecker and that’s how Grown & Sexy Music was developed. “I was working with a few different songwriters and finally clicked with someone,” Huertas says. “Christian just gets me, and I get him, and it’s a really creative arrangement that we have.” He feels that with his team, Vic Manzano, Val Valdez and Christian Davis, a true adventurous journey into this business awaits.
With a musical style that Huertas describes as “urban pop”—a seamless hybrid of pop, R&B, funk and dance music—the songs on Grown and Sexy Music are drawn from a variety of inspirations. “Like Bollywood” was inspired by the romance of Bollywood films, a favorite of Huertas’ for their stylistic similarities to his beloved Hollywood musicals. The album’s lead single, the sparkling ballad “Ledge of Love,” is based on the long-simmering love between Kate Beckett and Rick Castle on Castle. Other songs on the album tell tales of, as Huertas puts it, “love with sizzle.” “That’s what inspired me: hot love, the part of love that comes not just from the emotional part, but also from the physical part,” he says. “Sparks, chemicals, skin.” “Sex is the Word,” a steamy twist on the Grease theme, is already a hit thanks to the provocative viral music video Huertas directed and released in June 2011.
Paramount in the songwriting process is telling a story, he believes. “The story could be about anything. It could be about love, it could be about sex, it could be about dancing.… I draw from my life, [Christian] draws from his life, we draw from lives that we envy, or people that we know. Every song is drawn from a place of reality.”
Network : ABC | Release Date : 2009 | Jon as : Javier Esposito | Creator : Andrew W. Marlowe
Cast : Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Tamala Jones, Penny Johnson Jerald, Susan Sullivan, Molly Quinn
Synopsis : After a serial killer imitates the plots of his novels, successful mystery novelist Richard "Rick" Castle gets permission from the Mayor of New York City to tag along with an NYPD homicide investigation team for research purposes.
Network : CW (Web Serie) | Release Date : 2012 | Jon as : Guru | Creator : Wilson Bethel, Dugan O'Neal
Cast : Wilson Bethel, Jon Huertas, Rochelle Aytes, Kel Mitchell, Billy Lush...
Synopsis : Stupid Hype chronicles the (mis)adventures of Hype who, after a tragic breakdancing accident, becomes a rising rap star in 1990.
Network : HBO | Release Date : 2008 | Jon as : Antonio 'Poke" Espera | Creator : David Simon, Ed Burns
Cast : Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen, Jon Huertas, Stark Sands, Billy Lush, Jonah Lotan, Wilson Bethel, Pawel Szajda, Marc Menchaca, Rey Valentin, Kellan Lutz...
Synopsis : A Rolling Stone reporter, embedded with The 1st Recon Marines chronicles his experiences during the first wave of the American-led assault on Baghdad in 2003.
Long film | Release Date : ? | Jon as : Jerome | Creator : Kyle Ham
Cast : Marc Menchaca, Jon Huertas, Lucy Stevens...
Synopsis : Reparation is a powerful psychological thriller that swirls like a funnel cloud around Bob Stevens — a small-town farmer with a three-year hole in his memory. When a mysterious stranger, Jerome, shows up claiming to have been his best friend in the Air Force Police, Bob's peaceful existence begins to unravel from the outside in.
Short film | Release Date : 2014 | Jon as : Coffey | Creator : Jon Huertas
Cast : Jon Huertas, Tamala Jones, Bryan Dechart
Synopsis : Set in 1840 Virginia, field slave Adeline is chastised and confined to a small wooden box where she finds Coffey, a mulatto house slave. Seemingly from opposite worlds they find themselves trapped together in a dire situation that forces them to seek a better understanding and find love in a pit of despair.
Short film | Release Date : 2014 | Jon as : Cheney | Creator : Lucas Spaulding
Cast : Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, James Ellison III, Kevin Bowers
Synopsis : Two amateur bank robbers faced with a unique dilemma : Will they stand by their political convictions or put them aside to pull off a heist?
Long film | Release Date : 2013 | Jon as : Alex | Creator : David H. Steinberg
Cast : Robinne Lee, Sam Jaeger, Jon Huertas, Sara Rue, Amanda Crew, Jack Briggs, Gabrielle Union...
Synopsis : A consumer affair rep who works from her apartment decides to play hooky one day, and spends her time calling random people, looking for new connections.
Long film | Release Date : 2012 | Jon as : Ray Jaffe | Creator : Eduardo Rodriguez, Gary Spinelli
Cast : Dolph Lundgren, Briana Evigan, Jon Huertas, Sean Faris
Synopsis : Dave and Amy have found the perfect house, until they discover a stash of heroin and end up imprisoned in it by violent thugs.
|• 2014 Nominated at the People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Bromance - Ryan (Seamus Dever) & Esposito, Castle|
|• 2013 Won Imagen Award of Best Actor/Television - Javier Esposito, Castle|
|• 2012 Won Prism Award Performance in a Drama Episode - Episode 4x09 'Kill Shot', shared with Stana Katic, Castle (Video)|
|• 2012 Won ALMA Award of Favorite TV Actor-Supporting Role in a Drama - Javier Esposito, Castle (VIDEO)|
|• 2000 Nominated ALMA Award of the Emerging Actor in a Drama Series - Brad Alcerro, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch|