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INT: Nathan Fillion

Mar. 31, 2006by: JoBlo

Meeting Nathan Fillion was like meeting an old friend...who I've never met before! The guy is as down-to-earth as you can get, polite, well-spoken and forgive me for saying so: "easy on the eyes". Yeah, the guy's a hunk and he's also a pretty solid actor, so the Arrow and I were ecstatic to sit face-to-face with the man a couple of weeks ago, to discuss his starring role in SLITHER.

We didn't transcribe our intro banter with the man but suffice it to say that it was us playing the "Canadian card" with the Canadian actor, and ultimately making sure that he knew that he had a couple of friends in Montreal, were he to come shoot a few scenes for his next picture, WHITE NOISE 2, in our backyard. We all laughed, but seriously us, dude...we'll go out for a Molson and some other stuff too. Until then, check out our interview with the easy-going gentleman and check out SLITHER which opens in theaters today!

Nathan Fillion

Arrow: Regarding Serenity and Sci-Fi, youre kind of becoming quite a genre actor nowadays. Is this purposeful?

No certainly not, people think I have got the choice, and they think I have scripts laid out and then I decide, Ill do that one. No, its like you get a script and you say like Wow, this would be a really cool part to play and I get in line with 60, 80, 200 other guys to try to get the part and when they say lets have Nathan comes back, I get really tense and really nervous, I try to relax and I go back to audition again. The whole audition process is a mind-screw and you can blow it at any time because anytime you move forward in the process, the stakes become higher and anything can go wrong at any time. So theres never any promises, theres never any kind of, its not about, Yeah, Im gonna do a horror next.

Arrow: Youre not there yet.

Certainly not, and Ill let you know what it's like when I do, but until then, Im shlepping with everybody else, just trying to make a buck.  Ive been really happy that Ive been able to do projects that are really I mean, Im a sci-fi fan. That I get to do a sci-fi movie, you know, thats like a fan boys dream.

JoBlo: You've become a pretty big cult phenomenon...

I wanna do a comic book movie, I wanna play a super hero, but who could I do?

Arrow: Daredevil.

Daredevils been done.

Arrow: Yeah, but not right.

You know who I could do? The Green Lantern.

JoBlo: Yeah.

Arrow: I could see that actually.

I dont know how good a Green Lantern movie could be, but I could do Green Lantern. Theres a couple of comic books Ive been told about but that I havent read, I used to collect when I was a kid, but it got expensive.

JoBlo: Yeah.

Heres the kicker: I loved comic books, but it got really expensive, so I had to stop, I didnt have any money. And they then they got really good, right after I stopped collecting, the art all of a sudden, got really good, and the paper got better. The technology also. 

JoBlo: Graphic novels also...very cool.

Yeah, I remember graphic novels being amazing, so much work put into them, and I remember the stories were just heart-wrenchingI Remember some graphic novels I had that were just great and the stuff they said about ?? Recently, I was in Edmonton at Christmas, I had the flu. I was down for the count. And I broke out a box of comics from my basement, and I remember taking them out and thinking this is great. I remember all these stories, but man they were crap. Really, really crap.

<we laugh>

It was like watching a really bad movie where people are describing what theyre doing, as theyre doing it so you know what theyre doing. But yeah, they got good afterwards. Oh gee, I just lost the point.

<we laugh again>

Some people were telling me about a comic book where basically everybody in the world was a hero, and theres like a police force, that has to kind of govern

Arrow: It sounds familiar.

Its like a city where almost everyone has powers, and then the police, what do they do? In that city. I think that kind of movie would be really cool. Id love to do a superhero movie.

Arrow: I heard actually they might do a Daredevil II.


Arrow: I think itd be great. Thats just my opinion.

JoBlo: Hey, his careers going to higher places man, Daredevil II, its like Nah So whats next actually for you, are you filming right now?

Yes, filming right now, its been three days of WHITE NOISE 2 and were right in the beginning, we just started. What Ive learned is, when youre filming a movie, what you want to shoot in the beginning is something thats really pretty, something that looks really cool, so that when you pick up the dailies, and you hand it over to everybody whos actually paying for the movie, that they will be very satisfied, and they go, yes, youre doing a great job, this movies gonna be good, and they stop hounding you and stay off your back.

It cant be something so difficult that its going to be really hard to do, and youre staying late days and youre over budget already so we filmed some neat stuff already thats looks really pretty and cool, and really puts you in the mood for a stressful, kind of tension in this movie. Vancouvers been cooperating amazingly with the weather, theres a kind of grey and black kind of static theme running throughout the flick, and the skys been cooperating amazingly.

Arrow: So where in Canada are you from?

Edmonton, born and raised in Edmonton, and then at 22, I moved to New York and then three years there and now Im in LA now.

Arrow: How does LA differentiate from Canada? I know its a toughie.

No, its not tough. I sometimes come down on LA, and I shouldnt. Because LAs been so kind to me and I really enjoy living there, here, there. Here.

<we laugh>

What I find is my theory is in LA, people suffer from isolation. Isolated in your car. Instead of being out in the world and dealing with people, youre dealing with cars its like Oh, that Toyota cut me off, and you see someone signaling, like if I signal to get into a lane, no one will let me in. You roll down the window and you look out and you get eye contact, theyll wave you right in. 

JoBlo: Yeah, I know. I noticed that yesterday.

As soon as people start dealing with people, you get eye contact and it humanizes everything. I think that people in LA suffer from this lack of human contact. People are always isolated and that makes them fearful and strange about dealing with people. People in Canada I find are not afraid to be polite. I think in LA, all too often kindness is seen as a weakness. I like kind people. I like hanging out with kind, generous, awesome people, thats not a weakness to me, its a strength. I think Canada has that in spades.

JoBlo: People pick up on that when we go places, lets say when were in Cannes for example, and people say You guys are from Canada, right? Even though we look American, and were like, How did you know? and theyre like, Cause youre polite, you say thank you.

You got an easy going nature, yeah, I know. Its like, Lets just relax a little bit, no problem. Its a different life. Its certainly a different energy, East coast, West coast, theyre different. One better than the other, I dont know.

JoBlo: Theres a big cult following of Serenity and Firefly, and a lot of people, I read, they love you too, and they want your career to take off. Do you read some of those things?

What I loved about acting in the beginning, was, I was doing theater in Edmonton because thats all really that was available. But what I loved about it was, I mean you wont catch me jumping out of a plane and getting that adrenaline rush. But when youre on stage in front of a bunch of people and anything can go wrong, I get a nice little rush out of that. I like that feeling, you get an immediate response, theres a silence, and its dramatic, and you know you got them, the applause.

But when you get into television and film, you do the work, and a year later you start getting responses from it. when youre so distanced from it, the internet is the applause of film and television. You wanna know how someone feels about your work, candidly, theyll let you know. And if they say, it was great, I can really appreciate that.

Arrow: Slither-wise, man

JoBlo: How was it acting, playing the straight man? Did you have any scenes with CGI, where you had to like

No scenes with CGI, that was actually the benefit of prosthetics. You didnt have to imagine anything. In Firefly, we didnt have a lot of green screen stuff, but sometimes we did.  And then you have to imagine it. You have to paint that picture. It makes it easier, a lot easier. When I was playing that movie, we were joking left and right and we were kicking our characters around, I thought, boy I, James let me know if you want me to pull it back, because we kept finding things to make fun of ourselves. But James, said, no, its good, it will be funny. The fine line is letting it be funny, without being a comedy. I went through that movie, working it, thinking I was being really funny, and then I watched it and I realized I was the straight man.

I was in Saving Private Ryan .

JoBlo: Really?

I played that part, I played it as dramatically as I possibly could, I pulled my heart out for that part and then at the premiere, I saw it and everybody laughed.

JoBlo: Oh yeah, cause

Oh my God, its really, really funny. I didnt realize that this scene was comic relief. I had no idea. That that was your first chance to take a breath and release some tension in that otherwise very intense film, especially the beginning. I didnt realize I was the straight man.

Arrow: Ill have to check the movie again to see that scene.

Yeah, yeah.

Arrow: Ive only seen Serenity and this picture, in terms of your acting career. You play always the straight guy, the nice guy do you ever crave to play this coke-snorting psychopath or something to change the level?

Yes, Joss Whedon has been kind to me. Another difficult thing about getting a job in Hollywood is until you can prove to them that you can do it, they wont let you do it. Theyll say, Hes really good, but we dont think he can carry a show because hes never been a lead before. It takes somebody with vision, with faith and Joss Whedon placed his faith in me and gave me the lead of Firefly, after that, all of a sudden, Im getting lead roles. No one ever hired me to play a villain, no one would. Patrick Lussier whos directing White Noise II, tried nine years ago, in Dracula 2000, and he was very kind to me. But I didnt get it, and Joss Whedon allowed me to play a villain in the last five episodes of Buffy, and I had a great time.

<we laugh some more>

And I played a guy who was obviously crazy, but he didnt think so, hes completely calm, hes actually extremely pleasant, but he will murder you with a smile on his face, and he was inhumanly strong.

Arrow: Did you play a vampire?

I wasnt a vampire, I was just this inhumanly strong preacher who had been granted super human strength from an evil source of power. In all of Buffydom, no one could really cream Buffy and I was just like, Bam!, knocked her out with one punch, across the room, now what else you got? I was just this really calm wonderful guy and I took my thumb, and I put it into this really popular characters eye, I put out Xanders eye, I robbed him of his eye and boy, I hear about that ALL THE TIME.

JoBlo: I could tell you enjoyed it, too. Ha-ha-ha.

Oh yes to play a creepy, creepy character. Joss Whedon has given me a lot of firsts.

JoBlo: You got something in Wonder Woman?

Im egging him on, Im camping out on his lawn, every time he goes out to his car, Im spinning for himha-ha.

Arrow: I guess people are going to want to know this, theres talk, Serenity II or Firefly is coming back to TV?

Talk from who? Guys from the internet? The internet at the same time as being a vast source of incredible knowledge and exchange of ideas, is also a festering, breeding ground for gossip and rumors.

Arrow: So theres no Serenity?

Nothings come across my table, if theres a rumor, I havent heard it nor has anyone called and said it. Nothings happened. If there is going to be a sequel, everybody in the cast will be there to do it, we love Firefly, we love Serenity, we love each other, we love doing itwe would all do it.

Together: Thanks a lot, Nathan.

What can I say...the man was a cool dude, he's Canadian and I didn't mind sucking up to him because he was one class act. SLITHER opens on Friday, March 31st.


Spitting Bullets
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12:21PM on 03/31/2006

Cool dude

Great interview, I also think Nathon Fillion should get more movie roles and comic book/sci-fi type characters fit him very well. Serenity rocked my socks off and I really expected it to suck. Im seeing Slither this weekend, it looks fun as hell. Looking forward to it!
Great interview, I also think Nathon Fillion should get more movie roles and comic book/sci-fi type characters fit him very well. Serenity rocked my socks off and I really expected it to suck. Im seeing Slither this weekend, it looks fun as hell. Looking forward to it!
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9:43AM on 03/31/2006
Nathon Fillion kicks so much ass. He should get more work.
Nathon Fillion kicks so much ass. He should get more work.
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