INT: Nathan Fillion

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 though...call 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, you’re 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, “I’ll do that one”. No, it’s 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 there’s never any promises, there’s never any kind of, it’s not about, Yeah, I’m gonna do a horror next”.

Arrow: You’re not there yet.

Certainly not, and I’ll let you know what it's like when I do, but until then, I’m shlepping with everybody else, just trying to make a buck.  I’ve been really happy that I’ve been able to do projects that are really… I mean, I’m a sci-fi fan. That I get to do a sci-fi movie, you know, that’s like a fan boy’s 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.

Daredevil’s 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 don’t know how good a Green Lantern movie could be, but I could do Green Lantern. There’s a couple of comic books I’ve been told about but that I haven’t read, I used to collect when I was a kid, but it got expensive.

JoBlo: Yeah.

Here’s the kicker: I loved comic books, but it got really expensive, so I had to stop, I didn’t 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-wrenching…I 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 they’re doing, as they’re doing it so you know what they’re 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 there’s like a police force, that has to kind of govern…

Arrow: It sounds familiar.

It’s 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. I’d love to do a superhero movie.

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


Arrow: I think it’d be great. That’s just my opinion.

JoBlo: Hey, his career’s going to higher places man, Daredevil II, it’s like Nah… So what’s next actually for you, are you filming right now?

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

It can’t be something so difficult that it’s going to be really hard to do, and you’re staying late days and you’re over budget already so we filmed some neat stuff already that’s looks really pretty and cool, and really puts you in the mood for a stressful, kind of tension in this movie. Vancouver’s been cooperating amazingly with the weather, there’s a kind of grey and black kind of static theme running throughout the flick, and the sky’s 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 I’m in LA now.

Arrow: How does LA differentiate from Canada? I know it’s a toughie.

No, it’s not tough. I sometimes come down on LA, and I shouldn’t. Because LA’s 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, you’re dealing with cars… it’s 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, they’ll 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, that’s not a weakness to me, it’s a strength. I think Canada has that in spades.

JoBlo: People pick up on that when we go places, let’s say when we’re in Cannes for example, and people say “You guys are from Canada, right?” Even though we look American, and we’re like, “How did you know?” and they’re like, “’Cause you’re polite, you say thank you”.

You got an easy going nature, yeah, I know. It’s like, “Let’s just relax a little bit, no problem.” It’s a different life. It’s certainly a different energy, East coast, West coast, they’re different. One better than the other, I don’t know.

JoBlo: There’s 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 that’s all really that was available. But what I loved about it was, I mean you won’t catch me jumping out of a plane and getting that adrenaline rush. But when you’re 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, there’s a silence, and it’s 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 you’re so distanced from it, the internet is the applause of film and television. You wanna know how someone feels about your work, candidly, they’ll 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 didn’t have to imagine anything. In Firefly, we didn’t 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, it’s 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, it’s really, really funny. I didn’t 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 didn’t realize I was the straight man.

Arrow: I’ll have to check the movie again to see that scene.

Yeah, yeah.

Arrow: I’ve 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 won’t let you do it. They’ll say, “He’s really good, but we don’t think he can carry a show because he’s 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, I’m getting lead roles. No one ever hired me to play a villain, no one would. Patrick Lussier who’s directing White Noise II, tried nine years ago, in Dracula 2000, and he was very kind to me. But I didn’t 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 didn’t think so, he’s completely calm, he’s 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 wasn’t 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 character’s eye, I put out Xander’s 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?

I’m egging him on, I’m camping out on his lawn, every time he goes out to his car, I’m spinning for him…ha-ha.

Arrow: I guess people are going to want to know this, there’s 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 there’s no Serenity…?

Nothing’s come across my table, if there’s a rumor, I haven’t heard it nor has anyone called and said it. Nothing’s 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 it…we 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.

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