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March 02 2011

Backstage interviews Nathan Fillion. A wide-ranging interview about his life, his career, his profession. (And, yes, another comment on that Firefly campaign.)

It's funny that they phrase his rejection from Angel and his acceptance into Firefly as getting a better deal. I mean, Angel ran for 5 seasons and had 3 on Buffy. Both he and DB are doing obscenely well in their respective shows. I don't think either way he would have been better off. I think the character of Angel wouldn't have suited him though.
Well, I'm sure Fillion can do broody. But yea, I find it rather condescending towards DB and his work. Angel was exactly what the writers wanted. When I found him flat, I usually blamed the writing, not the actor on that one.

What DB did with Angel was essentially allow him to be "unintentionally funny" or rather black, whereas Fillion's Mal was written with far more obvious comic insults and general funny moments.

Perfect example:
Contrast the roughly similar ideas but wildly dissimilar executions of these two moments.

1.) Mal in "The Train Job", realizing Crow is always going to be a problem and isn't going to help him, kicks him into a running engine with a quick cut to his replacement who will do exactly what he's asking for comic effect.

2.) Angel in "Conviction", realizing Hauser is not going to help him and simply continue killing people causes Angel to make Hauser shoot himself. The remaining guard asks, "what happened to mercy?" Angel responds, "you just saw the last of it."

I guess my point is, I could see either of these two actors working each other's roles, and I don't see one being "far" better than the other. Mal is simply a more fun charecter because he's written that way.

[ edited by azzers on 2011-03-03 07:52 ]
Yeah I agree, Angel would have been a very different character. I loved what DB did with him, taking the character from supporting his love-sickness to being his own man in the way he did. He may have had more of a Spike flair for the one liners if NF had taken the role. I guess we probably would be looking at things very differently if this had happened...
I find Nathan to be much more open as an actor and this would've taken some work to overcome, so I probably wouldn't have given him a call-back either for a brooding, shadow-loving, even a bit humorless (until later) vampire. I think David's lack of experience probably helped him, as he wasn't required to do much that first year beyond brood. D has opened up quite a bit since then and, of course, N has the terminal broodiness down pat now, but could either of them have done it consistently 14 years ago?
So, who's going to register ?

Re: Angel, I read "something better" as "something where you actually get the job" i.e. he starts off with just an audition and then later on gets the lead. Maybe it's a bit dismissive though.

Not seen pictures of Nathan in '97 but I doubt he was that different to how he looked in 2002 so Angel wouldn't have had that "heroin chic" look to the part that DB had then, the look and feel would certainly have been different. That said, in 'Firefly' he did broody/intense just fine (think "Yeah, we win"), it's just he also played other shades of Mal so I think from an ability perspective he could've done it just fine.

"My family teases me, 'If people knew you, they'd see how much acting you aren't doing.'

made me smile. Good interview in general.
I didn't like this interview and god, that "Bring Back" project is making me feel sick now (though tbh, I am sick). He's working on Castle, has been for three years and many more to come! Focus on that please. It's not geeky enough so his interviews have devolved into "Why didn't you do this?" "What happened there?" " "Be a superhero please!". I want the Castle rabid to stand up and shout them down.


I didn't know about the Angel thing though. That's interesting. I wouldn't want anything to change in the Buffyverse but having such a Comic-Con friendly face would have been cool for that show. Or maybe not, since the Firefly set environment was seemingly grew from experience on Buffy. Hmm.
The "Bring Back Firefly" stuff is fairly current and (in our tiny goldfish bowl) big news, they were bound to ask him about it and at one question + follow-up it's hardly the focus of the interview. Plus, any chance he's given to clarify that it was an offhand comment, that it's not going to happen and that people shouldn't be sending money can only be a good thing IMO.

Added to that, it's in a magazine called 'Backstage' which is tagged "The Actor's Resource" so slanting it towards his career as a whole including how he got his break, significant auditions, early roles and so on rather than just what he's currently working on seems pretty understandable.
Good interview.
Angel has never gotten the same attention (it seems to me) as Joss's other shows, so in that respect I can see why Firefly could be seen as a better deal. That said, I honestly never found Nathan too convincing when he's playing "broody/tragic" as compared to when he's playing for comedy. (not knocking him, mind you, I just mean he seems more natural in a lighter role). I think his character on Castle is a perfect fit for him - it would have been nice to have a little more focus on his current projects. He is a very humble guy though, that really shines through in this interview.
But please, don't send money to a website.

There we are.

I like how he deftly sidestepped the "What does Joss think?" question.
Saje my problems were two personal things 1) I listened to The Nerdist Podcast recently and 2) I dislike it when questions are so focused. So the entire thing read a bit weirdly to me. :x
Fair enough. I don't mind focus personally, so long as it's clear where they're coming from.
Thought it was a very good interview. I wonder if they asked him to expand on the magic words of, "If you say this, they'll say this" and he didn't, or they didn't ask the follow-up question. Seems like that might be helpful knowledge to other actors wanting to move from soap operas to regular series, though it's possible the business has changed enough for the advice to no longer work as it did when NF made the leap. And Saje, yes, you are absolutely right. "Backstage" is very focused on anything that might be useful to an aspiring actor who is reading it, so a lot of the questions are asked with that in mind.
The interview reiterates a lot of stuff, but I don't really tire of hearing about Nate, his beginnings, his career. What makes me queasy about that campaign now is the fact he feels like he has to be careful about being extemporaneous in his comments. The only reason I became involved in the Nathan Drake thing was because he asked, and even though it went nowhere I guess I thought, "Fair enough, it got his name out there with comments about his talent and how good he would be in the role".

I do wonder where he'll go from Castle. Movies, I hope.
IT will be interesting to see what happens when Castle ends, although since I enjoy the show I hope for a couple more seasons at least. Hey it's a fun show and Nathan is great in it. Castle has made him an undisputed mainstream TV star, and if we believe reports, one with a very nice salary. I imagine that since his awesomness is in the mainstream domain that when it ends he will have a number of offers, hopefully movies included, although part of me think he's better off in TV roles, especially if he can develop a genre concept on cable. The Firefly stuff seems truely at the "if wishes were horses" angle for obvious reasons and should never have been taken as more than that IMHO.

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