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What Drives Nathan Fillion

What Drives Nathan Fillion (photo)

The "Trucker" and "Firefly" star on super-fans, the superhero he'd like to reboot and getting a "Halo."

“Castle” is now in its second season. What do you like about working in television compared to film?

The most a movie’s ever taken me is three months to film, so that’s a compressed environment. With television, you have a run. You know you’re going to be there for a certain period of time. There’s a period of finding your feet, getting entrenched, and then learning and discovering more about your character.

I’ve sat through my share of obligatory Will Ferrell movie gag reels, but your montage of “I’m Bill Pardy” outtakes on the “Slither” DVD trumps them all. Did you miss your calling as a comedian?

I’ll tell you this much, Aaron. I’m an actor, and I’m employed. That’s kind of like winning the lottery. I’m doing what I love to do every day. I have perhaps the best job in the world, and it’s an easy job. There’s no heavy lifting, it’s not rocket science. So when I’m at work, I’m having a blast, a really good time. You go to work with a bunch of guys who enjoy their jobs. I like to keep it light, easy and relaxed. I think that’s what you’re seeing in those bloopers and running gags — stuff that entertains us as a crew.

Since both your parents were English teachers, was there any doubt that you’d be working in some field involving the interpretation of language?

[laughs] I have a tremendous respect for teachers. I was going to be a high school teacher myself, and I managed to get a job as an actor. I can’t believe that happened. I knew that acting was not a success-oriented career. I wanted to be smart about it. I didn’t want to spend my time pursuing something [where it] would be difficult to get a job, and the job wouldn’t pay much. I’ve always respected people who held a degree, so I figured if I had my degree, I could chase down whatever I wanted, and still have something to fall back on.

You’ve been contributing voiceover work to the “Halo” video game series. Are you a gamer?

Yeah, we play “Halo” all the time. I’m pretty good at it. I can’t say I’m into video games, but I can say I’m into video game. I got into “Halo,” started playing “Halo 2,” and then “Halo 3″ came around, and [franchise developer] Bungie asked if I’d like to be involved because I was a fan and effusive about it. In “Halo 3: ODST,” you can actually play a character that looks like me, my face.

10132009_FillionHalo3.jpg

Do you have any artistic dream projects?

You know what? I’ve tried my hand at writing, and it’s really stressful. And just watching directors, I feel like I should leave that to people who are cleverer than I am. I’m happy doing what it is I’m doing. If I had a dream project right now, I’d like to grab a hold of a superhero. There are so many superheroes out there, I feel like there’s none left. But there is one I think I could handle, and that’s a redo of “The Greatest American Hero.”

What would be your modern take on the show?

With the technology we have available today for effects, I’d say it’s largely the same idea, the same story, but the suit would be able to change and morph into whatever it is you needed him to do. So it could become armor, a scuba suit — you could do that stuff.

Have you ever met “Greatest American Hero” star William Katt at one of these sci-fi conventions to pitch this idea?

I actually met both William Katt and Robert Culp on the set of “Castle.” They’re friends of one of our executive producers’ fathers. We have the same stunt coordinator from “The Greatest American Hero,” so every time you saw William Katt take the fall from his flying stuff, it was our good guy Dennis [Madalone]. So I’ve got my all my fingers in the right pots.

“Trucker” is now open in limited release and will expand on October 16th.

[Additional photos: "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," Timescience Bloodclub, 2008; "Halo 3: ODST," Bungie, 2009]

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