Nathan Fillion (born March 27, 1971) is a Canadian TV and movie actor who started off in the soaps. Since then, he's moved on to a number of famous roles. A few of his characters can be morally questionable or bordering jerkass territory, but he's a really nice guy in person. And quite a comedian.
His roles include:
- Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Firefly-class vessel Serenity.
- The first Joey Buchanan in One Life to Live.
- Johnny Donnelly (19992001) in Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place arrives in the second season as a jukebox repairman with eyes for Sharon. Running gag is that he is very thrifty. The couple marry during the third-season finale.
- Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck in Bungie's Halo 3: ODST, starring alongside fellow Firefly mains Adam Baldwin and Alan Tudyk. Sgt Buck would return in Halo 5: Guardians as a Spartan-IV.
- Richard Castle, novelist-turned police consultant in the self-titled series Castle.
- Captain Hammer, Dr. Horrible's nemesis.
- Caleb in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a major case of Playing Against Type.
- Hunter Vanguard (and fan favorite) Cayde-6 in Bungie's Destiny franchisenote
- Alex Tully in Drive, another cancelled-after-4-episodes series from Tim Minear.
- Bill Pardy, town sheriff from Slither.
- Father David in Dracula 2000.
- Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman animated film.
- Dr. Pomatter in the independent comedy Waitress.
- Cactoid Jim and Jefferson Reid in the old-time radio style show The Thrilling Adventure Hour.
- Constable Dogberry in Joss Whedon's production of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
- Johnny Worthington III in Monsters University.
- Hermes, god of thieves and travelers and father of Luke Castellan in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
- Preston Northwest in Gravity Falls
- Jacques Snicket in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017).
- Sterling in Cars 3.
- Gary the severed head in Santa Clarita Diet
- Nathan Drake in a 2018 fan film based on the Uncharted seriesnote
- John Nolan in ABC's The Rookie
The first of those roles earned him most of his recognition, despite the short run of the series. Numerous bit parts include cameos as Buck (again) in Halo: Reach, a Sgt. Reynolds in Halo 3, James Frederick Ryan in Saving Private Ryan, and Kate's ex-husband in Lost. Before that, BioWare had him voicing Gao The Lesser in Jade Empire. He also voiced Vigilante in Justice League Unlimited.
He was also used as Hal Jordan in a fan trailer for the proposed Green Lantern film, which he thought was awesome. He wasn't actually cast in Green Lantern, but he was cast as Hal in the 2011 direct-to-DVD Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. He reprised the role in Justice League: Doom, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and The Death of Superman. Similarly, he was in talks to play Captain America, but the role went to Chris Evans. However, he did end up playing a superhero (well, a satirical one anyway) known as The Holy Avenger in Slither director James Gunn's second film Super. He began a Viral Marketing campaign to get himself the role of Nathan Drake in an Uncharted movie, which he did not get, but the fan film shows us how that would've played out.
Regarding Firefly, he said in a interview that if he had $300 million, he'd buy the rights to Firefly and make it his own. This being the internet, a brief but passionate movement sprang up to help him do such a thing, but it fell apart due to a lack of official support from Fillion himself and/or Joss Whedon.
When asked at a convention what Fox would have to do to make the cancellation up to him, he said Fox would have to buy a private island, get a cruise ship to take a bunch of Firefly fans there, and build a life-size replica of the ship so he and the fans could act out scenes on it. Needless to say, he loves the show as much as any of the fans do.
He has a Twitter account and is very good at making Memetic Mutation Catch Phrases such as "Bam, said the lady" and "Feed the birds." Both have had cameos on his hit show Castle (as well as "Double Rainbow", a meme that he didn't start.)
He's also One of Us. Con-goers pass around a story where a few friends sat down for some Firefly pen-and-paper action. Nathan approached the table and purportedly requested to play as... River. His interactions with fans extend online as well, as evidenced in the following: In early August of 2012, he conducted a question-and-answer session on Reddit. Here's proof for the skeptics that it is/was really him.
Some other geek facts:
- He kicked Justin Bieber's ass in Halo: Reach. According to him it "felt good". Also, there are two exceptions to the statement "Only Bungie employees have flaming heads in Halo 3." Those two are a contest winner and Nathan Fillion.
- He has dated Tricia Helfer (Number Six in Battlestar Galactica (2003)) in the past, and called it the best date he had ever had when questioned on it by a fan.
Bizarrely, he has been mistaken for Jason Bateman several times by both normal people and celebrities alike to the point where it is a Real Life Running Gag. But of course, Nathan takes no offense to it and continues documenting the instances where it happens because he's just that awesome. It might help that on one of those occasions it got him out of a speeding ticket.
Tropes Associated with his involved works and characters:
- Celebrity Resemblance: He bears a physical and acting-wise resemblance to his fellow preceding television counterparts Larry Hagman from Dallas and Paul Linke from CHiPs, right down to the acting filmography similarities when comparing Nathan's acting roles to Hagman's and Linke's (see Expy below for more detail).
- His role as Sheriff Bill Pardy in Slither can be compared to Paul Linke's character of Sheriff Bruce Smith of Motel Hell, due to their roles as brown-haired and seemingly meek and mild-mannered sheriffs who both happened to be protagonists of horror comedy B-movies and are both a naive Idiot Hero in a way.
- Nathan's role as Preston Northwest in Gravity Falls is a somewhat of a loose cartoon version of Larry Hagman's character J.R. Ewing from the television show Dallas, just without the stetson and the Southern accent, with a mustache and if J.R. was an outright Card-Carrying Villain rather just being Affably Evil.
- Cayde-6 in Destiny is pretty close to what would happen if you stuck Malcolm Reynolds into an administrative position (and a spiffy robot body), with the same crazy plans, accent, attitude towards authority, and desire to get out and fight the war himself.
- Nathan's most recent role as John Nolan in ABC's The Rookie is for now the closest thing to a modern spin-off of CHiPs following Paul Linke's equally quirky cop character Officer "Grossy" Grossman.
- Ink-Suit Actor: His primary character in the Halo series, Sergeant Buck, is an exact replica of himself◊.
- Old Shame: Averted, to the point of reprising the role of Joey Buchanan on OLTL in 2007, having nice things to say about his Soap Opera days and unashamedly tells funny stories about the "three faces of acting" as well as how useful a school it was.
- Production Posse: A proud and frequent member of both Joss Whedon's and James Gunn's.
- Star-Making Role: Captain Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly in sci-fi circles, but Richard Castle of Castle made him known to the mainstream audience. That being said, he became just as known for Firefly to the mainstream as The New '10s rolled on and Firefly became a sleeper hit.