Roundtable: Stars With an Emmy Worthy Year: @NathanFillion

The 2011-2012 television season again proved that some of the best storytelling can be found on the small screen. As the Emmy countdown begins, Back Stage gathers several actors, representing the best in television drama and comedy, at Studio 1342 in Los Angeles to discuss how they booked their roles, what it's like to be nominated for their work, and how they handle being fired.

Since you've opened the door, I have to ask: Have the rest of you been fired from jobs?

FILLION: When I was a waiter I was fired twice from the same restaurant. I guess I was that good of an actor but that bad of a waiter.

How did you book your role on your current show? I imagine some of you probably auditioned, some got offers?

FILLION: It's a colossal mind screw. Almost half of getting the job is if you can survive the process.

Was yours an offer situation?

FILLION: I had one of those deals with ABC. They put a stack of stuff in front of you, and "Castle" just happened to be the last one I read. I had a meeting with the producers, and I literally told them, "Stop looking. I'm right here." I don't typically do that.

What was it about the script that grabbed you?

FILLION: I think that I enjoy watching characters who are flawed. I used to want my characters to be perfect and really cool and likable, and I learned quickly that they're not relatable and really impossible.

People like to use the term "big break," but when was the moment you first felt you'd really made it as an actor?

 I think it was the first time I got a lead, which was "Firefly." And it was a surreal moment, because I was going to be a high school teacher. I thought I would get my degree first, and four months shy of graduating I got a call from New York saying they found a year-old audition tape of mine. They said, "If you're still acting and interested, we'll fax you the script and you FedEx us a tape." And two weeks later I'm living in New York City.




  1. tunawonder says

    Great to see that some people in the ring do actually appreciate Mr. Fillion’s work. A lot of those TV entertainment blogs don’t even have him on their dream actor nominees list.
    Lots of people are saying that they recognize Nathan’s range but that he wasn’t given Emmy material to work with this year. I disagree with that.
    Ultimately, I think that not winning an emmy is not necessarily relevant to an actor’s ability. To quote from this website I don’t remember and a couple of other places I read similar statements from, Dramedies are always awkward with the Emmys. It’s a competition, a game, with rules written by subjective humans. Fans shouldn’t feel downhearted even if Nathan doesn’t get the ‘nod’ from the gamemakers.

  2. Honey Apostos says

    I really hope there is recognition for Castle at the Emmy’s this year. Castle did not stick to a set formula. They weren’t always dramatic. It wasn’t always fun. There was a mixture of ups and downs, ins and outs. Trying to do something different. Writing a stronger story. Taking risks like these are things other shows will attempt to do too if they are smart.
    Who knows, Castle may inspire a comeback to occasional evenings in the family room. Now if the industry could just tone down the number of commercials…

    P.S. I have read and watched several Nathan Fillion interviews. I have to say, “You are frustrating as all get out Mr. Fillion. ” I say that with love.

  3. katillion says

    You only have to see his interviews to know he would have made a great teacher. He is such a good storyteller. If Nathan Fillion had been my high school teacher, I would definitely have written “LOVE YOU” on my eyelids 😉

    • Honey Apostos says

      He is an excellent storyteller. If I thought he would see the message on the eyelids, I would still do it. Even if I am a grown woman.

  4. Phillip says

    I too can easily picture Nathan Fillion teaching history or literature at the high school level. The fact that he was on track for a career in education when someone unearthed an old audition tape suggests success or failure in show business is, at least in part, a crapshoot.

    Wonderful interview, not just with Nathan but William H. Macy (a longtime favorite), Aubrey Plaza et al. Interesting that Nathan knew intuitively he was meant to play Richard Castle the moment he read the script. Soon after “Castle” debuted, the New York Observer ran a rather dismissive review that included the line “ABC is touting Nathan Fillion as The Next Big Thing, but we have a sinking feeling he’s destined to be television’s version of Ryan Reynolds.” Thankfully the network had more faith in him than the critics.

    I recall reading elsewhere that “dramadies” are seldom Emmy contenders because they’re difficult to categorize or considered lightweight. Stana’s performance in “Killshot” or just about any scene from “Always” argue otherwise. My hope is now that the unresolved sexual tension has been dealt with, “Castle” will hit its stride in Season 5 and spark some serious Emmy buzz.

    • Honey Apostos says

      Those shows like everything else that doesn’t fit in the standard round hole are some of the best. I am one of those people that don’t exactly fit anywhere in particular so when I see someone or something similar get it’s due, I’m thrilled.
      I have high hopes for Season 5 as well.

  5. southerngirl says

    It’s amazing to me that the entire Castle package is ignored by the Emmys. My feeling is that the characters are almost too real and the shows nominated gravitate toward the outlandish and what is considered pushing the envelope – shock factors such as x-rated language and explicit sex scenes. Another issue is that Castle has an overall story-line revealed across episodes and seasons. So it becomes hard to judge the value this show based on just a single episode – it’s almost like coming in to watch a movie half-way through or to start in the middle of a book before reading its beginning. Sadly, it almost as though the creators/writers/cast/ and crew do their jobs too well.