THE 'SERENITY' INTERVIEWS - PART 3
Nathan Fillion and Morena Baccarin
by Johanna Juntunen - LA, September 2005
must’ve been quite a roller coaster, having a TV show cancelled and then
having a movie made of it?
M: And in
that ride when you plunge three-hundred feet…
was the cancellation. But it’s been good, nothing like a major motion
picture to make you feel better about having your TV show cancelled.
Q: What was different about the show and this movie compared to Star
Trek and to Star Wars that made people notice it and become
M: I think
it’s good. I think that people identify with the characters and they like
the stories that are being told. It’s really exciting.
agree. I think that’s Joss Whedon’s talent. He writes interesting people,
I love my character. And I love the stories and the relationships. I think
that’s what the fans invest in. It takes them by the heart.
Q: Maybe they can also identify because the world seem so similar to
ours, a world where they want to make us better. It’s almost like a Bush
(laughs) I think Joss Whedon’s view of the future is extremely…
N: Yeah. I
don’t see aliens around us right now. I don’t see any reason there would
be tons of aliens five hundred years from now.
very tangible, you can see everything.
the same. People are doing the same thing they’ve always done: screwing
each other over for money and power. That’s what happens.
Q: When Star Trek made the leap from TV to the big screen, the
show had been playing for years. In your case it’s fascinating that there
is a cult based on a cancelled show?
wonder what would’ve happened to Star Trek then if they had the
technology, the internet, DVD technology, box sets.
Q: But what is your perspective on it?
M: We had
to move on. It was my first TV show and I really fell in love with it and
I got really heart broken, I’m sure we all did. So I moved on. I thought
it was over. I had to move to my next job.
didn’t move on very well. I was very bitter. I wasn’t prepared (laughs). I
didn’t see it coming.
Q: How did you get the news?
came down to the set while we were working.
called me and then Joss called. And then we all went to Nathan’s house and
that’s true. We were so afraid that the last three days that were left
were going to be torture, and we went in and everybody was determined to
have a great time.
M: We kept
saying “what’s the worst that could happen?”
“They’re going to cancel us?”
Q: How did you react when Firefly came out on a DVD and it
became such a hit?
M: I think
I was the last to know that because I had moved on. Somebody said that
it’s coming out on DVD. I thought “oh, that’s great, a couple of people
will buy it.” (laughs)
show getting cancelled was a downer because we thought we had a great
show. The DVD selling well was like a little pat on a back, like a
consolation prize. It said “guys, you weren’t doing anything wrong”.
“We still want to see this and now this is how we are going to watch it”.
Q: What kind of feedback do you get from fans?
have a very mutual understanding of the work, I think. They really enjoy
the same things that we enjoy in it. They have such an in-depth
understanding of the world, the universe that was created. They really do
their research, and they read things about it. They’re very intelligent.
And they’re really passionate about it. They get really into the world,
and they dress up as us sometimes. They have these really intelligent
questions about the Alliance vs. the Browncoats, it’s really cool.
beautiful art work and posters on the internet. “Things I’ve learned about
have quotes that we’ve said.
makes you feel pretty clever. And it makes it look like this show ran for
Q: This movie has more humour than most sci-fi films. How did Joss put
it in there, because the audience is laughing both at you and with you,
which is unusual?
N: Well, I
think both are true. Joss is solely responsible for how the characters
credits us for the deliverance of it, but he really tells us how to do it
(laughs). It’s in the writing, it’s all there.
real life. It’s dry humour, not punch-line funny, but it certainly is dry.
ironic. Joss mirrors life very well. I love that part where you’re trying
to get into the Gore-Tex and you say “it’s hard to get into!” It’s funny
because we feel your pain. It’s not funny because it’s a funny line.
guy gave me an understatement!”
Q: How did you originally get the roles on Firefly?
manager told me about this new sci-fi western, and I said “what???” And he
said “yeah, it’s Joss Whedon”, and I had auditioned for Angel when
Buffy first came around. So I was well aware of his talent and I
had a couple of friends on Buffy. So I was intrigued, read it…
M: Did you
have a script?
N: No, it
was the treatment written by play by play how the script was going to be,
it hadn’t been written yet. I had a holding deal with 20th Century Fox. It
was like “we’ll give you a job, we don’t have anything yet but just hang
in tight”, and they set me up with a meeting with Joss Whedon. I was in
his office, Amy Brit was there I remember, she’s lovely, and there’s this
guy in the corner with this purple sweater with a big hole in it, scraggly
red hair and big red wiry beard. I was thinking “who is this guy and when
is Joss Whedon going to get here?” We sort of started chatting and I
realized that that was Joss. We spent about forty-five minutes chatting
about the show, and that’s how I got my audition and eventually the show.
M: I came
in last. They had already cast somebody in my role. The treatment came to
me similarly as to Nathan, but I was in New York. And I was so sick of
going to tape things and not getting jobs, that I passed on it and said
“no, I don’t want to audition for this”. I went to do a play and came
back, and decided to go to L.A. for a week. Somebody already had the job
but got fired, and the part was open again. I saw it as fate. I had to
audition at 3 p.m. and at 5 p.m. I had to go to meet Joss. I was also
wondering who this guy was, but we just chatted for thirty to forty-five
minutes and I was like “I’ll do anything this guy does”. He’s so
passionate and intelligent. And you’re just playing, he had me do this
Russian accent. Then I tested the next day and got on set. These guys were
all there, and they’re already shooting. I was like “what??”
N: We were
a week in and she came wide eyed to the set. Joss explained everything to
Q: You started in soap opera One Life to Live. It’s a double
edged sword; a great starting point but you get easily stuck?
(Robert) Woods, he played my uncle, he played Bo Buchanan, I was Joy
Buchanan, and two years into my three year contract he pulled me aside and
said “look, I’m here to tell you that they are going to come and
renegotiate your contract. I’m telling you, say no. The harder you say no,
the harder they are going to make it to leave. They offer you more money,
but daytime drama is the golden handcuffs; they’re gold but they’re
handcuffs. If you leave and go to L.A. and try it out, and if it doesn’t
work out they’ll take you back, so go out there and try your luck”. So
every time I go to New York, I buy Bob a bottle of something nice.
Q: What are your expectations on the movie?
M: I don’t
know what’s going to happen. I‘m trying to take it day by day at the time.
I just hope that it does really well. I’d love to do another movie.
Q: What if they came back and said that they’re going to bring back the
my arm (laughs).
Q: Would you do it?
M: As long
as all these guys are in it and Joss is involved, yeah.
Q: Did you go to Comic-Con?
times I think.
Q: What kind of feedback did you get this time when the movie was
were so excited about the movie. We showed them a little clip and people
just wanted more and more.
stopped. Nothing wrapped up. So there are a lot of people out there who
invested and are left hanging.
N: Yeah. I
remember watching the first season of Alias and they had those
wonderful cliffhangers. At the end of each episode I wanted to see the
next one, thinking how were they going to get out of this one. And
Firefly fans have been left like that for almost two years. That’s a
long time to wait for the cliffhanger.
Q: Who did you base your character on, is he like a John or something
friend of mine grew up in Texas and he worked on a farm with his
grandfather. He would tell me these amazing stories of his grandfather who
can’t be flustered. This one story that particularly struck me was, they
were castrating bulls. The process is that you throw them into this stall,
close the gate behind them, do your business and get the next one in
there. While they’re getting this one bull in, they’re shutting the gate,
the bull kicked and hit the gate between his thumb and a post. And it
severed his thumb which remained inside his glove, but it was hanging. He
was “oh well, we have six more to do, so let’s keep this going”. He didn’t
show the pain in any way. And there’s my friend Cory, nine-ten years old
going “grandpa, you have to go to the hospital”, crying. Because of him he
decided to go, but I think he was a tough man. He’s had some hard living.
That’s the kind of man I imagined Malcolm to be, he grew up on a ranch.
He’s a hard worker, not somebody who cries from a little pain.
Q: Is there some Han Solo in him as well?
comparison can be made, and it’s often made. I’m glad for it because I’m a
big fan of Han Solo, but if you’re going to this movie expecting Han Solo
I think you’d be disappointed. But I do enjoy this character. Malcolm is a
little crankier and more weird than Han Solo. If I invited Han Solo to a
party, I wouldn’t invite Malcolm.
Q: Were there any scenes that you remember thinking were silly because
the sets were not that detailed and got finished later digitally?
Anything with action in, personally I sort of shy away from, because I
don’t think I’m so good at it, especially the scene where the ship is
rotating out of control, and we were basically all sitting in a circle in
the dining room area, like this going (moves her upper body to the left)
and then Joss would go “to the right!” and you’re like (moving towards
right), and you’re making these faces and thinking that “this is going to
look terrible” (laughs). But that looks great.
Anything with green screen you have to release. When I’m on set anything I
do when I’m acting I have complete control over, when I have interaction
with other people I share that control with them. When you’re looking at
the green screen you’re sharing that power, relinquishing that end of it
to somebody else entirely, with a computer who is going to work on it for
months. And we’ve got some clever guys doing that. So when you’re staring
at the green screen and Joss is telling you that there’s something really
scary up there, and you look at a big pink taped X on the screen, you’re
going “This will be good, I know it. I’ll leave it up to these guys”.
Q: Are you big on DVD's, and do you collect them?
trying to back away, actually.
M: I know,
it’s hard. Like you said the other day, I don’t watch half of the things I
buy. For some reason I have to have them.
loaned a stack of DVDs to somebody who was laid up with a bad foot or
something, actually to a friend whose sister was laid up, and she said
“oh, I’ve got to get those movies back to you”. Her sister had returned
them to the restaurant, and they were gone but she said that she could get
them back. Now there’s this big stack of DVDs gone, and I couldn’t tell
you what was in it.
something’s missing, right?
N: Not for
me. I’ve stayed pretty much the same.
Q: What are your three favourite DVD's?
obsessed with Friends.
N: Do you
watch the DVD sets of Friends?
M: I do. I
bought every single one that’s out already (laughs). I have seasons one to
eight. I like the practical jokes like the one in Joey’s and Chandler’s
apartment where the bedroom door gets sliced in half, and when Chandler
goes to open the door he falls over the other half. And I love The
Family Guy, it’s a great show. And I just recently purchased my
favourite childhood movie which is Labyrinth. It’s kind of goofy
now when you see it.
N: I would
say The Incredibles. I like that movie, I see something new every
time I watch it. Sin City I have. Somebody bought it and left it at
my house. And Firefly (laughs). And I bought the Lost box
Q: Are you into comic books?
collected comic books when I was a kid, yeah, until they got too
expensive. I don’t know what kids do for money nowadays but back in my day
we had to earn it.
Q: We heard the Wonder Woman rumours surrounding you, are they true?
one of those things, it’s not up to me. I’d love to be Wonder Woman. That
would be awesome, but you have to ask Joss about it. I think he’s still
trying to write the script. It’s very premature.
Q: What kind of training did you do for Serenity?
M: I was
in a ‘fight club’ for three weeks. I was trying to do one kick for
probably two weeks.
N: I was
there barely three weeks. And I would complain about my time there, and
every time I’d come in there I’d see Summer doing her thing, kicking
something above her head about 60 times. I’d be warming up and doing my
stuff, cool down and leave, and she’s in the corner fighting nine guys.
And she had to start months before us. She worked really hard.
Q: What about with guns?
N: We got
to fire off a lot of really cool looking futuristic weapons and they
brought in a quick draw artist; the fastest drawer in the world. And he
taught me how to quick draw.
Q: How fast are you?
wasn’t bad. My drawback is that my gun is very long, so you have to pull
it high and then drop your shoulder. Instead of pulling it up in front of
you, you actually have to pull it back first.
M: I did
archery which I really liked and that was all. I didn’t get to do any
Q: What’s next for you?
N: I got a
horror movie coming out called Slither.
auditioning a lot, that’s about all I’m doing here. I almost went to
Brazil to do a new soap opera but it would be for eight months and I
wouldn’t be here for any of this stuff, so I couldn’t do it.
released on DVD on February 27th.
Interview courtesy of Universal Pictures.
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