With the announcement he’ll cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, we ask why there’s so much love for Nathan Fillion.
From demonic priest to monstrous inmate, through muddling-along space captain and man-child crime writer, Nathan Fillion’s career has been a mixed one, yet whatever role he chooses, he still manages to pull it off with aplomb. Just look at the way the news that he will have a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy sent the rumour mill into overdrive. Sadly, as both Cinemablend and Stitch Kingdom revealed, Fillion will not be the voice of a psychic Russian Dog (surely a much-needed sidekick for a raccoon with a machine gun), but simply the aforementioned monstrous inmate. Think Edward Norton in Kingdom of Heaven, but nowhere near as big a part.
Fillion’s boyish good looks give him an opening for characters who are cocky to the point of being uber douchebags
Such popularity and the success it has brought can be attributed to three things. The first is that Mr Fillion is simply a great actor, capable of investing in each of his performances to the point where you just have to see his name in the opening credits to know you’re in for a treat. Secondly, Fillion’s boyish good looks give him an opening for characters who are cocky to the point of being uber douchebags. How many times have we seen Castle piss off Beckett only to win her over with a smile? How much we were not rooting for Dr Horrible every time Captain Hammer was on the screen? He even made singing about a man whose hair smelled of poo seem like a good thing.
Those same good looks can be turned into the rugged adventurer type with a mere setting of the jaw. One reason why Serenity was the film of 2005 was Fillion’s on-screen alter-ego, Malcolm Reynolds. The captain in the film and the Firefly TV series that preceded it acted as an anchor not just for the other characters to base their action around, but also for some truly brilliant lines from Joss Whedon. How many actors, for instance, could have pulled off “you can just shoot me now” when it’s followed by “or we could talk some more” after River Tam cocks the trigger?
Thirdly, Nathan Fillion has that sense of geek chic, a major asset in today’s film industry. That’s why he’s so happy to play the ‘monstrous inmate’ in Guardians of the Galaxy. Two years ago, when making a respectful petition to play the part of Nathan Drake in a movie version of Uncharted, Fillion made it conditional on keeping the character and story true to fan expectations. He even went on record, as noted by Ben Kendrick at Screen Rant, as saying he wanted the best film to come from Uncharted as possible, even if that meant missing out on the role.
The impression you get is of a man who’s in acting simply because he loves it, who’ll sign up to any part so long as he gets to have some fun
At Comic-Con 2012, Fillion comforted fans disappointed not to get a photo with him by giving them a signed card, that not only explained why he didn’t have the time for a photo, but promised to back them up if they wanted to blag their way through a story about how he had a great time with them. Overall the impression you get is of a man who’s in acting simply because he loves it. Who will sign up to any part so long as he gets to have some fun. Consider his resume.
2006’s Slither saw Fillion fighting giant space slugs with a fondness for French kissing. Captain Hammer was a superhero whose only power was being unbelievably cheesy. James Fredrick Ryan got to blub his eyes out on screen (that’s the other Private Ryan from Saving Private Ryan). And of course there’s Malcolm Reynolds, who ended up either saving the girl from trouble he’d started, or having to save himself from the girl. Fillion can be proud of all those roles, and doubtless his short stint as a monstrous inmate in Guardians of the Galaxy will serve up another notch in the tally of reasons why audiences love him so much.
Featured image: Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions
Inset image: Universal