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Nathan Fillion

Nathan Fillion
Fillion at the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere in July 2014
Born (1971-03-27) March 27, 1971
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Occupation Actor
Years active 1993–present

Nathan Fillion (; born March 27, 1971)[1][2] is a Canadian actor best known for his role as Richard Castle on the ABC series Castle as well as his earlier portrayal of the lead role of Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the television series Firefly and its feature film continuation, Serenity.

He has acted in traditionally distributed films like Slither and Trucker, Internet-distributed films like Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, television soap operas and sitcoms, and theater. Fillion has also voiced several video games, including the Bungie titles Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Destiny, along with the 343 Industries video game Halo 5: Guardians.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • 1994–2009 2.1
    • 2009–present 2.2
  • In contemporary culture 3
  • Charity work 4
  • Filmography 5
    • Films 5.1
    • Television 5.2
    • Web 5.3
    • Video games 5.4
    • Audiobook 5.5
  • Awards and nominations 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Fillion was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the younger son of Cookie and Bob Fillion, both of whom are retired English teachers.[3] He has an older brother, Jeff,[4] and attended Holy Trinity Catholic High School, Concordia University College of Alberta, and the University of Alberta, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Society.



After working in several theatre, television, and film productions, including Theatresports with Rapid Fire Theatre and the improvised soap opera Die-Nasty, Fillion moved to New York City in 1994 where he acted in the soap opera One Life to Live as Joey Buchanan, for which he was nominated in 1996 for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series. In 1997, he left the series to pursue other projects (but would return for a brief guest appearance in 2007).[5]

After moving to Los Angeles, he played a supporting role in the sitcom Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, and was cast as James Frederick "The Minnesota" Ryan in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. Fillion had a recurring role as Caleb in 2003 in the final five episodes of the final season of Joss Whedon's series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In 2002, Fillion starred as Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the Joss Whedon science fiction television series Firefly, for which he won the Cinescape Genre Face of the Future – Male award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA. Fillion also won the Syfy Genre Awards in 2006 for Best Actor/Television and was runner-up for Best Actor/Movie.[6] Fillion called his time on Firefly the best acting job he ever had,[7] and compares every job he has had to it.[8] Although the show was cancelled, it was adapted to the big screen; he reprised his role as Mal in Whedon's movie Serenity (2005).

Fillion at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International.

Fillion lent his voice to the animated series King of the Hill in 2001, the video game Jade Empire (as the voice of Gao the Lesser), and the animated series Justice League Unlimited (as Vigilante in the episodes "Hunter's Moon" and "Patriot Act") in 2005 and 2006. He portrayed Green Lantern/Hal Jordan in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Justice League: Doom, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. Fillion starred in James Gunn's 2006 horror film Slither. For his starring role as Bill Pardy, he garnered a 2006 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards nomination in the category of Dude You Don't Wanna Mess With.[9]

Fillion starred in the romantic comedy film Waitress, written and directed by Adrienne Shelly, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2007, and opened in theaters on May 2, 2007. Waitress grossed $22,125,001 in worldwide sales as of May 13, 2008, and $29.22 million in rentals as of January 28, 2008.[10][11] Fillion starred in White Noise 2: The Light. He made one appearance in the 2006–2007 season of the television show Lost, as Kevin, Kate's ex-husband.

In October 2006, Fillion signed a talent holding contract with the Fox Broadcasting Company, and in December 2006, The Hollywood Reporter[12] confirmed that Fillion was cast as Alex Tully in the series Drive, which debuted on Fox in the spring of 2007. Drive was created by Fillion's longtime friend and former Angel and Firefly writer Tim Minear. Ivan Sergei played Alex Tully in the original pilot episode of Drive. The first two Drive episodes premiered on April 13, 2007, in Canada (April 15, 2007 in the United States). However, the show did not deliver the ratings Fox desired, and on April 25, 2007, the network announced that the series was cancelled.[13][14] The final two produced episodes were supposed to air back-to-back on Fox in July 2007 but did not actually become available until July 15 when they were posted on the Drive MySpace page.[15]

He reprised his 1990s role as One Life to Live‍‍ '​‍s Joey for the series' 9,999th and 10,000th episodes, aired August 16 and 17, 2007.[16][17][18]

Fillion joined the cast of ABC's Desperate Housewives at the beginning of the fall 2007 season as Dr. Adam Mayfair. His first appearance was in the episode "Now You Know", which aired on September 30, 2007.

He voiced the role of an ODST Gunnery sergeant in the Xbox 360 game Halo 3, alongside fellow Firefly stars Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin. At one point early in the first mission, he identifies himself as "[Sergeant] Reynolds" over the radio, referring to his character's name from the TV series Firefly. All three actors are given personalities in the game that match those of their characters from Firefly. He provides the voice and portrayed likeness for Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck in Halo 3: ODST,[19] Halo 5: Guardians, and a brief appearance in Halo: Reach.


Fillion at the 2014 Phoenix Comicon

In March 2009, the first episode of the ABC television series Castle aired, in which Fillion stars as the titular character Richard Castle, a mystery novelist who helps the NYPD solve crimes. In May 2009, ABC green-lit the production of the series for a second season.[20] In 2009, Fillion was nominated for Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama for his performance in Castle. On March 30, 2010, ABC announced that Castle had been renewed for its third season with a 22-episode full-season order.[21] Castle was renewed for a fourth season on January 10, 2011,[22] a fifth season on May 10, 2012,[23] a sixth season on May 10, 2013,[24] and a seventh season on May 8, 2014.

BuddyTV ranked him #10 on its list of "TV's 100 Sexiest Men of 2009",[25] #19 in 2010,[26] #20 in 2011[27] and #39 in 2012;[28] #7 on its list of "The 15 Best Drama Lead Actors of the 2011-2012 TV Season";[29] named his character's relationship with the other main character as #18 (and the Best Flirting Relationship) on its list "Love Is All Around: Best TV Relationships of 2010",[30] #13 (and the Best Delayed Relationship) on its list of "The Best Relationships of 2011",[31] #15 on its list of "The Special Relationships: TV’s Top 50 Love Stories of the Past Decade",[32] #1 on its list "Love... Or Not: The Top 12 Will-They-or-Won't-They Couples of 2012"[33] and #2 on its list "Lip Smacking Good: The Best Kisses of 2012";[34] named Castle as #6 on its list of "The 11 Best Returning TV Shows of 2011",[35] #11 on "The 15 Best Dramas of the 2011-2012 TV Season"[36] and #12 on "The 12 Best Dramas of 2012".[37]

Fillion was featured in a spoof porn web video on Spike called "Nailing Your Wife", part of the PG Porn series.[38] Fillion made a brief cameo appearance in the season 5 episode "Revolving Doors" of the web series The Guild.[39] In late September 2011, Fillion guest starred as the Action Sports 1 anchor in the web series Husbands.[40] He played Dogberry in the independent film Much Ado About Nothing (2012), based on the Shakespeare play of the same name, written, directed and produced by Joss Whedon.[41][42]

In 2012, he appeared in the episode "The Daly Superheroes" of the web series The Daly Show.[43] On February 17, 2013, Fillion hosted the 2013 WGA West Coast Awards.[44]

He is currently working with Alan Tudyk on a web series called Con Man, loosely based on their experiences on the convention circuit after Firefly.[45]

In contemporary culture

Nathan Fillion in Metascifi, artist's impression 2014

Nathan Fillion has been associated with the public artist Martin Firrell since 2009. Fillion is the subject of two works of contemporary public art by the artist: Complete Hero (digital projections of text and video portraiture to the West and North elevations of the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London, 2009)[46] and Metascifi (digital app investigating American television science fiction series for ideas and strategies for living well).[47]

Fillion was the 'face' of Complete Hero. The artist explained the choice of Fillion as follows: "I wanted to make a piece of work that looked at all kinds of heroism, not just the usual derring-do of white square-jawed men. But I thought it would be interesting to start with a white, square-jawed man and Nathan Fillion agreed to take part." [46]

In Metascifi, Fillion discusses the deeper significance of his Firefly character Captain Mal Reynolds, reflecting on some of the universal preoccupations of any human life: death, love, evil, intimacy, power, vulnerability, violence and freedom.[47]

Charity work

Fillion co-founded the non-profit organization Kids Need to Read with author PJ Haarsma in 2007 to help inspire kids' imaginations by getting more books into underfunded libraries.[48]


Fillion at PaleyFest, March 2012


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Ordeal in the Arctic Master Warrant Officer Tom Jardine Television film
1994 Strange and Rich Walter Hoade
1998 Saving Private Ryan Pvt. James Frederick 'Minnesota' Ryan
1999 Blast from the Past Cliff
2000 Dracula 2000 Father David
2003 Water's Edge Robert Graves
2004 Outing Riley Luke Riley
2005 Serenity Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds
2006 Slither Bill Pardy
2007 White Noise: The Light Abe Dale
2007 Waitress Dr. Jim Pomatter
2008 Trucker Runner
2009 Wonder Woman Steve Trevor (voice) Direct-to-video
2010 Super The Holy Avenger
2011 Green Lantern: Emerald Knights Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (voice) Direct-to-video
2012 Justice League: Doom Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (voice) Direct-to-video
2012 Much Ado About Nothing Dogberry
2013 Monsters University Johnny Worthington III (voice)
2013 Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (voice) Direct-to-video
2013 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Hermes
2014 Party Central Johnny Worthington III (voice) Short film
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Monstrous Inmate (voice) Cameo[49]
2015 Justice League: Throne of Atlantis Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (voice) Direct-to-video
2016 Henchmen (voice) Filming


Year Title Role Notes
One Life to Live Joey Riley Buchanan
1996 Spin City Guy Uncredited
Episode: "A Star Is Born"
1997 Total Security Troy Larson Episode: "Das Bootie"
1998 Maggie Winters Ronald Episode: "Mama's Got a Brand New Bag"
1998–2001 Two Guys and a Girl Johnny Donnelly 60 episodes
1999 Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits Michael Ryan Episode: "Star Crossed"
2001 King of the Hill Frisbee Guy (voice) Episode: "Luanne Virgin 2.0"
2002 Pasadena Rev. Glenn Collins 3 episodes
2002–2003 Firefly Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds 14 episodes
2003 Alligator Point Bill Pilot
2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Caleb 5 episodes
2003 Miss Match Adam Logan 6 episodes
2004 Hollywood Division Det. Tommy Garrett Pilot
2005–2006 Justice League Unlimited Vigilante (voice) 3 episodes
2006 Lost Kevin Callis Episode: "I Do"
2007 Drive Alex Tully 6 episodes
2007–2014 Robot Chicken Various voices 5 episodes
2007–2008 Desperate Housewives Dr. Adam Mayfair 12 episodes
2009–present Castle Richard Castle Main role
2010 Venture Bros., TheThe Venture Bros. Brown Widow (voice) Episode: "Bright Lights, Dean City"
2012 American Dad! Joel Larson / Joe Kidney / American Businessman Klaus (voices) 2 episodes
2013 Writers Guild of America Awards 2012 Host Television special
2014–2015 Community Bob Waite 2 episodes
2014–2015 Gravity Falls Preston Northwest (voice)[50] 3 episodes
2015 The Big Bang Theory Himself Episode: "The Comic Book Store Regeneration"
2015 Kroll Show Mountie McMinniman Episode: "Twins"


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Captain Hammer Internet miniseries
2008 James Gunn's PG Porn Chris Episode: "Nailing Your Wife"
2011 The Guild Himself Episode: "Revolving Doors"
2011 Husbands Anchor Episode: "Being Britney!"
2011 Morning After, TheThe Morning After Himself Episode: "1.173"
2012 The Daly Show Himself Episode: "The Daly Superheroes"
2012 Neil's Puppet Dreams Dr. Mayfair Episode: "Doctor's Office"
2015 Con Man Jack Moore

Video games

Year Title Role
2005 Jade Empire Gao the Lesser (voice)
2007 Halo 3 Sergeant Reynolds (voice)
2009 Halo 3: ODST Gunnery Sergeant Buck (voice)
2010 Halo: Reach Gunnery Sergeant Buck (voice)
2014 Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff Himself (voice)
2014 Destiny Cayde-6 (voice)[51]
2015 Saints Row: Gat out of Hell God (voice)
2015 Halo 5: Guardians Spartan Edward Buck (voice and motion capture)


Year Title Role
2013 World War Z Stanley McDonald (voice)

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Award Result
1996 One Life to Live Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Younger Leading Actor Nominated
2003 Firefly Saturn Award for Cinescape Genre Face of the Future - Male Won
2005 Serenity SFX Award for Best Actor Won
Empire Award for Best Newcomer Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
2007 Desperate Housewives Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Waitress EDA Award for Best Seduction (with Keri Russell) Nominated
2011 Castle TV Guide Award for Favorite Couple Who Should Get Together (with Stana Katic) Won
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
2012 TV Guide Award for Favorite TV Couple (with Stana Katic) Won
People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Drama Actor Won
PG Porn Streamy Awards for Best Guest Star in a Web Series Nominated
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights Behind the Voice Actors Award for Best Male Vocal Performance in a TV Special/Direct-to-DVD Title of Theatrical Short Nominated
2013 Castle TV Guide Award for Favorite TV Couple (with Stana Katic) Won
People's Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic TV Actor Won
2014 TV Guide Award for Favorite Actor Nominated
People's Choice Award for Favorite On-Screen Chemistry (with Stana Katic) Nominated
2015 People's Choice Award for Favorite Crime Drama TV Actor Won
People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Duo (with Stana Katic) Nominated


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External links

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