Comic-Con 2011: 'Castle's' Nathan Fillion (Q&A)
The former "Firefly" star recalls attending his first convention with Joss Whedon and offers sage advice for first-time attendees.
With hundreds of thousands of people attending San Diego Comic-Con every year and the July 20-24 event quickly approaching, The Hollywood Reporter chatted with the big names in television to discuss their favorite memories and tips for attending the annual event. THR’s Live Feed will talk Comic-Con with actors, writers and producers in the days leading up to the event so check back soon for interviews and the latest news on panels and screenings.
Geek Cred: Firefly, Serenity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Castle
Comic-Con panel: Sunday, July 24 at 11:45 a.m., Room 6BCF
THR: What do you remember about your first Comic-Con?
Fillion: My first Comic-Con was when I first met Joss Whedon: He introduced me to that world and I’d never been to a convention before that. He and a bunch of the Buffy and Angel writers were all going down in a big van and he invited me along.
THR: What were your first impressions of Comic-Con?
Fillion: He didn’t describe it or take time to say, “Here’s what it’s going to be like”; the experience for me was fresh as I walked through the crowd and nobody knew who I was. I wasn’t anybody until Firefly. I remember what a rock star Joss was and how just the mention of a word would get people screaming, clapping and stomping their feet to the point that the floor would shake.
THR: What makes for a good panel?
Fillion: When someone asks a question, certainly you can answer the question -- or you can answer the question and also entertain: Share an anecdote; make fun of yourself. It’s not so much about the information as it is about connecting in that moment. How many times do you get the chance to go up in front of a couple thousand people and be a rock star for a minute? Just enjoy it and be entertaining.
THR: What panels would you stand in line all day for?
Fillion: Game of Thrones and Wilfred.
THR: What questions would you recommend fans not ask at panels?
Fillion: I would recommend skipping anything with a closed answer: How many years have you been an actor? 13. It’s over, it’s done. An open-ended question begs a story.
THR: What tips do you have for Comic-Con first-timers?
Fillion: If you’re going to meet someone that you’re really excited about and you’re a little nervous, a) make sure you say something positive; not something you think might be funny as some might take it the wrong way. Say something sincere and gracious. That’s always a safe bet. If you’re going to shake hands and you’ve got sweaty palms, just give ’em a wipe before you go in. Don’t torture somebody like that.
THR: What’s the best thing fan has ever said to you at Comic-Con?
Fillion: “Thank you.” That was it, just a thank you. When someone says, “Take off your shirt,” or “Show us your butt,” that doesn’t say to me that this person really likes the work that I do and the stories I tell. They’re very excited and they want to say something, and maybe they say something a little off-putting. But the people who are sincere and gracious and say, “This meant a lot to me, and I appreciate what you’re doing.” That’s great. I became an actor because I loved the applause; I loved being up there and a potential for failure and then the reward. The thank you, the applause at the end, that’s amazing. Television and film, you don’t get the applause so much anymore. When someone says thank you, that’s the closest I get to clapping.
THR: On Castle, is Beckett really, really dead?
Fillion: She’s dead now, she’s gone. Long gone, she is so dead right now. I was in Canada recently, and I was having lunch with my niece and someone came up and said, “Oh my God, what happened to Beckett?” I said, “Oh she’s dead.” “No! No, she’s not!” “OK, then she’s fine.” Whatever you want to hear, lady.