'Drive' time for Fillion at Fox

4:00 AM PST 12/15/2006 by Nellie Andreeva, AP

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Nathan Fillion has been tapped as the lead on Fox's midseason drama series "Drive."

The show, from 20th Century Fox TV and executive producers Tim Minear, Ben Queen and Greg Yaitanes, chronicles an underground race across America.

Fillion will play Alex Tully, a charming, rogue landscaper who is coerced into joining the race to search for his wife, who had been abducted.

In the original pilot, the role was played by Ivan Sergei.

Fillion's casting in "Drive" stems from the talent holding deal the actor inked with Fox and 20th TV in October (HR 10/17).

Fillion, who is friends with Minear, was first approached with the project in the spring but couldn't do the pilot because of a scheduling conflict with the filming of his feature "White Noise 2: The Light," slated for release Jan. 5.

"I was a little disappointed because Tim is a friend, and there is nothing better than working with people you know and like," Fillion said.

At a barbecue this summer, after the pilot was shot but before Fox picked it up to series, Minear again floated the idea for "Drive" to Fillion and showed him the pilot.

"I was so excited about it," Fillion said of his first reaction to the tape. "He has some really talented actors lined up in it, and it's exciting to get to meet them and work with them."

In addition to "White Noise 2," Fillion will soon appear in the indie "Waitress," which is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Fillion, whose credits also include the series "Two Guys and a Girl" and "Firefly" and the features "Serenity" and "Slither," is repped by the Gersh Agency and 3 Arts Entertainment.
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