Nathan Fillion Online
Your first and ultimate online resource for talented actor, Nathan Fillion.

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks with Nathan Fillion, star of the new ABC drama “The Rookie.

The project marked the first time Fillion ever pitched and sold a show to a network without having a pilot written. He jokingly likens the experience to selling a sandwich.

“If I told you I was gonna make you an amazing sandwich — the bread’s gonna be fresh, it’s all your favorites, the tomato’s perfect, the shredded lettuce — you haven’t tasted it yet, but you know it’s gonna be a great sandwich,” he says of his blind confidence that the show would work.

Fillion’s character, John Nolan, is based on a “kernel of truth” — the true story of a cop who changed career paths in the middle of his life, leaving his construction job to become the oldest rookie on the LAPD. And it’s not easy playing a cop.

“Here’s what they don’t tell you,” he says, launching into a description of the police “costume” he wore to play a rookie officer. First of all, the garments are made of wool — not ideal for shooting in the L.A. heat. Plus, he had to wear a belt clipped with “heavy equipment that they’re wearing around their waist,” like a gun and a four-pound walkie talkie. The belt alone gave Fillion “a big purple bruise.”

But the biggest challenge, he says, was playing a police officer in a respectful and accurate way in a time when police face so much criticism in the media.

“Unfortunately, police doing their jobs and doing a good job…it doesn’t make for good news stories,” Fillion says. “When everything goes wrong for us, that’s when we call the police. That’s a heavy burden. You have to want to help.”

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