“GrendyKhan,” AKA Holly, did this thing to promote the wholly worthy Joss Whedon motion picture “Serenity.” This interview was conducted last September. The movie hits theatres next September. Behold!
Herc/ Quint or whoever… Here’s an interview I did w/ Nash from Radio Dead Air last September at Dragon Con in Atlanta. I’ve been sitting on it for months, waiting to send it ‘til the trailer for SERENITY came out. So, here it is. ~peace out, GrendyKhan
Nash: This is Nash and Holly with Radio Dead Air and Ain’t It Cool News and we’re sitting down at Dragon Con in Atlanta with Adam Baldwin and Nathan Fillion, believe it or not.
Adam: We had a great time. You want to go ahead, Nate?
Nathan: No, I was just wondering, do we have to lean into this . . . ? (the tape recorders)
Nash: Oh, no, it’s pretty sensitive.
Adam: All right. No, I was just going to say, we’ve had a day and a half here at DragonCon, and we’ve been meeting a lot of wonderful people. Great costumes. The energy here this year has been just outstanding, as far as I’m concerned. Not that I was here yesterday and I can judge it against anything, but everyone I’ve met so far has been so joyful and happy to be here.
Nathan: Yeah, there certainly is a neat feeling of camaraderie here. I liked watching the Halo guys walking down and shaking hands with the Lord of the Rings hobbits and what not . . .
Adam: The Star Wars Stormtrooper treasure hunt that they were doing?
Nathan: (chuckle) “These are not the droids you’re looking for?”
Holly: They give you a badge, and other stormtroopers have to collect them. They give you a ticket in return, and whichever stormtrooper gets the most of them wins. It’s like a treasure hunt for them. A Scavenger hunt.
Nathan: It’s a card, and it has a droid on it. If you’ve got one, a stormtrooper in full costume can come up to you and say, “How long have you had these droids?” At which point you have to turn over your card to them. They give you a raffle ticket for playing. You can play in character; you can go out and laugh it up. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
Holly: I don’t think they did it today, but usually during DragonCon the 501st, which is the name of the posse of stormtrooper guys, they do like a mega-parade with all of them together. You know, five Darth Vaders and all these Imperial Guard. One year one guys had an MP3 player with a speaker mounted on the front of his web belt playing the Imperial March. Nathan: Nice.
Holly: People lost their minds watching that.
Nash: Well, I guess obviously the first thing we want to bring up would be Serenity.
Nash: It must have been great to hear after what happened with the show that you’d be coming back to do the movie. I’ve heard rumor that this is perhaps the first of maybe more, or . . . ?
Adam: Well, it’s a dream come true to be back up in the air with Firefly . . . Serenity, as it is now. We were all heartbroken when it was knocked out of the air.
Nathan: To say the least.
Adam: And we’re fortunate to have this chance at redemption. It’s the only positive way that we can go forward and look at it. And the movie kicks ass.
Nathan: It’s pretty good.
Adam: It’s really great.
Holly: So how long is it going to be in post with Zoic – the Emmy Award-winning Zoic, I should say –
Adam: Well, fortunately, in the days of avid computer editing, they were able to edit as we went. So they have an assembly already, and I think now it’s just fine tuning, music scoring, sound effects, visual effects, and all that other stuff. But they’re way ahead of the curve on this one.
Holly: I have a personal reason for asking this . . . the last five years in Austin, Harry from Ain’t It Cool News has hosted a film festival called “Butt-Numb-A-Thon.” It’s a 24 hour film festival, and due to his various contacts in the industry, he’s gotten brand new films for us. Like, “Pitch Black,” and Vin Diesel came. The last three years, even though we had to keep quiet about it for two years, we got all the “Lord of the Rings” films early. Last year we got “Return of the King,” and Peter Jackson came by.
Adam: Well, the support that –
Holly: We’re really –
Adam: I understand where you’re going. The support that Ain’t It Cool News has given to our show over the time that we were on is something that did not go unnoticed. We appreciate the people that understood what we were trying to do. You’re on the short list, put it that way.
Holly: Awesome. From what I understood New Line wasn’t wanting to give Ain’t It Cool “Fellowship,” and we got the print that the next day was going to New York for a 9/11 benefit. We got to see it first, and they were a little hot about that . . .
Adam: Well, Hercules was on our set, and who was the other guy who was there? There were two people who came out from Ain’t It Cool News, Hercules and . . . the other guy. Eh, you’ll work it out. So they were there and they had a good time and they toured around and were able to interview Joss. Those relationships are close. No guarantees, I’m just the actor . . .
Nash: Now, you have to admit, Firefly’s got to be one of the more unique ideas for a science fiction show. What happened when Joss approached you about the project?
Adam: I just started off with basically going in and meeting him to see if . . . well, it was an audition process. He was familiar with who I was from my other work, and brought me in to meet him.
Nathan: Were you in love with your role that you were auditioning for?
Adam: I didn’t see a script. I saw some sides, that’s all I saw when I went to meet him. It was a very short notice thing. But I understood the rhythm and the dialect immediately because it was from the kind of movies my father took me to when I was young. I was a big Warren Oats fan, Eli Wallach fan, guys like that. Struther Martin. So it rang my chimes, and I think there was that synergy with Joss from the get-go. But it was a straight-on audition process. Then I had to go test for the network. Nate got the straight offer, though –
Nathan: (laugh) Not so much.
Adam: That’s what you told me!
Nathan: Yeah, I told you that, but not so much. Myself, I had a deal with 20th Century Fox and they were going to try to help me to find a job. They put me on a meeting with Joss Whedon. At that time there was no script available, there was just a treatment, which is basically a play by play of what’s going to happen in the script that’s not yet been written. And I was in love. Right off the bat, I was in love. And I didn’t even know how they spoke, just a line here and there. I thought, “This is the greatest show.” I had a ton of questions, and I went to Joss Whedon. This is a man who when he creates something in his mind leaves no stone unturned. He’s got every detail. And I was in, I wanted it so bad. I fell in love then, right then. Before I even got the audition, I was in love.
Nash: Now these are very intense characters. You run the gamut between the captain and Jane . . . how much input did you have in their development, and how much was just on the writer’s side of things?
Adam: Well, we had zero input.
Nathan: (laugh) Pretty much.
Adam: We’re just the actors. See, Joss and his writing staff on the show would break stories in their story meetings and it would come to us fully formed. There was really no time for actors in the middle of production of one episode to start adding input. You have an eight day schedule, which is actually a good amount of days. I’ve worked on some where you have six, and that’s a nightmare. Seven is good, eight is a luxury, but that’s still cranking it out. You don’t have time for the actors to start changing things around too much, unless you’re going to start getting 12:30, 1pm calls on Friday, which is another nightmare. The golden rule of television is you want to have a 7am Friday call. That means all week you’ve been on schedule and you haven’t pushed the crew too much into doing twelve hour days, and everyone’s morale stays high that way. You start grinding people into the dirt for whatever reason, then morale starts to sink after a very short period of time and the quality of the show suffers.
Nathan: I think there’s also a danger of empowering actors . . .
Adam: That’s true, too. You don’t want to empower actors.
Nathan: Don’t empower actors.
Holly: Now you (Nathan) come from an improv-slash-smartassy background, because I’ve know Mark M*#^, from Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theater and he told me about it last year. He told me about the Serenity movie last year when you told him to keep it on the quiet, because it hadn’t been really printed yet –
Nathan: I told him to keep it quiet and he told you?
Holly: Yeah . . .
Nathan: I see. (grouchy voice and look)
Holly: BUT! - I didn’t say a damn word, (note: and I’d wanted to break that on AICN months before, but I didn’t) and I had to pretend, “Surprise!” months ago . . . but I was glad it was so far back so that they’d already knew it was going to go forward, and it took a while to get all the stuff up and running. My own background is in improv, and I know it’s frustrating when actors have to do exactly with the lines that are written, and you have gaggy moments . . . but is it because the script is so tight, or is it because people are such control freaks that there’s no option to go over a line?
Adam: The former applies to Joss. The script is tight. When we receive it, it’s tight, and the story’s complete. The character’s dialogue is well formed, and every character featured in either the a-line or the b-line is highlighted appropriately. Everyone has a full arc in the development through that. To me, that’s not a bad thing. I think that’s a great thing. It frees the actors up to concentrate on the work of bringing their extra stuff, and not have to screw around with, “Gee, that’s not a comfortable way to say that, so I need to worry and spend energy fixing this scene and the dialogue . . .” That just takes away from your energy of making it click. When you’re delivered a script like Joss will do that’s complete and the dialogue is appropriate for all the characters and all the angles, and the story has a beginning, middle and end, you don’t have to worry about rhythms. You just surrender to his vision, and you go with it. To me, it’s very freeing, and it makes the actors very comfortable. Now, the actor’s responsibility is you have to say it word-perfect, which is a challenge . . .
Nash: Yeah, you have the English-Chinese dialect . . . how difficult was that?
Nathan: Learning a line phonetically?
Adam: Not too hard.
Nathan: Not very.
Adam: Now, if it was long passages, there were some guys -- like Alan (Tudyk) – who had a lot more trouble with it.
Nathan: Alan couldn’t do it.
Adam: Jane didn’t have too much Chinese. It was like a “screw you” here and a “humpin’ dog” there . . .
Nathan: Dong ma.
Adam: Dong ma, yeah. There were some other characters that had more of it, but it didn’t affect me.
Nathan: I had a lot of trouble saying, “The explosive diarrhea of an elephant.”
Holly: Doesn’t exactly flow off the tongue.
Nathan: Heh, no. Not a slippery phrase.
Holly: I know you guys can’t say too much plot point-wise, but I had some people ask me some things they would like to ask . . . Is there anything that would have been continued in Season 1 or maybe Season 2 that we get to see glimmers of in the Serenity movie?
Adam: I think everyone knows that by now . . .
Nash: We’ll finally actually see Reavers?
Adam: Oh yeah.
Nathan: I got a look at some dailies of Reavers . . .
Holly: Is it creeptastic?
Nathan: It was so frightening. And it’s just me watching it and its no sound effects. It’s in context, just “action,” he goes, and . . . I’m thinking this is going to give some children nightmares. I mean, its PG-13 . . .
Adam: It’s a guaranteed PG-13, so they may soften the blow there a bit. It’ll be PG-13 Reavers.
Nathan: Nothing soft about that Reavers, man.
Adam: Okay, hardcore PG-13 Reavers.
Holly: Well, it was on TV already, but psychologically it was more scary because you didn’t see them . . .
Adam: I’m a big fan of off-screen violence.
Holly: I’ll go and watch me some “Kill Bill,” but to see Hitchcock, . . .
Adam: Yes. Let the audiences mind create the horror. And Joss is very good at doing that. And you’ll see a completion . . . well, not necessarily a completion, but a further explanation of the origins of River . . .
Holly: Is that the main story arc?
Adam: It, um, it is part of what the story will evolve, certainly, it will include, um . . . quite a bit of actions . . . and excitement . . . and humor, and you know . . .
Nathan: That’s a very nice tap dance you just did.
Adam: Well again, the audience doesn’t want me to give away story. But I think the interesting things and the most provocative things coming out of the series as far as I was concerned were, “Who’s River? Who’s Book? Who are these people, what are their origins . . .”
Holly: Everyone else is pretty cut and dried, when you look at it . . .
Adam: Well, the movie will explain more in detail who these people are. Certainly not all of them and not in every way people will want or expect. There are going to be twists and turns that Joss always throws in. When I read the script, I said, “This is the best script I’ve ever read.” Not the best script I’ve ever worked on, but the best I’ve ever read . . . of course, I’ve only read eight . . .
Nathan: Not a strong reader. His lips move.
Adam: Yeah, I read my lines and everything in between is just blurry words . . .
Nash: “We tried to resuscitate them . . .”
Nathan: (laugh) Nicely done.
Adam: Heh. Again, this piece will be stand-alone. It’ll include many of the elements of all the characters from the series, and yet for those who’ve never seen the series, they’ll be enthralled.
Holly: I know you guys all were at comic-con a few months ago, and one of our guys was there . . . our reception is not as many people, because the ballroom couldn’t hold that many, but I think it’s been pretty enthusiastic. They had to move you up to the big room this morning.
Nathan: Yeah, we got promoted from a small room to a big room.
Holly: That’s the room James Marsters was in last year . . .
Adam: Did he fill it?
Holly: Yeah. With screaming fans.
Adam: God bless him. I love James.
Nash: That’s another thing, both of you have had run-ins with the Buffyverse, Adam on Angel and Nathan on Buffy. What was the feeling like? Was it known at the time that this was going to be the last season when you both came in?
Nathan: Oh yeah. Joss asked me to come in to wrap up the last five episodes, and I told him, “I’m in.”
Adam: Well, I came on to Angel before the cancellation came down, but there were storm clouds. He wanted me to finish the season, thinking that there might be more. I wasn’t convinced it was going to be canceled. On Firefly we held out hope for the longest period of time, until the official word came down. That axe was kind of hanging over out head for a while.
Nathan: (laugh) Yeah, since we got picked up.
Adam: That was a hard thing to do, and yet it was a liberating feeling, because we all pulled together as tightly as I’ve ever seen any crew. We knew we were under the gun. We knew we had to deliver the best shows that we possibly could. The writers were all under that gun, the cinematographers, the actors . . . that pressure, I think, improved the product.
Nathan: I’ll even add to that. I’ll even say once we did get cancelled, it only got stronger. I thought to myself, “This is going to be really tough, going back to work to finish off this episode, knowing we’re cancelled.” We had another three or four days of work left. People chose to pull it all out.
Nash: Which was the last one you worked on?
Nathan: “The Message.” People chose to just put their strong faces on, come to work, be happy and enjoy the last few days of what was a great group. We had a real good chemistry.
Adam: My through-line through the hard days when our ratings were low and the rumors were coming --
Nash: I do have to say Fox was not kind to you folks.
Adam: I’m not going to criticize.
Nash: You can’t, we can.
Adam: No, it’s not my place. I don’t even pretend to know what goes on the decision making process behind these things. I don’t want to, because it doesn’t interest me. What does interest me is making a good product. And – (Something falls from the overhead balconies and lands on Adam.) Surreal, we’ve got debris falling from above.
Nash: You want to talk about surreal? Earlier David Carradine was over playing piano before you got here.
Nathan: (chuckle) Fabulous.
Adam: But back to the point, my mantra was, “This is something special, and let’s appreciate it while we have it.” Because the storm clouds were brewing, and “We might get canceled, guys.” Being the grizzled veteran of the crew, besides Ron Glass. He and I were kind of looking at each other going, “Hrrm.”
Nathan: And Jewel Staite.
Adam: And Jewel Staite, of course. The youngest member of our cast. (laugh) I can’t get over the fact that she’s younger than Summer.
Nathan: And has worked almost as long as you have.
Adam: That’s true. She started when she was six.
Nash: So where were you when Joss came to you and said, “We’re getting back together. We’re going to do the movie.”
Nathan: Oh, jeeze.
Holly: Drunk by the pool? (laughter)
Nathan: I was working on a pilot. A police show pilot. No, I was working on “Miss Match,” for NBC.
Adam: I was . . . what year was that? It was April of ‘03?
Nathan: Yes, around then.
Adam: Okay, that’s when Joss said, “There’s some real strong interest here.” He wrote us all a really cool letter, which I can’t share, but it expressed the struggle and the silver lining in those storm clouds, that it was going to happen. He never gave up hope. He was going to make this movie if he had to do it in his backyard. That’s why I’ll say to my dying day, Joss Whedon is a cinematic hero, as far as I’m concerned. This is a show—
Holly: So this has never happened before. Well, Star Trek . . .
Adam: This has never happened before. This is a show and a story that needed to be told. He wasn’t going to let this story die.
Holly: He could have done a comic book or a novelization of it . . .
Adam: Well, yeah, he would have made and animated film or a comic book series, but God bless Universal. They loved the show. Mary Perin over at Universal loved this show. And she pushed it through, made people aware of what it was. The other thing we all know and agree is that the fan base out there, the internet fan base of this show, saved it. Didn’t save it on television, but it saved it.
Holly: I’ve done some poking around, and there’s like six thousand websites.
Adam: Because of the fan base, and the realization that this show was something special, the DVD came out and was a hit.
Adam: Yes. And it continues to sell. So we browncoats, we cast members, are fans of yours. I wrote a thread on the original message board, and that was the title, “We Cast Members Are Fans Of Yours.” Always have been, always will be. This is an intelligent fan base, and this is intelligent television and filmmaking that deserves to continue.
Holly: Yeah, more of that and less “Real Life With Paris Hilton” . . .
Adam: Sex always sells, but Joss is a great writer and deserves to have his stories told.
Nash: I was talking with Julie Benz earlier about how she’s feeling toward the future of episodic television right now with all this reality stuff that’s barraging the airwaves.
Adam: Well, Joss said to me that this is the hardest thing he’s ever written, this screenplay. And I said to him, this is the best thing I’ve ever read.
Holly: Kinda makes the struggle worth it.
Adam: Out goal was to put what he wrote down on screen, and I think we’ve accomplished that.
Holly: You just finished last week?
Adam: Yeah. We sat in on dailies . . . (to Nathan) You were there pretty much every day. I was there, I’d say about 75% of the time, or more.
Holly: You get to do a lot of your own stunts?
Adam: I don’t do my own falls . . .
Holly: That’s fine! You don’t want to get broken . . .
Nathan: I’ve got a purple and black spot on my ass from my holster that won’t go away.
Adam: Is it right there? (Lunges across and hits the spot, sending Nathan off.)
Nathan: YEOW! (Takes a second to recover) I did a bunch of my own stunts. My character, although he’s the first guy to get into a fight and isn’t afraid of fighting, is also the first guy to get knocked around and beaten up. He’s not into a fight because he knows he’s going to come out a winner. He gets into fights because he’s got anger to release. I think he’s just an angry man, and that’s one of his releases. But the stunt guys came to me at one point and said, “Listen, that first fight you did was really great, now we’re going to tailor it to what you do best.” And I said, “Well, what’s that?” And he said, “You take a punch.”
Holly: My favorite taking a punch guy is Harrison Ford. Hands down.
Nathan: I take my inspiration from him! My favorite is when he takes a punch and he gets all wobbly. He doesn’t look like a hero taking a punch, like “I can take it.”
Nash: Well, you did the whole dying thing in the one episode . . .
Nathan: Yeah, there’s that.
Nash: Handled that very well.
Nathan: Thank you.
Nash: Now, you’ve got a considerably larger budget for two hours, as opposed to a budget stretched over an entire season. A lot of work was done . . . Serenity was re-done, for the movie?
Nathan: Rebuilt it from scratch. There was nothing left of the old set. Well, Alan stole the button. And Lonnie from Zoic, the special effects stole – borrowed – one of the sliding doorways . . .
Adam: It was just going to go in the garbage heap.
Nathan: He used it to separate two of the offices at the Zoic staff office, so that they’ll always have a little piece of Serenity there. But otherwise, the whole thing had to be built from scratch.
Nash: With considerably larger amounts of money . . .
Adam: A lot more detail for the bigger screen, and the lighting and the camera work allows for a lot more depth and time that they’ve had to set it all up. Which is not to say that Jack Reed’s not a quick guy. His team works very fast. We were very ambitious in our setups, for a major feature film. Much of the dedication early on was to the action sequences out on locations. I think those days when we were shooting the film were some of the most fun days I’ve ever seen on a movie, because we all knew what the stakes were. We had to deliver those two weeks of location work on those days. Everyone was there on time. Everyone was prepared. Everyone rocked. They had planned this major sequence of stuff, and they’d animated the whole thing on how to shoot it. Not only did they animate what you would see on screen, they animated what the equipment behind the scene was doing. They showed that to each crew member, “This is where you will be while we’re doing this shot.” Everyone knew where to be, and how to work.
Holly: I wonder if they took some of their cues for that sort of work from stuff Peter Jackson did on the “Lord of the Rings” films.
Adam: Yeah, Lonnie from Zoic just went ahead and animated the whole darn thing. He didn’t render it completely . . .
Holly: Yeah, like, “These whiskers here should go like this . . .”
Adam: No, no no. (slips into Jayne’s voice) Them whiskers is expensive . . .
Holly: Is there going to be a Serenity video game? I don’t know how you could make a video game out of it . . .
Nathan: I went to E3 with some of the Firefly/Serenity people, and I was party to some meetings with some kids who developed the video game engine, wanted to talk. It was very exciting just to see the beginnings of a video game . . . I hope it’s X-Box, and I hope it’s great. (To the recorder) X-Box, if you’re listening, I need Halo 2, in advance . . .
Adam: Care of Mutant Enemy.
Holly: Would you do the voices for that?
Adam: (as Jayne again) Who’s gonna do Jayne ‘sides me?
Holly: Robert DeNiro’s done voices in some games, so it’s not unheard of, but some people want to distance themselves from that. “Oh, that’s a kid’s game thing.”
Nathan: My favorite voice in a video game is Adam Baldwin in “Killswitch” . . .
Adam: Thank you!
Nathan: Yeah, there’s no way I’d let someone else do Mal. Hell no.
Holly: You couldn’t necessarily get the right emotional depth for a video game.
Nathan: Right, or the mild retardation of Jayne . . .
Holly: Yeah, you just can’t convey that –
Holly: Aw, now he’s not your friend.
Nathan: Hey, that’s a compliment! Nobody can do mildly retarded like you can.
Nash: As Jayne was once described, “A trained ape, without the training.” Adam: Yes. Ook.
Holly: There was a question someone had asked me to ask . . . when you’re naked on the rock, is that a tattoo or a birthmark?
Nathan: It’s a tattoo.
Holly: And what is it a tattoo of? You want to tell people? If not, it’s cool . . .
Nathan: It’s something I did when I was nineteen, and I regret. I mean, I’d rather be clean. I don’t want my grandkids looking at me going, “What’s that?!” Well, it’s a just a . . . eh, it’s nothing.
Adam: What is it?
Nathan: It’s a (holly’s note: I’m not telling’ ) …
Adam: So it has no sentimental value anymore?
Nathan: No, I’m big on Egypt. I’m big on Egyptian culture and how they were so incredibly advanced and amazing, and we know nothing about them. Just gone and erased. They were so advanced, and yet disappeared. Know what I mean?
Holly: Like the Mayans . . .
Nathan: Exactly. That kind of stuff has always interested me. Enough to go to Egypt? No. Enough to tattoo it on my ass? Yes.
Holly: So, what are you guys doing next? Aside from downtime when the movie comes out and then you’re on Circuitville. You have anything coming up?
Adam: NBC-Universal is very good at Circuitville. We have probably the best promotional arm out there. If they so choose, I’ll go wherever they tell me to go and be honored to do it. I do want to get on “The View” . . .
Nathan: You keep saying that. You got something to say there, don’t you? Political?
Adam: No, no, no. I love women.
Nathan: You got some right wing—
Adam: No, never! Never never never never never.
Holly: There’s a bit of eye rolling, for those of you who can’t see it.
Adam: Never never never. I like those girls. Women.
Adam: Ladies, yes. Barbara Walters, big fan. Um, what was the question again?
Holly: What are you guys doing next? Chilling for a few months?
Adam: I’m leaving tomorrow for South Africa to do the re-make of “The Poseidon Adventure” for Hallmark TV channel. It’s a miniseries.
Holly: That’s great! I loved that movie.
Adam: It’ll also have Rutger Hauer, Steve Guttenberg, Armand Asante, and C. Thomas Howell. It’s a wacky cast. I’m really looking forward to working with Rutger Hauer.
Holly: What are you playing?
Adam: I’m playing a Homeland Security officer. This time the boat tips over because of . . .?
Adam and Nash: . . . terrorists.
Holly: Aw, I liked commies.
Nash: But that’s so 1980’s . . .
Adam: Ronald Reagan got rid of them. (chuckle) Stop politics! No politics.
Nash: Okay Nathan, what about you? What do you have coming up?
Nathan: I just finished three months of working twelve to fifteen hour days. I’m tired.
Holly: X-Box, if you’re listening . . .
Nathan: Yes. X-Box, if you’re listening, I’ll be sitting on my ass playing Halo and waiting for Halo 2. We have a weekly tournament: BJ, Marisa, Corey, Patty, me, and Alan Tudyk.
Nash: “Red Vs. Blue” fan?
Nathan: Yes I am, as a matter of fact! I don’t know who those guys are and how they did it, but they did a nice job. But we have a weekly Halo tournament at my friend’s house where we get together. There’s six of us, all adults, we’re all completely sane and reasonable. But when it comes to Halo, we’re at each other’s throats. One time someone threw a box of Girl Scout Cookies at someone else. It got out of hand.
Holly: Anarchy! Anarchy!
Nathan: Over this computer game that we love to play. Every week, we get together. Six-thirty, we have dinner, nice chat. We socialize. Seven o’clock, seven-thirty rolls around? We’re playing Halo ‘til midnight. It’s brilliant. We all look forward to it every week.
Holly: That’s a cool tradition. Well, I don’t want to take up any more time . . .
Adam: No, I’m cool. Look, your web site’s very cool and I’ve spent time lurking there and reading there, so I’d be happy to stay.
Holly: Oh, so that really might have been Adam Baldwin on there in the chat room.
Adam: Me? In a chat room? Never. Rarely. Okay, sometimes.
Holly: Sexigrrl17 . . .
Adam: (laughing) Yeah, that’s me. That’s my handle.
Holly: Okay, silly question: why are there so many hookers in the future? (pause) I didn’t ask. These aren’t from me. (note: blame that one on Saffy)
Nathan: I don’t know about so many, but it’s legalized. I mean, how many hookers are there now? Are there that many more in the future? I dunno. They’re legalized, licensed, educated . . . I think if anything, the situation’s been improved.
Adam: See, I don’t consider Joss’s portrayal of them as “hookers” to be appropriate. They’re courtesans.
Adam: Trained providers of pleasure.
Nash: There’s a lot of different historical periods kind of merged, in the fact the planets sort of drift out and get more backwoods the further you go. You have a place like Angel. That planet’s very modern, then you go out more frontier. A lot of it is kind of crushed together.
Adam: You mean Ariel.
Nash: (face into palm) Ariel! Sorry.
Nathan: That’s all right, you’re still in the neighborhood.
Adam: In the Buffyverse. You’re cool.
Holly: This may not be able to be answered with movie secrecy, but where are your characters going in the film? Can you tell us what sort of things, maybe emotional development.
Nathan: Tell me about the emotional development of Jayne.
Holly: He’s got a very nice gun, I’ll have you know.
Adam: I think there’s basic human elements in any character that you play, if it’s going to be honest. For Jayne, his superficial goals are rugged individualism, money, sex, freedom from authority, and a little more sex. But the most important thing for humans is love. That’s not to say Jayne ever becomes a softie, but what drives humans – I don’t care who they are – is their search for a legacy. You can leave a legacy of cash, nobody really cares about you. It’s your connections to the people you’re with. This . . . doesn’t happen so much in this movie, with Jayne. It’s a subtext that I as an actor choose to play, but Joss said, “Bring it back, Adam. You don’t love anybody. That’s not going to work for this character.”
Nash: We saw a touch of a turning point in the scene where you almost got spaced.
Nash: That was very intense. What was that one like to do?
Adam: Like I said at the panel, it was the hardest scene physically. It was the most challenging scene I had to do with all the dust. Emotionally, it was, “Well, who is this guy? And does he really care? Why does he care?” And he really cares what Mal thinks. Mal, to Jayne, represents respect for self. It’s respect for an ideal of honesty. Of honor. I crossed the line with Mal that I know in hindsight I shouldn’t have. It was a stupid mistake. And yet, he’s willing to relent and surrender to it, that he deserves to die for this.
Nathan: Does Jayne fear to be judged? (btw… he looked really intrigued when he said this)
Adam: Only by Mal, at this point. Because you gave me, in the episode “Out of Gas,” a safe harbor. You improved my quality of life from where I was with those rapscallions . .. those scruffy men that I had to bunk with.
Nash: And your own room.
Adam: My own bunk, darn it. And he put me on a boat with really hot chicks and guns—
Holly: The chicks running around half-nekkid.
Adam: Yes, running around all sweaty and nekkid. For that, Jayne is always beholden to Mal. And he doesn’t want the responsibility of being in charge of a ship. So he knows he fucked up by crossing Mal. He didn’t care about crossing River or Simon. They weren’t part of the crew, as far as Jayne was concerned . . . until Mal set him straight on that. And I’ll say that the allegory in my life – then I’ll be done, and it’s Nathan’s turn – on this show, Nathan Fillion was the man. He carried the bulk of the work on his shoulders, for the cast. His work was far more intense, the load was far heavier, and he pulled it off with grace, humor, and kept us all laughing, responsible, and dedicated. He helped make Firefly the best this we could. So yeah, Nathan Fillion, another one of my heroes.
Holly: That’s a lot of pressure to put on a guy to address.
Nathan: That’s very nice. Adam has said that more than once now.
Adam: But I challenge his ass, too. Every day, we make each other work. He makes me work hard, I make him work hard. It’s a great balance that way.
Holly: Co-workers in theater, that sort of happens. You get that bond. “All right, I’ll work with you, but I’m also going to pull you and test you . . .”
Adam: It’s great.
Holly: And you get the give and take, and in the theatrical world, things are pretty intense up to opening. Then you have the whole show run, and you may go your separate ways.
Adam: This is why it’s a family thing. He is one of the few leaders in a cast that challenges the other actors to work harder and be better. That I admire more than anything. He brings it every day, to be better, make me be better. Everyone starts improving that way.
Holly: A lynchpin, or catalyst. And I have a question for you, Nathan: I’ve referred to you for several years as “Minnesota Ryan.”
Nathan: Oh, yes!
Holly: How was that?
Nathan: That was great.
Holly: You weren’t fighting, you just had to show up and be really emotional for five minutes.
Nathan: Just that. Saving Private Ryan. It was my first movie. I was very tense. Steven Spielberg film, scene with Tom Hanks. World War II epic. I’d never been to London, never been to Europe. Nine hour time difference, couldn’t sleep a wink. And there I am on set, and Steven Spielberg’s telling me what to do. “Start over there, come running over here, hunch down there, do this and this . . . and action!” And I was tense and nervous. I got to say this: all the success that Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have had? It’s deserved. They’re gentlemen through and through. I was a kid who knew nothing and I had no idea that scene was comic relief until I saw it in the theater, and everybody laughed. There were a lot of firsts there, and for a first experience with a film I had a good one.
Holly: How long were you over there?
Nathan: I was there for five days and I worked for two.
Holly: Was that your SAG card?
Nathan: No, I was in SAG long before that.
Adam: The movie was an epic.
Holly: I know, I cried at the trailer for that thing. Came out of it a wreck. We snuck from Naked Gun 33 1/3 into Schindler’s List. Not a really good idea. Especially because that was the week OJ killed his wife. It was really weird seeing him on screen.
Adam: Wait a minute! He was acquitted! The gloves didn’t fit.
Holly: No one takes into account that leather shrinks when it gets wet, but oh well . . .
Nash: Um, look! Air!
Adam: My favorite cartoon that was in the papers was OJ on a golf-green looking in the hole and the caption is “Nope! Nicole’s killer ain’t in there!”
Holly: Yeah, that was a big damned judicial disgrace.
Nathan: Next subject!
Adam: Off the record, delete, delete, delete . . . thank you, take that all off!
Holly: That’s fine, we’ll ignore that part. But you can have a political opinion. Or do you think it would not be prudent in Hollywood to have a—
Adam: Oh no, OJ killed her.
Holly: Well, I don’t know what else to pump you guys for because I know you’ve had a long day with the autographs and the panels. If I think of anything else I’ll e-mail you .
Adam: Yeah, but I’m slow on e-mail.
Holly: And you’ll be in Africa.
Adam: And I’ll be in Africa.
Holly: When is that projected to come out, the new Poseidon Adventure?
Adam: It’s Hallmark, I don’t know. It’s going to be a four hour miniseries, so I don’t know.
Holly: I recently saw a documentary on the people who loved The Poseidon Adventure, and they’re a little crazy . . .
Adam: My buddy Mark Shepherd, the guy who played Badger, says, “Oh, you got that part? That’s cool! Going down to shoot it, that’s wonderful. You gotta be good you know, because they’re going to run it forever.”
Nash: Speaking of, are we going to have Badger back for the film?
Adam: No comment. Mark Shepherd is a very good, close personal friend of mine.
Holly: Is that how he was brought in? Did you say, “Hey Joss, this is my friend . . .”
Adam: No, he got the part on his own.
Holly: I know that Joss was supposed to play that role originally.
Adam: He fancied playing it, I don’t know if that was ever solidified.
Holly: Was his acting skills up to it?
Adam: Oh God, he’s a good actor.
Nathan: He’s great. At the read-throughs, he played Badger and he knew his part by heart.
Adam: Yeah, he brought it.
Nathan: I would love to see him play a role.
Adam: I think at that time the decision was, “You know what? I’ll just direct.”
Holly: That’s cool.
Adam: You know, people keep asking what’s our favorite episode. I keep coming back to “War Stories,” but then I go, “Well, ‘Serenity’ was great, too. And ‘Ariel’ was great, and ‘Out of Gas’ was really great . . .” Actually, “Out of Gas” has my favorite scene.
Nash: It’s funny, I would have thought you’d have thrown “Jaynestown” in there.
Adam: (thinks) You know, no?
Nathan: What was your favorite scene?
Adam: My favorite scene was Jayne’s introduction to Mal. I loved that scene. “Ariel” has the great scene in the airlock. That was the most challenging scene and I though it was rockin’, but “Out of Gas” had all the humor and toughness and gruffness. Also the way it was shot, with a kind of bleached out feel . . .
Holly: Really bright, like Pitch Black. And that scene set up the entire relationship right there, in fifteen lines.
Adam: Plus, that dining room scene with the birthday cake for Simon?
Adam: We got to spend a couple of days just in that room, all together, all the characters. Those are my favorite scenes.
Holly: Well, thank you very much for your e-mail address, and it was really good to meet you guys.
Adam: Thank you.
Nathan: A pleasure.
Added note to all… The feature film of SERENITY comes out September 30, 2005. Be there or be