Fillion in Fox space saddle

SOURCE: Yahoo! News

Sun Feb 10, 7:19 PM ET

By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) — Nathan Fillion is taking a seat behind the controls of “Firefly.”

The former “Two Guys and Girl” star has been cast as the lead in Joss Whedon’s upcoming space Western for Fox Broadcasting Co. from 20th Century Fox TV.

Fillion will play Captain Malcolm (Mal) Reynolds in the show that has a 13-episode commitment from the network. Set 400-500 years in the future in a newly established Union of Planets, “Firefly” centers on Reynolds, the owner and the captain of a small transport spaceship of class Firefly named Serenity, who takes any job — legal or not –to stay afloat and put bread on the table for his crew.

The time period in the series is a version of the Reconstruction era and Reynolds is a disillusioned war veteran of the big battle to unite the planets who fought on the side that sought independence and lost bitterly.

“He’s a very dark-driven guy,” Whedon said.

Whedon said he is “psyched” about the casting of Fillion in the role.

“The great thing about Nathan is that he has that presence, that gravity and that coolness that you believe he’s been through stuff and he’s lived,” Whedon said. “At the same time, he can turn on a dime from drop-dead bad-ass to complete goof — he’s deeply, deeply funny and that’s another important part of Mal’s character.”

Though it is set in space, “Firefly” will have a distinctive Western flavor since the spaceship, in order to stay below the radar, will ride mostly to the frontier planets that are barely inhabited.

The combination makes it a dream come true for Fillion. “The couple of things I wanted to do since I ever stared acting was be in a Western, be in a space show and this is kind of like both, so I’m really excited,” he said.

The actor also acknowledged 20th TV, the producer of “Two Guys,” which, following the cancellation of the comedy by ABC, signed him in a talent holding deal that resulted in the “Firefly” casting.

“20th has been very kind to me, and now the whole thing came full circle, it’s nice little happy ending to that chapter,” he said.

The spaceship for “Firefly” is currently being built on the Fox lot where the series is scheduled to begin production in early March. “Firefly” is set to premiere in the fall with a two-hour pilot written and directed by Whedon whose Mutant Enemy Prods. is producing the show with 20th TV.

Ever since the series was announced in December, there has been speculation the show might get “The X-Files’ ” Sunday 9 p.m. slot that got a boost by Chris Carter’s announcement last month that “The X-Files” will bow out at the end of the season.

Fillion first joined “Two Guys” in its second season, guest starring as Johnny, the rugged and handsome boyfriend of Sharon (Traylor Howard). The guest spot turned into a recurring role, which soon led to Fillion’s joining the cast as regular.

Before that, he did a three-year stint on “One Life to Live,” which earned him a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1996. His film credits include “Saving Private Ryan,” “Dracula 2000” and “Blast From the Past.”

Fillion is repped by 3 Arts Entertainment and the Gersh Agency.