Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Interviews

Watching with Nathan Fillion & Clark Gregg

Clark Gregg and Nathan Fillion at the Seattle International Film Festival

Back in May, as the Seattle International Film Festival launched with the opening night gala screening of Joss Whedon’s modern-dress Shakespeare take Much Ado About Nothing, I had the pleasure of talking with two of the film’s stars, Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg.

Fillion, of course, is best known as Richard Castle on Castle and as Captain Mal on Whedon’s short-lived but much-loved Firefly, while Whedon decided to spin Gregg’s supporting role in the Marvel Universe movies into a leading part in the new TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Which meant the conversation was ready to go in all directions, and did, thanks to their playful sense of fun. They met on the set of Much Ado and you could still see that they were getting to know each other, but it was also apparent that they were fast friends the way they bounced off one another, tossing quips back and forth, lobbing tongue-in-cheek insults and self-effacing rejoinders, and diving into pop-culture trivia like boys on the first day of school. Boys will be boys indeed.

Sean Axmaker: Let me begin by asking you: what have you been watching?

Nathan Fillion: I just saw Iron Man 3. I had a great time. (to Clark) You haven’t seen it yet?

Clark Gregg: (laughs) I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve been promoting the new S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show. I have to watch it.

NF: For your thing that you do? You’re killing that whole thing.

CG: Until they bring me back to life, I’m not going to watch any of the movies.

NF: You can’t watch it!

CG: I’m gonna watch it. I actually tried to get back to New York last night but I had one last appearance to do.

NF: You should read the file on it. Then your character will be right on track with that.

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Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Interviews

Interview: Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg on ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

Clark Gregg and Nathan Fillion

Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, shot in 12 days between the principle photography and the post-production of The Avengers with a cast of friends and colleagues old and new in Whedon’s own home, was the opening night film at the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival. It was a testament to the commitment of the cast to Whedon that four of the film’s stars came with Whedon for the opening gala and sat for interviews with the local and national press.

I was lucky enough to get a few minutes with Nathan Fillion (Dogberry) and Clark Gregg (Deonato), better known to Whedon fans as Captain Mal Reynolds of Firefly and Agent Phil Coulson of The Avengers. No more preamble necessary, but just allow me to point out that the transcript cannot accurately capture the joking byplay and easy laughs shared between these two actors. They had not worked together before Much Ado yet come across as old friends, or at least newfound best buddies bonding over shared love of comic books, affection for Whedon, and mutual respect for their respective talents. I was honored to be welcomed into this little club even for just a few minutes.

Much Ado About Nothing opens in multiple theaters in the Seattle area on Friday, June 21.

I know that the roots of this production come from Joss Whedon’s Shakespeare readings, where he invited members of his TV show casts for brunch at his house and read through a play. Clark, were you a part of that group?

Clark Gregg: (deadpan) Sore subject.

Nathan Fillion: (laughs) I did two of those and Clark… We didn’t know Clark then. Had we known, we probably still wouldn’t have invited him. Because he’s a little too good, he would have raised the bar.

CG: Joss would ask me to drop by some bagels but not come in. No, I didn’t meet Joss until The Avengers. Actually, I met him during Comic Con after Thor, a year before The Avengers, and he came up to me and said, “I want to introduce as part of the cast of The Avengers. I want to use Agent Coulson in The Avengers, is that okay with you?” It was the quickest head nod anybody has ever done. And then after The Avengers I was just kind of brought in, I think, because several people got jobs or passed away and suddenly I was in this movie. But I wasn’t in the brunches though they sound fantastic and I hope we do one in the future sometime.

Much Ado About Nothing was like a 12-day-long brunch, wasn’t it?

CG: It was a brunch, a dinner, and a hell of a cocktail party all rolled into one.

It looked like a hell of a cocktail party. Was there a scene where nobody had a drink in their hand?

CG: Boy, there was a lot of cocktails. Yes, when things get a little testy with all the scandal and the libeling of my daughter, I don’t think there’s a lot of drinking there.

I just want to go on record and say how that was very mean of them.

Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

CG: I’ve never been a fan of people libeling my daughter on her wedding day.

NF: Isn’t libel in print?

CG: Is it like dictation?

(both start laughing)

NF: I remember in Spider-Man where J. Jonah Jameson says, “No, print is libel.”

And that’s where you get your legal expertise, from Spider-Man movies?

NF: Yes, well, there you have it.

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