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September 2005
SERENITY : Press Conference interview with Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres and Morena Baccarin

SERENITY: Press Conference interview with Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres and Morena Baccarin

By Fred Topel

Coming out on Sept.30th is a film based on a TV cancelled series that only lasted 11 episodes. The film is called "Serenity" and just like when Star Trek made the comeback on the big screen, the entire cast of the series is back. Fillion plays the leader of the crew, Capt. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds while Torres plays his right hand, Zoe. Baccarin plays Mal's potential love interest, Inara. While speaking at a press conference to promote the film, cast members Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, and Morena Baccarin spoke about returning to their characters but this time on the big screen.


Were all three of you in Firefly? Was there a difference in your approach to your characters doing it for the big screen.

Gina Torres: (laughs) I love prepared journalists.

Nathan Fillion: Morena, let's start with you.

Morena Baccarin: Thank you Nathan. (laughter) Well, the three of us were in the show. That's correct and I personally didn't need much preparation to get into the movie. It just took basically just getting into those clothes again and walking on set and being with these beautiful people...

NF: You're doing great.

MB: Thanks Nathan...stop staring at me! It just really, I don't know it just happened, it was like a family.

GT: The preparation for the movie for me really took place when we were doing the series. We got very familiar with each other and the characters and the story and this journey that we as characters were on so when we actually got on set to do the film we just felt like we were finally getting the chance to wrap it all up in a beautiful box, in a bow and have an ending to it, if in fact there's an ending to it that this show deserved.

NF: Yeah, I agree exactly, all the hard work was done when we did the series and that includes not only getting to know the characters, but getting to know each other. All that work was done. We're already comfortable with each other and the roles we were playing. We were just anxious to get back into the space boots.


What was your reaction when Joss told you would be able to bring the characters back?

GT: Yeah, we had to wake Nathan up from his alcoholic stupor to tell him the good news, but other than that...no it was great. Certainly when a television show ends and ended as inauspiciously as it did unfortunately because half the population didn't know it was on while it was on and then it was gone. You just don't think that you're ever going to see these characters again. Maybe late at 3 o'clock in the morning on the Sci-Fi channel. It was a wonderful thing and it was quite miraculous because this just isn't supposed to happen. All the planets aligned to make it happen.

NF: All the planets aligned? That's actually quite apropos.

GT: Thank you.

NF: For me it was three weeks into filming before I could finally relax. I could enough into believing it wasn't going to be taken away from us. We spent the first two weeks on location. It was the first week of actually coming to the trailer everyday and going to the set everyday.

MB: It was when I showed up wasn't it?

GF: It was when you finally showed up and we're actually on Serenity again. It was kind of like going to school. It was three weeks in before I was ready to let go of the idea that it might be taken away from me again.


How did you find out that it might be coming back? Did your agent call you?

GT: Joss called.

NF: Yeah Joss called and kept us informed every step of the way he kept us informed. OK, they look like they might be interested. They're talking about it in a nice way. He kept us very up to date.

GT: It was like a splinter. A nice splinter, but an annoying splinter in your hand. It as there. You couldn't always see it, but you could feel it. Regardless of what job came along the way for us as actors, you know the two years that we waited, sort of, for this to happen it was always, Oh my God, if I get this and Serenity pulls through will I be able to do the movie or the series. Do I want the series to go? Do I want the pilot to die because this movie might happen? It was this relief, actually. We could finally breathe.

NF: Did you find your priorities were on the movie?

MB: Absolutely, No doubt about it.

NF: Wasn't ready to let go?

MB: No and it's amazing. There are nine of us that all were really into it. It's such a unique experience that [we] all made it a priority, I think, and all really wanted to come back. You've got nine actors with nine different lives and jobs and this and we're all juggling all this and this is important to all of us to want to come back. I think it speaks for how special the piece is.

NF: And we are. I wanted to come back. I wanted to hang out with you guys. I really did. Even Alan.


When did you become aware that it had captured a huge fan base?

NF: My first Sci-Fi convention. It was in Blackpoole, England. And man these fans turned out and they were excited. They were excited in a really different, kind of excited way. (Laughter from the cast).

MB: It's not just that crazy fan adulation. It's an actual common ground, it's respectful. It's a two-way street. They have an intelligence an understanding of the show that goes beyond what just being a fan is.


Were they dressed up like your characters?

MB: Sometimes they are.

NF: They hold fancy dress competitions so they are encouraged.


Where is Blackpoole?

NF: That's about as far north in England as you can get without being in Scotland.


Did you feel any sense of closure for any of the issues left hanging from the series?

NF: There's a number of issues we introduced in the series that never got to play out. One of them would be the mystery of Inara. What is she running from, why is she there? Another would be Shepherd Book. What's his history? His past? Another that we did get to deal with, which was the important one was River's connection to the Alliance and why they wanted her back so bad.


What about the relationship between your two characters (indicated NF and M)?

MB: It's addressed. I don't think this is something you're going to solve.

NF: Yeah, just baby steps.

MB: Exactly.

NF: There's progress made, but it's baby steps. These are two very complex people.

MB: Well, one of them at least.

NF: And then there's a very simple captain. (Laughter)


Had Joss' tenacity before working with him? How did you keep our faith in him?

MB: I didn't know him at all until we started working on the series and when I met him, at the audition, I thought I thought I will do anything this man does. He's got incredible passion for what he does and vision. And then when we did the pilot. The show wasn't picked up very easily. There was a lot of fighting that went into that. Getting it done. That showed a lot of tenacity on his part and I thought, Wow I feel like I can really trust him to fight for what he believes in and that's very important in somebody you're working with. I didn't think it would ever happen again, but there you go.

GT: Historically, speaking of his tenacity. He was able to turn Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was sort of a failed movie into a monster television hit. It's that feeling of, especially when you work in the industry for any length of time, it's easy to get disillusioned because it's such a bottom line kind of them. Nobody really cares about craft, nobody really cares about...they all want the money, they all want to get rich on some level and when you meet somebody who doesn't function with those terms in mind you wonder how, when is there luck going to run out. Is it going to run out on me? Is this the project that he can't make fly because he's made so many other miracles happen along the way and thankfully (knocks on wood) it wasn't us. He pulled through and he didn't let us give up. There was that call every two months or every three months with the update. This is what's going on and this is who's reading this and this is who's watching the DVDs and so he never let us die. IT was sort of this collective wish that he let us in on.

NF: And at the same time we weren't all just waiting around for Joss to save the series. Although he stopped being our boss he did continue to be our friend. If it went nowhere after that, and I believed it wouldn't go anywhere, it was over, but I believed I'd gained friends. I wasn't waiting like I was unsatisfied. I was certainly broken-hearted.


What did you do, the three of you in-between?

NF: I was sitting at home. (laughter).

GT: You know, work.

NF: I'm not completely agoraphobic, it's like a hobby.

MB: And his little furry friends.

GT: Gosh various film and television projects that pale in comparison.


This question is for Gina Torres‹Were you a Sci-Fi fan?

GT: No. (laughter). Isn't that odd? Not entirely. I was a Star Trek fan. I was a fantasy fan. I was a huge Wonder Woman fan. Sci-Fi came along later and it sort of grew and it all became the same thing for awhile. I had sort of done my parts in fantasy shows and sci-fi shows. By the time Firefly came to me I was done. I didn't want to get on another ship. I didn't want to get into tight leather, plether, any combination of the two and then I read his concept for this world and it had so little to do with science fiction and everything to do with human drama and that's what fascinated me about it. [Can't make out beginning] to play a woman that was so multi-faceted that had so much potential in terms of walking into doors in my head that I had yet to walk through as a woman in character in things that I had to sort of go, OK, there are no mutants there are no aliens it's just people on a ship and I had to go for it.


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