Nathan Fillion on Playing Green Lantern
As promotion for last week’s release of Justice League: Doom, which had a number of fun bits, many of which involved Nathan Fillion voicing Green Lantern, Warner Home Video has provided this interview with Fillion.
Fillion previously was the voice of Green Lantern in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, which also resulted in some promotional interviews. He has also been the voice of Steve Trevor for the Wonder Woman DVD movie, and that meant an interview available then as well. So the reason I’m running this isn’t because it’s new, it’s because Fillion seems like a nice guy — and at the bottom, there’s a funny video (not from Warner) that shows just how much of a sense of humor he has about these roles. Before then, though, he discusses comics, voice recording, and heroism.
Q: This is your second run with Green Lantern. Do you now take full equity in the character?
Nathan Fillion: I don’t think I can take full equity in this character — too many people have a chunk. Ryan Reynolds gets the right-of-way on this one. Right now, I feel pretty Green Lantern-ish. But sooner or later, I think I’ll be a poor man’s Green Lantern.
Q: How did the role in Justice League: Doom compare with the voicing of Green Lantern: Emerald Knights?
Nathan Fillion: It was definitely different this time. A little more action, and more conversational. Last time, it was like reading prose. We referred to last time as biblical, as though we were reading bible passages. Far more narrative, because Hal Jordan was really just relating stories of the Green Lantern Corps, and then being one of many contributing to the main story that weaves its way through the short stories. This time, it’s all action.
Q: During your recording today, there were times when we could see a sly smile come across your face. What were you thinking?
Nathan Fillion: This kind of work, it makes me happy. Makes me smile. When I’m doing these voiceovers, I kind of like to live in the moment. You suspend reality for just a second. You know what Green Lantern looks like, you know the situations, you know the characters that surround him. So I kind of just like to live in that moment for half-a-second like I’m there… and it makes me (smile).
Q: Super heroes inspire so many folks these days. Who inspired you as a kid?
Nathan Fillion: It’s always kind of in retrospect that you look back and think, “That was a really big deal.” But looking back, it was my dad and my brother who inspired me. My father has no fear. We don’t have to worry about things like stopping meteors from hitting the Earth. We’re not super. The things we worry about are every day social situations where something might be awkward or out of our control. My dad has never wanted to feel uncomfortable or awkward. He kind of says it like it is. If you’re comfortable enough to do that thing, he’s going to be comfortable enough to comment on it quite honestly. He always sort of controls every situation like that. He’ll just say. “You’re kind of a jerk, aren’t you?” He’s that kind of heroic guy.
My brother has those same qualities, but he’s more diplomatic about it. He’s more of a gentle giant. His leadership style, he says, is the velvet glove over the top of an iron fist. You get the soft velvet, but if you push against the glove, you get the iron fist.
Q: What are your first memories of comics?
Nathan Fillion: We had the Wee Book Inn, a second-hand bookstore (in Edmonton). You came in with a stack of comic books, and they’d kind of leaf through them for their value, and then say, “Alright, from these 60 comics, you can have 35 from our used copies,” and then my dad would fork over another 10 bucks or so we could have our full stack of 60 comics. Every few months, we’d go back to the store and get a fresh influx of comics. We’d only keep the ones we really, really liked. And my dad knew somebody who owned a proper comic book shop — which kind of went the way of Dungeons and Dragons and eventually closed. I think if they’d stuck with comics, they’d have still been around. So I was really into comics. My brother and I would take turns with who got to have that comic book rack in their room. We’d go back and forth. Then eventually my brother got a little older, and then I started collecting and getting cardboard backs and plastic covers. Proper collecting. And then you’ve got to say, “Okay, what am I going to do, spend all my money on comics?” Because it got a little expensive. So… comics or girls? Comics or girls? Hmmm…
Q: And now rather than just collecting comics, you’re in them. How does that strike you?
Nathan Fillion: I’m a fan. I am very fortunate in that now I have a piece. Forever I will have this piece of Green Lantern. “Ah yes, he voiced Green Lantern back in the day… when they were still doing it on TVs and not holograms.” I’ll always have a chunk. It’s nice to be a fan and own a piece.
Now, here’s the video, featuring Tim Daly (the voice of Superman), Fillion, and special cameo by Michael Rosenbaum (the voice of Flash), showing the kind of play many comic fans dream of.