Born in Alberta, Canada, in 1971, Nathan Fillion took his acting ambitions to the United States when he moved to New York in 1994 to portray Joey Buchanan on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live. Having previously appeared in a single TV movie, Ordeal in the Arctic, Fillion's acting career had taken a backseat to his plans to be an English teacher. His three-year stint on the long-standing daytime TV staple, however, changed his focus in a big way. When his time on One Life to Live was up, the 27-year-old actor relocated to Los Angeles to assume a regular role on the sitcom Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. Shortly afterward, he made a memorable appearance as the "wrong Ryan" in Steven Spielberg's WWII epic Saving Private Ryan. He also made appearances on The Outer Limits, King of the Hill, Pasadena, and other projects. It was in 2002, however, that he assumed the role that would make his career. Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon selected Fillion to portray rugged captain Mal Reynolds for his new sci-fi/Western series Firefly. The show found a rabidly loyal cult fan base, as well as incomparable critical praise, but tragically, failed to find the wide audience that Fox had been hoping for. The show was canceled after only 11 episodes, but Fillion had reached a level of familiarity with the public that most actors never hope to achieve. He reprised the role of Mal in 2005 for the feature-film adaptation of Firefly, Serenity, to the delight of fans. In 2006, Fillion stayed on the cream of the fringe with the much anticipated horror film Slither. Starring alongside Elizabeth Banks, the actor stole the show with his humorous, low-key performance. For his next project, he signed on to act alongside Keri Russell in the romantic comedy Waitress. When the writer's strike hit, Fillion teamed with his old collaborator Joss Whedon to star in the direct-to-the-web musical miniseries Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. In 2009 he landed the title role on the ABC series Castle, and took a small role in the dark superhero comedy Super in 2010.
Biography by Cammila Collar
- Performed improv with Theatresports at Edmonton's Rapid Fire Theatre.
- Briefly worked as a singing-telegram deliveryman.
- Initially planned to follow in his parents' footsteps and become a high school English teacher, but dropped out of college after landing a role on One Life to Live.
- Received a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1996 for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series for his work on One Life to Live.
- Co-founder of the non-profit organization Kids Need to Read, which promotes childhood literacy.