‘Cas­tle’s’ Nathan Fil­lion be­comes ‘The Rookie’ in new ABC po­lice drama

Santa Fe New Mexican - - COVER STORY - BY JAY BOBBIN

ABC clearly wanted to stay in busi­ness with Nathan Fil­lion.

The net­work can­celed “Cas­tle” in 2016 af­ter eight sea­sons, but con­tin­ued to em­ploy the ac­tor in such se­ries as “Mod­ern Fam­ily” and “Amer­i­can House­wife,” paving a path to an­other show of his own: “The Rookie,” which pre­mieres Tues­day, Oct. 16. Fil­lion stars as John Nolan, whose brush with mor­tal­ity prompts him to be­come a po­lice of­fi­cer, though he’s well past the age when such a ca­reer typ­i­cally be­gins. Viewed skep­ti­cally by his peers, he’s de­ter­mined to prove him­self ... a con­stant chal­lenge.

Fil­lion re­flects that he likens “The Rookie” to “a new norm that we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing cul­tur­ally. I re­mem­ber when mar­riage was the norm, and then di­vorce be­came the norm, and now it’s the do-over ... the re­boot. Now it’s, ‘I got fired. What’s my next job go­ing to be? I’m no longer a dad. I’m no longer a hus­band. Now what am I?’ And I think this is re­lat­able in that sense. I don’t think ev­ery­body is go­ing to be­come a rookie cop, but I think there are a lot of peo­ple who are ei­ther hav­ing this rein­ven­tion ex­pe­ri­ence or at least know some­one who has.”

With Richard T. Jones (“Judg­ing Amy”) and Mercedes Ma­son (“Fear the Walk­ing Dead”) among the sup­port­ing play­ers, “The Rookie” re­unites Fil­lion with se­ries cre­ator Alexi Haw­ley, who started on “Cas­tle” as a writer and even­tu­ally be­came one of its ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers.

Fil­lion says that af­ter Haw­ley pitched “The Rookie” to him, he thought, “If you know who you are go­ing to be work­ing for, who you are go­ing to be work­ing with, and you know that you can rely on their tal­ent, and you know you can re­spect the way they work, it takes a lot of the guess­work and a lot of the ten­sion out of a de­ci­sion. I know I can bank on Alexi.

“I ac­cepted this job be­fore the script was even writ­ten,” adds Fil­lion. “That was new for me, a first. Here I am, at 47 years old, still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing firsts. I love it.”

Fil­lion knows the gen­eral feel­ing of be­ing a rookie. He notes, “I was on a soap opera (‘One Life to Live’). I think if there is any kind of like in­tense train­ing for act­ing, day­time drama is what that is. You make a 44-minute pro­gram ev­ery day of the week; some­times more than that.

“It’s a lot to do, and it’s hard work ... but by the end of it, you are ready to at­tack any­thing. Not a day goes by in this ca­reer of mine where I don’t use some­thing I learned on the soap in front of or be­hind the cam­era.”

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