Nathan Fillion was born in Edmonton, Alberta, the son of Cookie and Bob Fillion, both of whom are retired English teachers. He has an older brother, Jeff, and attended Holy Trinity Catholic High School, Concordia University College of Alberta and the University of Alberta, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Society. He began his acting career by taking a number of small roles in television, film, and theater, but larger roles were hard to find in his birthplace of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. In 1994, he moved to New York City and landed the role of Joey Buchanan
on the soap opera One Life to Live
for which he received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Younger Actor in 1996.
In 1997, Nathan left the series and the city to seek out other opportunities in Los Angeles. He got a small but memorable part in Steven Speilberg's Saving Private Ryan
, and a recurring role in the sitcom Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place
. When his series went off the air in 2001, Nathan moved up to a lead part when he was cast as Captain Malcolm Reynolds
on the short-lived but critically acclaimed series Firefly
was canceled after only eleven episodes had aired, but creator Joss Whedon
vowed to find a new home for the series and immediately began courting television networks and movie studios. Meanwhile, Nathan was given a chance to display his range as an actor when he was cast as the murderous preacher Caleb
on the final season of Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Thanks to enthusiastic support of the Firefly
concept by executives at Universal Pictures (and bolstered by amazing sales of the DVD set) Nathan was cast to play Malcolm ('Mal') Reynolds
a second time in a big-screen adaptation entitled Serenity
, which was released in 2005.
Since then, Nathan has continued to earn strong and interesting roles in television and film, and also in more experimental media such as the online hit Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
He can currently be seen as the egotistical but charming mystery-solving mystery writer Richard Castle
on ABC's Castle
He co-founded the non-profit organization Kids Need to Read with author PJ Haarsma in 2007.