×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Listen: Nathan Fillion on His New Show ‘The Rookie,’ Plus Taye Diggs Talks ‘All American’

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks with Nathan Fillion, star of the new ABC drama “The Rookie.”

Listen to this week’s podcast for free below and at Apple Podcasts:

The project marked the first time Fillion ever pitched and sold a show to a network without having a pilot written. He jokingly likens the experience to selling a sandwich.

“If I told you I was gonna make you an amazing sandwich the bread’s gonna be fresh, it’s all your favorites, the tomato’s perfect, the shredded lettuce  you haven’t tasted it yet, but you know it’s gonna be a great sandwich,” he says of his blind confidence that the show would work.

Fillion’s character, John Nolan, is based on a “kernel of truth” — the true story of a cop who changed career paths in the middle of his life, leaving his construction job to become the oldest rookie on the LAPD. And it’s not easy playing a cop.

“Here’s what they don’t tell you,” he says, launching into a description of the police “costume” he wore to play a rookie officer. First of all, the garments are made of wool — not ideal for shooting in the L.A. heat. Plus, he had to wear a belt clipped with “heavy equipment that they’re wearing around their waist,” like a gun and a four-pound walkie talkie. The belt alone gave Fillion “a big purple bruise.”

But the biggest challenge, he says, was playing a police officer in a respectful and accurate way in a time when police face so much criticism in the media.

“Unfortunately, police doing their jobs and doing a good job…it doesn’t make for good news stories,” Fillion says. “When everything goes wrong for us, that’s when we call the police. That’s a heavy burden. You have to want to help.”

In the second half of the podcast, Variety‘s features editor of TV, Danielle Turchiano, talks with Taye Diggs of the CW’s “All American.”

The show is inspired by the real-life story of ex-NFL player Spencer Paysinger. Diggs plays Billy Baker, an ex-football player-turned-coach, who becomes a father figure to a high school football player (based on Paysinger) from South Central, who grapples with his conflicting roots when he is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High School.

Diggs says he is grateful to be able to relate on a personal level to so many elements of the story. Whatever personal experience evades him like having played football, which he never did he’s able to draw from speaking to Paysinger himself.

Diggs also spoke fondly of having the unique privilege of bringing his own personal experiences to the writers’ room.

“A lot of the shows don’t want the actors in the writing room,” he says, expressing how grateful he felt to have his input valued. “We sat for an hour just talking about our own personal situations and similarities to the stories of the characters.”

For Diggs, those similarities come because he is a father in real life as well as on the show.

And he has seen several hot button issues already brought up in the script for future episodes, including class, race, sexuality, identity, police brutality, and locker room culture. “I’m continuing to be impressed and amazed and proud that CW, the writers, the actors, producers, are all leaning into it because I think we need all of this now more than ever,” Diggs says.

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or anywhere you download podcasts. You can find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

More TV

  • GoliathSeason 3CR: Greg Lewis/Amazon Studios

    'Goliath’ Renewed for Fourth and Final Season at Amazon

    Amazon has renewed gritty legal drama “Goliath” for a fourth and final season. The series centers on washed-up lawyer Billy McBride, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who seeks redemption after a client he successfully defended from a murder charge went on to slaughter a family. Thornton won a Golden Globe for his performance in 2017. [...]

  • Jon Favreau'The Mandalorian' TV show premiere,

    Jon Favreau Already Has a Star Picked for His 'Star Wars' Holiday Special

    The “Star Wars” franchise is no stranger to the strange and odd. But the wildest of all the offerings from the galaxy far, far away is the bizarre (but beautiful) “Star Wars Holiday Special.” And Jon Favreau is ready to resurrect it. The TV special celebrating the Wookiee holiday “Light Day” aired on CBS in [...]

  • Justin Marks FX

    'The Jungle Book' Writer Justin Marks Inks Overall Deal With FX Productions

    “Counterpart” creator and showrunner and “The Jungle Book” scribe Justin Marks has signed an overall deal to create new content for FX Productions. “Justin is a true creative talent and we feel fortunate to be his partners in supporting his vision of bold and ambitious storytelling,” said FX Entertainment original programming president Gina Balian. Marks, [...]

  • Tye Sheridan

    Tye Sheridan Starring in Survival Thriller 'Wireless' From Steven Soderbergh for Quibi

    Quibi has ordered another show with notable Hollywood talent attached: scripted series “Wireless” starring Tye Sheridan with Steven Soderbergh on board as executive producer. In the made-for-mobile-screens thriller, a smartphone has a central role. Sheridan (“Ready Player One,” “X-Men: Apocalypse”) plays a self-obsessed college student who is stranded in the Colorado mountains after he crashes [...]

  • Ciara arrives at the red carpet

    Ciara to Host 2019 American Music Awards; Kesha Joins as Performer

    Ciara has been named as host of the 2019 American Music Awards, returning to the show after appearing as a performer alongside Missy Elliott on last year’s telecast. The singer is not a newcomer to hosting duties, having previously presided over the Billboard Music Awards three years ago. Prior to performing her single “Level Up” [...]

  • Career Foreign Service officer George Kent,

    TV Ratings: Fox News, ABC Draw Big Impeachment Numbers

    The first day of the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump drew over 13 million total viewers across the broadcast and news networks combined. Fox News’s coverage from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. drew the highest total viewership of any network, averaging around 2.9 million sets of eyeballs. MSNBC followed in second with 2.7 million [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content