The Rookie: Nathan Fillion is LAPD's "oldest young" cop
BY Yako Molhov
After enjoying worldwide success with his starring role in Castle, Nathan Fillion is taking on a whole new challenge in ABC's The Rookie. This time he will play a 40-year old man who gives up his comfortable life to realize his dream to be a police officer. The fun procedural crime series promises a lot of action as the oldest rookie in the LAPD roster hits the streets with his young fellow officers and tries to prove he is not just a "wannabe" cop for all the wrong reasons.

Series creator Alexi Hawley is convinced that we haven't seen such a fun patrol show in a long time while Nathan tells Yako Molhov the best thing about his new project is working with a great team led by Hawley and Mark Gordon, and also switching from the dreamer Castle to John Nolan - a man with his feet firmly on the ground.
Nathan, you are the star of The Rookie which is debuting this month on ABC. You play John Nolan who is the oldest rookie in the LAPD. How does it feel to be the "oldest new cop"?
It's a natural progression to play different types of acting roles. In my earlier years of acting, I started as the young one, someone's son. Then an uncle, then a dad to a baby, then a 14-year old who grew to adulthood. Now I’m the oldest one. I qualify as grandfather age. Does it feel weird? Yes. But I’m still working!

The Rookie is based on a true story. Did you meet with the real cop your character is based upon?
While The Rookie is inspired by a true story, we really aren’t trying to mirror someone’s life with this show. We are simply running with something that has actually happened. However, we do have consultants on our show who help keep the police procedurals and content authentic.

Tell us a little bit more about the history behind The Rookie. How did the series come about and what attracted you the most to the project?
What’s important here is perspective. What attracts one to a show as entertainment isn’t the same as what attracts me as employment. It’s important to me that not only a show be good, but I’m going to be able to enjoy the intense schedule that’s required to make a television series. The prospect of working with Alexi Hawley was the first and most important thing that attracted me to the project. Being able to work for Mark Gordon is an incredible opportunity that any sane actor would jump at. After all that came the script, the cast, and the crew.

One of your most popular roles is that of crime-writer and crime-solver Rick Castle from the fan-favorite series of the same name which remains one of the most widely-aired series around the world. What are the main similarities and differences between the two characters?
John Nolan is reality-based. His feet are firmly on the ground, whereas Castle was always up in the clouds, his every day a fantasy. Both men do have extraordinary hair, though.

What is the role you would like to play or a series/film you would love to star in?
Anything in the Marvel and Star Wars Universes.

You are a definitely a man of changes. Have you thought of some alternative careers if you ever get fed up with acting? What would they be?
When acting dries up, I plan to buy a boat and take people on sunset cruises, scuba dives, and secret spots of rare beauty. That way, just like back on Firefly, everyone would still have to call me Captain.

You are actively involved in arts and culture campaigns. Could you tell us more about these initiatives?
I’m involved with a number of orphanages in developing countries including Sawla Children’s Home which provides the basic needs and a safe place for orphaned children in Ghana. I’m also very passionate about, which helps bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. It’s been extremely rewarding to raise awareness of these incredible causes and to be able to involve fans who have been very supportive in contributing to the efforts behind these campaigns. Both organizations make getting involved and doing good so easy.
Nathan Fillion starred as title character Richard Castle in ABC’s award-winning series, Castle, which saw 8 seasons, reached over 70 million U.S. viewers and remains one of the most widely aired TV shows in the world. He won seven People’s Choice Awards for the role. Fillion earned an Emmy nomination for his role in the daytime drama One Life to Live.

Fillion also starred in the cult TV series Firefly and had a recurring role as Caleb in the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was part of award-winning musical internet smash, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. His credits include also Modern Family, Santa Clarita Diet, The Big Bang Theory, etc. He’s had a recurring role on Community and Desperate Housewives among others. He is currently the star of ABC’s The Rookie.


Alexi, who are the other main characters in the series? Are they going to give The Rookie hard time or help him throughout his journey as a LAPD cop?
While our show centers around John Nolan, the oldest rookie in the LAPD, the series surrounds him with a diverse ensemble. Our main cast includes Nolan’s two fellow rookies Jackson West (Titus Makin) and Lucy Chen (Melissa O’Neil), their training officers Talia Bishop (Afton Williamson), Tim Bradford (Eric Winter), and Angela Lopez (Alyssa Diaz), as well as Watch Commander Wade Grey (Richard T. Jones), and Captain Zoe Andersen (Mercedes Mason).

The challenges Nolan faces on the job come in many forms, from the real-life dangers of police work, to the physical demands of becoming a cop in your forties, to a watch commander who believes that Nolan has become a cop for the wrong reasons. Every week, Nolan will face these challenges with determination and a strong sense of humor.

There are lots of cop shows on air. What are The Rookie's main elements that make it fresh and set it aside from similar shows on TV?
Network television is full of investigative shows, but there hasn’t been a big, fun patrol show in a long time. The Rookie stands out because it tells diverse stories about our uniformed cops as they patrol the streets of Los Angeles — going from intense situations to comedic or emotional ones.

What are the cases investigated by the rookies in the series? Will you have separate stories in each episode or is there one main theme throughout the season?
Whereas most investigative shows follow one case, The Rookie tells multiple stories that vary in size, tone and intensity. Every week Nolan and his fellow officers will tackle everything from a routine traffic stop, to a major drug bust. But no matter the story, the heart of the show lives in the impact these cases have on our characters.
Alexi Hawley is the Creator and Executive Producer for the ABC series, The Rookie. He previously created the drama State of Affairs for NBC. Originally focused on music, Hawley began writing as a creative outlet that didn’t involve carrying drums up and down the stairs at four in the morning. Hawley was the last writer standing on the infamous Exorcist prequel (Exorcist: The Beginning). From there, he segued into television, working on a number of shows, including The Unusuals, The Following, and Castle — the latter two where he served as Executive Producer and co-showrunner. Hawley was born and raised in New York City, and now resides in Los Angeles, California.
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