By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders.
White Noise was a surprise success with Michael Keaton searching for his dead wife in the static of electronic fuzz. White Noise 2 takes a slightly different approach with Nathan Fillion as a vessel for the afterlife.
Fillion's Near Death Experience
"The deal is he witnesses the murder of his wife and son and then the murder turns the gun on himself and kills himself," said Fillion. "He’s left with nothing. He’s extremely sad to such an extent that he actually commits suicide and is brought back. So he has this near death experience after which he has the ability to tell in a crowd of people who is going to die. And then the movie kind of becomes what would you do with that kind of power and that kind of responsibility."
After all the action heroes Fillion has played, White Noise 2 gave him a chance to be more vulnerable. "He’s not a strong strong guy. He’s not a prepared man. Malcolm Reynolds experienced lost and it hardened him and he became a rock. Bill Pardy was unprepared but he did the best to take care of business. Abraham Dale, his first option was to opt out and clock out. He’s a different kind of guy. His dealing with loss is a little different."
Despite that, the acting demands balanced out for Fillion. "I say it everyday. All of the jobs I’ve had, this is the least demanding. I have next to no dialogue. There’s a lot of brooding, a lot of moping. There’s a lot of confusion, frustration, dawning. Lots of dawning. This is something I learned in the soap opera. We use to do this all the time. In a soap opera you’ll have a scene going on between two characters and at the end of the scene is a slow close-up on one of the characters, right? What are they going to say next? It’s almost like a long drawn out close and the scene never seems to end and you’re left there kind of acting. So what we use to do was we called it three phases of a soap take and it works in any scene, any show, whatever you’re doing. And these are the three phases. The first phase is: did I leave the stove on? Next phase: I did leave the stove on. Third phase: no, I turned the stove off."
Fillion experienced a near death experience in real life, nearly drowning. However, he does not call upon his experience for method preparation. "I try to leave that in my past. If I try to take anything from that experience, it’s a desire to extract revenge on all of my friends who were watching me die. I’m waving to them with both hands in the air like this. I’m being pulled into the undertow in Costa Rica and they’re on the beach and they look back at me and go a goodbye wave and turn their back on me. Since when is this a goodbye? From the water, churning water."