Sit next to Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion for more than a few seconds and you’ll start to feel jealous: not just of their chiseled jawlines, but of their heartwarming bro-ship. The two actors became geek icons when they acted alongside one another in Joss Whedon’s canceled-too-soon sci-fi TV series Firefly and have been close ever since. This year, they’re deepening their partnership with a new crowd-funded web series, Con Man, in which Tudyk and Fillion play Wray and Jack, actors who once worked on a thinly veiled Firefly analogue. Jack (Fillion) has gone on to fame and comfort; Wray is stuck on the D-list, hustling for autographs at conventions and suffering through awful voice-over gigs.
Con Man has raised a whopping $3,156,179 to date and is set to debut in September. Fillion and Tudyk were on hand at last weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con, where we talked with them about doing each other’s chores, making friend-dates on FaceTime, and which one of them has a better pool.
How’d you decide who was gonna be the pathetic one in the series?
Nathan Fillion: Well, that was easy. I mean, typecasting.
Alan Tudyk: There’s a nugget of truth to a lot of the stories that go on here. One of the truths is that Nathan Fillion is — he’s tough to get ahold of. And only because you work —
NF: Every day.
AT: Every day. Nine months of the year —
AT: Ten months out of the year. And it’s 12, 14 hours of the day, so that means by Saturday, you’re getting out of work at, what? One in the morning?
NF: 6 a.m.
AT: Yes. So that’s Saturday night, go to sleep, wake up groggy on Sunday, and you have to go to bed early again because it starts at five o’clock in the morning. That’s Wray’s relationship with Jack: He’s always trying to catch up with his friend, Wray, who’s stuck in his career. I don’t feel stuck in my career, personally, but one of the aspects of the relationship is [Jack]’s gone on to do all the things he wants to do in his career, so [Wray] looks up to him and simultaneously envies his life. It becomes something he measures his life by, and he shouldn’t.
In real life, when you guys stay in touch, is it more of an email or a texting relationship?
NF: Text. The occasional FaceTime.
AT: Oh sure, sure.
NF: He’s done a lot of stuff where he’s had to be out of town. It’s okay if he’s in town and I don’t see him, but if he’s out of town? If I don’t have access and I can’t see him at all? We make a little more effort.
That’s very sweet.
NF: We’ve been friends a long time. There’s a lot of sweetness.
AT: Do you remember the time — I think it was when I was in Spamalot, I went away for about six months to do that — I came home, and he had my house cleaned, washed my car, and put a cover on it!
NF: That’s right.
AT: No bullshit.
NF: Myself, another friend of mine, and my housekeeper. His house was a beach house, so there was sand in it! You can’t stop it! You can’t even open a window, or it’s done, it’s over. So we had to get in there. We cleaned a lot.
You were raised right.
NF: Well, he’s a good and valued friend. You want people around you to know they’re valuable.
AT: The severed horse head in my bed was the one thing that I didn’t understand.
NF: Great horse. I miss that horse.
I’m gonna ask a question, and you guys can interpret it however you want: Which one of you is better?
NF: Hmmm. You play a musical instrument.
AT: Barely. You play, too! You play the same musical instrument better!
NF: I can make you think I play it. But I can’t actually play it.
AT: I write songs.
NF: You do. You do.
AT: I write ditties.
NF: You murder ‘em.
AT: I’m better at that.
NF: I’ve got great hair.
AT: Yeah, you’ve got better hair.
AT: You’ve got a better — ahhh, you have a different house. Bigger. Better?
NF: You like my house.
AT: I do. You’ve got a better pool than me.
NF: I do.
AT: You’ve got a better car. I like your car. I like that BMW electric thing. Mine’s a Volt, and it’s okay, but it’s got some issues.
NF: You have a faster motorcycle than me.
AT: [Grins.] Yes, I do. I’ve got a Ducati Sport. It’s nuts. I gotta get rid of the thing; it’s too fast. So, yeah, it’s a crapshoot who’s better. We pick up where the other one leaves off.