“Castle” star Nathan Fillion can’t exactly relate to his “Monsters University” character, frat leader Johnny Worthington. “I wasn’t really a ‘winner’ growing up,” Fillion says. “More of a ‘weiner.'”
In Disney-Pixar’s prequel to “Monsters Inc.,” Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) meet for the first time their freshman year at Monsters University, and we get to see how their comraderie was born. One of the charmingly cliche college characters who gets in the way is Fillion’s.
“Johnny Worthington is the socially dangerous guy,” Fillion says. “Because he is good looking, super popular, and he’s a jerk. He’s a bully; he’s like the guy you don’t want to be around.” Zap2it sat down with Fillion at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. to discuss the role. We wanted to know if he embraced the chance to play such a creep. “I love it,” says Fillion. “I love playing flawed characters. … We can relate to having flaws, and we can relate to — there are people around us that have these flaws. I just think it’s important to be ‘flawed’ without being a stereotype.”
Fillion pulls the balance off masterfully in the animated flick, despite not having had a similar experience to how he imagines Johnny grew up. “He’s probably the guy who had the dad who was like, ‘I didn’t raise a loser; I raise winners,'” Fillion proffers. “Because winning is everything to Johnny.” Despite being such a “weiner” as a kid, Fillion says his parents offered plenty of support. “They go like, ‘Yeah, yeah, you’re not the best at soccer, but you’re great, man; you’re special,'” Fillion recalls.
As for his own college career, Fillion thinks he probably fit in more closely with the stereotypically kooky Art, a new age philosophy major at Monsters U. played by Charlie Day (“Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). “I was a bit lackadaisical,” Fillion admits. “I really enjoyed the social aspect of university. I wasn’t a strong student.”
“Monsters University” is in theaters now in Disney 3-D.