Today I am continuing my interview with Danny Nero, who has worked on Firefly as well as any number of other cool TV and film projects. The photo on the left is Danny’s face coming through the wall in the Angel Episode “Rm w/A Vu”. Very cool.
D: Joss has a huge nerd following. I count myself as one of those. What is it about his style that so accurately taps into the nerd psyche? Is he a nerd himself, or does he just have an incredible insight into the sub-culture? I know he is active on a lot of the forums. Does he follow the trends and have an idea what is hot, or does his understanding of the group allow him to force the next hot thing to happen?
Danny: I don’t think I ever heard Joss refer to himself as a nerd but can’t imagine that he wouldn’t! He is so in tune with popular culture and what stories people like to see.
D: Do you find him approachable at work? For example, if you had an idea for the show you thought worthwhile would you be able to suggest it to him or one of the actors, or is that not really an option?
Danny: He’s always been very approachable but you really have to find a moment when he’s not conferring with writers, producers, and actors! I don’t remember ever making a suggestion to Joss but I know he’s consider it if it was valid. There was an episode of “Angel” that was a flashback to the early fifties where I did make a suggestion about the authenticity of something (a prop telephone) and director Tim Minear overheard me. I was immediately sorry because he made the prop people find another phone and that made their job more difficult and there are only a few phone freaks like me out there that would know the difference!
D: You worked on Firefly and also on the movie Serenity. Did you see a difference in production values between the TV show and the movie? Was the movie better funded and therefore had bells and whistles the TV show never had?
Danny: Yes there was a big difference between working on Firefly and Serenity! You’d think the feature budget would make the TV one look puny but not so much! The Serenity cargo bay was actually bigger on Firefly on the Fox lot. It was pretty close to the same size for the floor area but not as many levels high. The exterior of Serenity was also larger on the Fox lot than the one built at Universal for the feature but I doubt anyone would notice that on film. There was the luxury of time to spend on great lighting setups and camera movement that was frequently a compromise on Firefly. I wonder what your readers have to say about the “look” of the 2 shows. They were shot by two different DP’s or Directors of Photography and each guy has a different way of lighting and use of lenses and even film stock. I haven’t compared them but I imagine others have.
D: On the set did you interact with the actors much?
Danny: As for the actors on Firefly, you really couldn’t ask for a nicer bunch! The work days can be very long and it’s no fun being trapped with a bad group from any department! I have been so fortunate to have worked with such great people over the years! I think Joss does a great job choosing actors that are so talented and fun to be around!
Nathan is just a born comic and supplied countless laughs. Alan is very funny as well and if you’ve seen outtakes (and who hasn’t!) you get a sense that there was plenty of laughter to go around! Jewel has the brightest smile, she does light up most of a soundstage! Gina is the best hugger! Her husband Lawrence Fishbourne visited the set once in awhile and I remember watching Gina perform on a monitor next to him and when they cut, I had to tell him what a lucky man he is. He agreed! It was great to be reunited with Summer from our experience on Angel together.
(Angel Investigations image courtesy of the TV t-shirts category)
They are a wonderful bunch alright and I was lucky enough to stand-in for Nathan later on the Fox series “Drive” that sadly lasted only 6 episodes. I am so glad for his success on “Castle” even if I was already committed to doing another show.
Adam I’ve run into on “Chuck” a couple of times and he’s been very supportive. He took me into his dressing room several months ago and showed me the finer points of Twitter!
I last saw Morena at a mutual friends Christmas Eve party with her short hair for “V”. We had a good time comparing career choices.
The rest of the cast has been elusive but there is always a chance I’ll run into them on Grey’s! My next series after Firefly was “Alias” and I stood-in for Victor Garber and Greg Grunberg, both great guys that had me working for them on many other shows and pilots.