The 42-year-old actor has starred in landmark projects such as “13 Reasons Why”, “The Good Place”, “Modern Family”, “No Strings Attached“ and the award-winning film “Bombshell”, winner of 25 awards
*With Regina Soares
Born in the city of Brisbane, Australia, actor Ben Lawson is what we can call a reference when it comes to comedy and current classics of television and film entertainment. Living in the coveted Los Angeles for approximately fifteen years, the artist reveals that he still feels nervous when entering some film sets – and if he still feels nervous, he can imagines how we would be.
In his extensive curriculum, his best known productions are “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings” (Netflix), “Dollface” (ABC), “The Good Place” (NBC), “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix), “Designated Survivor” (Netflix), “Modern Family” (FOX ) and “Bones” (FOX).
However, currently, his most recent success is in the series “Firefly Lane”, which since its first season, has been debuting globally on Netflix’s main channels, it’s part 2 of season 2! There won’t be a 3rd season. Check out the interview!
Around the world, American cinema is always seen as an astronomical potential, I would like to start by asking about your perceptions in this regard. Is the backstage as fascinating as audiences imagine?
I grew up obsessed with American movies and TV. It seemed like such a magical place to me and the movie stars were like gods. Moving to Hollywood was incredibly intimidating – you’re putting yourself in the most competitive city in the world, perhaps the most competitive industry in the world. I’ve been in Los Angeles for fifteen years and I still pinch myself every time I’m on set doing what I’ve always dreamed of, often alongside people I’ve been a fan of for years. It can be glamorous, but most of the time it’s routine. Despite everything I just said, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It’s hard and you have to really love it.
Already with the confirmation of the 3rd season, you are making success in the Netflix series “Firefly Lane,” but season 2’s part 2 is still set to premiere in 2023. How are your expectations for these two new steps?
Yes, they split season 2 into 2 parts; part 1 has already aired and the final episodes will come out next year. I think the show goes even deeper into relationships in the new episodes, while still maintaining what resonated with people in the first season. It’s more fun I think, there are more laughs. But because it’s Firefly Lane there are also more tears!
The plot of this series is very similar to the reality of many young people, as it shows our evolution as human beings in life, especially with social maturity. Did you see a lot of yourself your character? What lesson do you think this series conveys to viewers?
Yes, I can relate to many aspects of Johnny. I think bringing a little bit of yourself into the role grounds the truth of the character. That doesn’t mean there aren’t moments where you say “I wouldn’t do that, so I need to find a way to understand why the character makes that choice”. I think the show’s lessons revolve around forgiveness, loyalty, persistence, growth, and understanding.
The first season of “Firefly Lane” debuted at #1 globally on Netflix. How has it been to be part of such a huge project?
It was a big thrill for me. I’ve done countless failed pilots and many shows that got canceled after one season, so finally being a part of something that hit it big felt like what I’ve been waiting for my entire career!
What’s not missing from his resume are great series, and some of them are “Modern Family” and “The Good Place”, both comedies. Humor is seen as a challenge for some artists, do you manage to deal with it on stage? Are there specifics in this genre?
I love doing comedy. You can’t fake it, you’re either funny or not, so a lot of actors are afraid of that I think. For me, it will always be my first love. I’ve been in the drama world for the last few years and I’m really looking forward to doing comedy again soon. Generally, the hours are better and you don’t have to cry as much.
A series that unfortunately lasted only one season was “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings.” Which, besides you, had cast names like Ginnifer Goodwin, from “Once Upon a Time.” Can you talk a little bit more about your time on this show?
I really loved doing Heartstrings. I was so scared to meet Dolly Parton but she is even more amazing than you think she will be. A real angel. The process itself was like doing theater; we had two days of rehearsal (completely unheard of), and our amazing director, Tim Busfield, really worked on the presentations. As an actor, I found it very satisfying. For the most part, on TV, it’s run and gun, so when you take the time to do something nuanced and layered, you remind yourself that you’re really trying to create art.
In cinema, you also have a very good highlight in the award-winning film “Bombshell,” where you played Lachlan Murdoch, and in “No Strings Attached,” both very prestigious and with great casts. How was the coexistence between the cast backstage, and what was the meaning of these projects in your career?
I’ve been very lucky to be part of some amazing casts. Truth be told, I get really nervous around very famous people; so off set that I tend to sit alone instead of next to a movie star. No Strings Attached was actually the first movie I ever made. I had only been in LA for a few years and I still didn’t feel like I belonged there, so being on set with these big stars was genuinely like being in a dream state. I was so nervous it’s a wonder they didn’t fire me on the first day.
In addition to dramaturgy, you recently invested in a literary project about the devastating forest fires in Australia in 2020. This problem has been repeating itself in several places in the world, such as in the Amazon Rainforest. What do you believe to be the main solution for these cases and what message did you want to convey with “To My Country”?
I think as a global population we absolutely MUST vote for politicians with a climate plan. The planet should be the most important thing to us; if we all decide it’s crucial to save the planet, then ALL candidates will make it important to them too, because candidates only run on issues that will get them elected.
As in many countries, both series “Firefly Lane”, “The Good Place” and “13 Reasons Why” were a great success here in Brazil, where our newsroom is located. How much do you already know about our country and would you like to visit us one day?
I’ve never been to Brazil, but I will definitely go to Carnival one day… if you accept me! Brazilians love Australia, so I got to know many of their compatriots in my years in Sydney. And let’s face it, you’re very handsome too… time to start improving my Portuguese, I think!