Australian actor Ben Lawson, may be making a name for himself in Hollywood, however, the Queenslander will forever be an Aussie at heart.
In a scene of his new Netflix series, Firefly Lane, Lawson’s character, Johnny, wears the maroon State of Origin Jersey.
“There was an easter egg for the Aussie’s onset, and they [cast and crew] were like, ‘Why is it important to you that you wear this?’” he said in an interview with The Latch. “And I’m like, ‘Just go with it. A whole bunch of people on the other side of the world will get it.”
FireFly Lane follows the story of an unlikely duo, Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke), who meet at age 14. Tully is the brash and bold girl you can’t ignore, while Kate is the mousy shy girl you never notice.
When a tragedy brings them together, they are bonded for life — forever inseparable best friends. Together they experience thirty years of ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments, heartbreak and joy, and a love triangle (which includes Lawson’s Johnny) that strains their friendship.
The series is based on the novel of the same name by New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah and in it, Johnny is American, however, Lawson chose to portray him as an Australian.
“When I went in to read for that role, they gave me the option,” the 41-year-old said. “They said, you can use your own natural accent if you want or you can do it in American. Typically, I would do it in American because sometimes they say that thinking it will add something extra to the character and quite often it doesn’t.
“I read the script, and I read the signs and I thought, ‘Ah, this guy could totally be Australian’. I played around with it for a few days until I felt comfortable and it worked out.”
For Lawson, Firefly Lane was a “dream job” and he feels very lucky to have played such a
“I’m proud of the whole thing,” Lawson said. “The show is so great. The cast is amazing and my character is complex. It’s funny, it’s dramatic. It’s kind of everything you want as an actor. I’m proud of everyone’s work in it. It has really come together.”
Being a series, there’s every possibility that there will be a second season, however, Lawson is not getting ahead of himself.
“I’ve been around too long to think of things before they happen,” he said. “But I would love to do a second season, maybe even a third series,” he added, before saying that he just wants “people to watch it”.
“I want to see Tully, Kate and Johnny continue to grow together and go through all of these ups and downs, But it goes without saying that I would also like for Johnny to appear not just in flashbacks but in current living form as well.”
Due to the global pandemic, Lawson has relocated back to Australia for the time being and has seen huge success with his bushfire poem “To My Country From an Expat” and “The 26th of January”, but he also feels extremely lucky to be able to be with his friends and family.
“I think the last year has made us all aware of purpose,” he said. “Having been stuck in my house not being able to act and be around people, you lack a sense of purpose and that’s quite difficult to deal with. We just need those things as humans to drive us forward and keep us healthy so it put a lot of things in perspective.”
As for what he learned about himself playing Johnny: “Probably just how similar I am to some grumpy TV producer who is a bit jaded by life,” he joked. “‘Oh, yeah, I know exactly who that person is. Yeah, I can play that.’”
Firefly Lane comes to streams globally on Netflix from February 3.