Rob Lowe on his 'sexually charged' West Wing reunion with Lisa Edelstein on 9-1-1: Lone Star
Plus, watch an exclusive clip of Lowe and Edelstein in action.
Is there anything worse than being stuck in quarantine with an ex?
Rob Lowe's Owen Strand is about to find out when Fox's 9-1-1: Lone Star returns for its second season on Monday, January 18 and we meet his ex-wife and T.K.'s (Ronen Rubinstein) mom, Gwyneth (played by Lisa Edelstein). Not only is she Owen's ex. but she's also a former fictional flame of Lowe's too, having played Laurie, Sam Seaborne's love interest on the first season of The West Wing.
"We picked back up where we left off," Lowe tells EW of the reunion. "We love working together, we have a good rhythm, a good rapport and it shows on screen. I knew that West Wing aficionados would get a kick out of it and it's added an element of romantic comedy to a show that was never there before which is a really cool addition to the Lone Star tone."
Casting Edelstein in the part was actually an idea showrunner Tim Minear had in mind for the end of the show's first season, but one that didn't come together in time. "We put that idea on ice and saved it for this year," Minear tells EW. "I'm so glad we could because the pandemic has helped in some ways. I think it really allowed us to come in and meet Gwyn after she had been there for a couple of months so it wasn't like that tired TV thing of 'ding dong' you're ex-wife is here! It's fun to come in and discover that things have changed over the last couple of months. She and Rob are so great together. The chemistry is there."
Owen and Gwyneth might have great chemistry but from the looks of the exclusive clip, they also know how to get on one another's nerves. (Never disrupt Owen's skincare regime!) "The thing he's really upset about is that, when it comes to the firehouse, she may or may not be sneaking processed sugar in," shares Lowe. "But I do think they both sort of tick each other's fantasy box. She loves the rugged, heroic fireman and he loves the brainy, super-educated, uber-successful, high-powered woman in a pencil skirt. So there's some real-life role-playing going on in their relationship. It's very sexually charged, but they are very different people which is why it didn't work out in the long run."
Nonetheless, Minear seems optimistic when it comes to this pairing. "For Owen, this was the deepest, most perfect relationship of his life," he says. "Of course it all went sideways because of 9/11 and they were young... but it's allowing him to get a second chance at the best relationship he ever had. It's really great for him. There will be complications because it's not like she was in cryogenic freeze for years. She's had a whole life so we'll discover a little bit about that too."
Gwyneth's not the only new face in town. Gina Torres also joins the cast this season, as the new paramedic captain Tommy Vega, after Liv Tyler (who played Michelle) departed the series after the first season. "Gina is a goddess," says Minear. "She plays a character who has been out of the workforce for the last eight years. She had twin girls when she was a little bit older and made a conscious decision to hang up her uniform and be a stay-at-home mom. She's been raising these girls and she's been loving life. Her husband is a restauranteur and his restaurant has gone under because of COVID. So they've lost their business. So she was forced to return to the workforce. That's very relatable for a lot of people right now."
Adds Lowe, "There's no one, I would rather be hung upside down off of a cell tower with than Gina. She's a great actor and she's unbelievably physical and can handle the stunt work and the long physicality of the action stuff, really believably, but then can handle, the intricate, delicate acting, which is the other part of the show. Her first day, it felt like she'd been on the show since the beginning."
9-1-1: Lone Star returns Monday, Jan. 18 at 9 p.m. ET. Watch the exclusive clip above.