There’s no real use in asking Ben Lawson what season two, part two of Firefly Lane will look like. The Australian actor, who plays Johnny Ryan on Netflix’s hit series adaptation of Kristin Hannah’s bestselling novels, remains cagey but he’ll throw in the odd evasive smile any time StyleCaster tries to unearth some insider knowledge. “The way it wraps up, I think it’s going to be satisfying,” he says cryptically via video call. It’s understandable he wants to keep our chat spoiler-free. Such is the popularity of the emotional drama that, after dropping the first half of its final season on December 2, 2022, it’s still in the top 10 of the streamer’s most-watched shows three weeks later. And while viewers say they want to know, it’s doubtful they ever really mean it.
If you’ve read the books, you may have already formed ideas of how Kate’s (Sarah Chalke) and Tully’s (Katherine Heigl) story ends on-screen and so far, the show has been reasonably faithful to its source material. Heigl told us that, as one of the show’s executive producers, “I treat authors like rockstars. To me, you don’t mess with their stuff,” though the cause of the rift between Tully and Kate was a major departure. Season two, part one concludes with Kate’s rare and aggressive breast cancer diagnosis while Tully takes an assignment in Antarctica. The former lifelong friends are still estranged after Tully is involved in a car accident that nearly kills herself and her goddaughter, Marah, who is Kate and Johnny’s only child. In the books, Kate succumbs to the disease but not before the Firefly Lane girls manage to repair their fractured friendship. Per the books, Kate writes Tully a letter asking her to help Johnny raise Marah and even says she’s open to them getting together in order to do so.
Lawson won’t comment on that, either. Ok, we say, what can he tell us about the teaser for part two? In it, we’ve jumped 10 years into the future. Johnny is wearing a tux, nervously standing in the aisle at a wedding. Cut to Tully dressed in white. She’s putting on her lipstick while a veil drapes off of a coat hanger in the background. Surely, it’s a misdirect, we ask Lawson. Tully and Johnny aren’t getting married, are they? “Why do you think it’s a misdirect?” he asks coyly. Ok, we’ll rephrase. Do you think Tully and Johnny could have ever worked as a couple? “No,” Lawson replies. “I think as Johnny says many times, they’re too similar… I think he was really waiting for someone like Kate to settle him down and Tully was never going to do that.” For answers to all of these questions, fans are going to have to wait until June 23, 2023, for part two.
It was pretty standard, really. I was sent the appointment, I read the first episode or two and I loved it. I was given the option of using my natural accent, which is something I don’t often get to use because it won’t work as well as they think it’ll work.
It’s always a bit of ‘Oh, how do we act again?’ I think that’s the way most actors feel when you haven’t done it for a while. Because of COVID, we were moved to a studio set which just makes life so much easier. So, there were lots of changes, but it was great. I love the cast and crew; it was great to be back with them again.
I really loved playing in the 80s. That storyline was my favorite. Yeah, that’s true, there’s a lot of crossover between us. But that enjoyment of being in the KPOC newsroom together. It actually reminded me of being an actor of like, getting into the trenches with your friends and creating something.
For the most part, that PTSD stuff was as it was on the page and there really wasn’t a lot of collaboration. There were a few times when Maggie [Friedman, Firefly Lane creator and showrunner] would check in with me and ask, “What would an Aussie say instead of ‘asshole’ if you’re going to call someone a name?” And I was like, “a dickhead, probably”, which I do in the first episode of season two when Johnny and another dad bump into each other at Marah’s soccer game. You know, small things like that. But as you say, men historically, and especially in Australia, have resisted psychotherapy whereas in America it’s a lot more out in the open. Which is great. I’m a huge advocate for therapy and talking about problems.
There was a lot of back and forth over how best to walk the line between being empathetic towards both of those characters. Seeing it from Kate’s side, but also seeing it from Tully’s side and that’s a real balancing act. I think that Johnny is in Kate’s corner at the end of the day. I mean, it’s his child as well. There’s this scene between Johnny and Tully where he says, “You know, this involves me”. So often it’s between the two girls. And Tully is like, “This doesn’t involve you, Johnny.” And I’m like, “I’m sorry, what? That’s my child.” [laughs] I think at the end of the day, he’s really got Kate’s back, but I think that Johnny’s maybe a little bit readier to forgive than Kate. I say that because I know what’s coming up. But the accident was like a tipping point for the recklessness of Tully and doing whatever the hell she wants.
Again, there was a lot of back and forth about how big it should be. Not just because Johnny would have noticed but because of how, at what point, does any woman allow it to get to the stage where they think “Oh, I should go to a doctor”? Of course, at the end of the day, it has to be dramatic.
Are you asking if I want Kate to die? [laughs]
Knowing what I know and the way it wraps up, I think it’s going to be satisfying.
Firefly Lane seasons one and two (part one) are available to stream on Netflix now.
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