2013 has proven to be a great year for Johnathon Schaech! The actor best known for his role on the smash hit film That Thing You Do with Tom Hanks can currently be seen starring on one of television’s hottest shows, Showtime’s Ray Donovan. Opposite Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight, Schaech plays a troubled A-list actor whose life becomes threatened as his past returns to haunt him.
In addition to his role on the drama that had the biggest debut for an original series launch for Showtime, starting this fall Schaech can also be seen on the new CW series Star-crossed.
Two roles on two shows in one year is pretty exciting, but Schaech will tell you it’s the off-screen role of a father he is about to take on that his true “dream” role. The actor and his wife Julie Solomon are expecting their first son this September.
And as if acting and a family didn’t keep Schaech busy enough, he is also devoted to saving arts education in public schools and currently sits on the board of directors for the charity Adopt the Arts. In a recent interview, we spoke about his upcoming event with Adopt the Arts, the fun on Ray Donovan, Star-Crossed and much more!
PPLA: Tell me about your character, Sean Walker, on Ray Donovan?
JS: He’s been around for 20 years. And the story is that there is something in the past that happened between Ray Donovan, Sean Walker, my character, and Ray’s father, played by Jon Voight. And that caused Jon Voight’s character to go to jail for twenty years. Now he’s coming out of jail and the past is coming to haunt Sean Walker. Sean Walker is the equivalent of a major film star like Tom Cruise. He’s got so much money and doesn’t really abide by the same rules as everybody else. But Sean’s really kind of changed his life as well. He, somehow, has a baby in his life. That is his new purpose- raising this child and caring for this child. There are a lot of connections between that character and myself. I’m not a big movie star but I play one on television! (Laughs)
PPLA: So he was someone with a troubled past and now he is kind of changing?
JS: Yes, he changed his ways but the troubled past is coming back to bite him in the ass. He is trying to solve those problems as they come up. And he’s been with Ray ever since. Something happens soon that is pretty amazing.
PPLA: What can you tell viewers about what is ahead for the remainder of the season?
JS: I can tell the audience that what you expect isn’t going to happen! (Laughs) They keep you guessing! The writers keep you guessing; they do such a great job. The characters are so complex. It’s been such a pleasure working with Jon Voight and Liev Schreiber. I enjoyed every moment I had. I can’t wait to see what the second season brings.
PPLA: Is there a moment from this season that stood out to you?
JS: When I had the baby in my hand, when I had to present the baby to Liev the first time, that was a funny moment. I had held babies all my life but Liev is a father so after the first take he said, “Hold the baby’s head. Hold the back of the baby’s head!” (Laughs) So I did and there was one particular take when the baby reached out and smacked me in the middle of the take and that’s what they used. It’s very funny getting smacked by a little baby. Awesome! (Laughs)
PPLA: Will we see a possible love interest for Sean Walker?
JS: You know, he’s obsessed with that baby. That’s his love interest.
PPLA: Do you have any other projects coming up?
JS: I’m also on the new CW show, Star-Crossed, which is like Battlestar Galactica meets Romeo and Juliet. I’ve been here filming it a week so far. I’m a recurring character. I am the head of the alien race. I try to integrate us into human culture. He’s sort of like a pioneer- trying different ways. Kind of like when Martin Luther King tried to do it in the 60’s. or like the brotherhood in Egypt. I’m the leader of the alien nation and I’m trying to get us to integrate and be equal and get my people free.
PPLA: What kind of roles do you most aspire for?
JS: I want to be a leading man again. I changed the course of my life-in my personal life-I changed the course of my business life and my spiritual life; and now in my professional ways I try to and have been able to work with great actors again. I did a film with David Duchovny and Ed Harris and that was the starting of the curve of getting to work with really good actors and learning again how to be a leading man- not only in front of the camera, but in our lives as well. All of them have been so embracing and helping me and just showing me that it’s a different time when you reach my age in your career. It’s no longer about your past, it’s about your future and where you are going to go because everything changes when you get to a certain age. I can play men of power, I can play fathers. I’ve been asking for that role of leadership; show that I can take the lead. And I know the only way that I was able to do that is to get all those aspects of my life in mind so that I can be granted that role. And I think Ray Donovan is great fun. I got to play a great fun character. I’m blessed to be a character actor. And now in this Star-Crossed, I’m being a man who is struggling to find what leadership is all about and trying to do the right thing even though some people may not agree. And I think that all these things are leading me towards getting that leading role that has been waiting for me all along.
PPLA: And I know you are very passionate about your work with Adopt the Arts, which focuses on the importance of arts education in public schools. What’s next?
JS: I have a great charity event coming up September 15th. It’s for Adopt the Arts. It’s at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Matt Forum, he’s going to be playing and a lot of his band members from SMASH will be there. Now we’re working towards helping to bring more arts for public schools in Pakistan. Art education needs to happen everywhere because when the arts happen people see the world in a different light. People can go online atadopthearts.org and get tickets and info.
PPLA: Anything else you would like to share with your fans?
JS: Ray Donovan is great! Keep watching it. It’s only going to get better. It’s got a great season ending!