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For the first time in his decades-long career, Chad Lowe will appear on screen alongside his brother, Rob Lowe.
The 54-year-old will star on Monday’s episode of “9-1-1: Lone Star” in which firefighter Captain Owen Strand [Rob] returns to Los Angeles and is confronted with “painful childhood memories”. Robert Pine, star of the 70s detective series “CHiPs” and father of actor Chris Pine, will play their father.
Lowe previously directed two episodes of the FOX drama, which has a strong connection to his family. Lowe’s nephew John Owen Lowe is also a writer for the series.
Lowe spoke to Fox News Digital about what made him finally appear on screen, what it was like growing up with Rob, 58, and what kept the family grounded in Hollywood.
FoxNews: You have already directed two episodes of “9-1-1: Lone Star”. What prompted you to become a guest star now?
Chad Lowe: I got a phone call from the writer and one of the creators, Tim Minear. I expected the phone call to be about an episode I was going to direct. But he says, “Hey, it’s not about directing. Are you interested in acting?” I said, “I’m still interested – yes.” And he says, “OK, I have something for you.” I’m such a fan of Tim’s work and admire him so much that I said “yes” before I even knew exactly what he was up to.
Then he said, “You’re going to play Rob’s brother.” It was great. And then I realized that was the first time Rob and I were going to do anything together. The first time we act together. Over the years, many people have asked why we didn’t do it sooner, or when we were going to do it. Rob and I both wondered why we never did anything together.
Here, here is that opportunity. I was thrilled and excited to play this character. And when I read it, I was even more thrilled. It’s a lot of dialogue… I mostly directed. So my biggest worry was, “Am I going to remember my lines?” You always have this fear as an actor, that you’re not going to remember your lines. This terrifies all actors. And it happens to the best of us. But for me, I was on a show I once worked on as a director.
I didn’t want to fail. And above all, I didn’t want to fail in front of my brother. Because I will hear about it for the rest of our lives *laughs*. But it was a bit like riding a bicycle. And it didn’t hurt that I was with my brother. Rob is just a really talented actor. He really brings out the best in me.
FoxNews: What was it like finally working alongside your brother?
Low: It was an amazing experience. We were able to bring our story – a lifetime of story – to those scenes and those moments that we shared on screen. There was so much left unsaid [words] continues, and yet there is the dialogue that we speak. And there is also this other life that we had, life experiences that we were able to bring. I think it’s just obvious and it makes [the scenes] all the richer.
FoxNews: This show is a family affair because your nephew also writes on it.
Low: John Owen is a writer on the series. I had the pleasure of directing an episode that he wrote. So it was really a family affair. We had Rob star, I was directing, and John had written the episode. It was so exciting to have this opportunity.
FoxNews: How did you feel watching your nephew find his place in the television and film industry?
Low: He is very intelligent, he is very lively. I always knew that whatever he did he would succeed because he really is one of the smartest people I know. I often turn to John Owen for advice on all things current, whether it’s fashion or social media *laughs*. He is an expert in everything. He’s so beyond his years… It’s no surprise to see him excel at all. I’m just an uncle, but I have a real sense of pride watching him and all his accomplishments.
FoxNews: As a family in the film and television industry, what do you think has kept you all grounded?
Low: Some would say we’re not being punished – we’re in Hollywood after all *laughs*. But I think it’s always a matter of family first. All other things are above family. The foundation is family. The foundation is the love we share for each other and each other. The most important is this link. Everything else stems from this family bond. This has always been the most important thing for us. And I think it helps to have kids of my own. It’s very humbling and it keeps me grounded. There is nothing more grounded than having your children calling you.
John Owen famously called Rob. I love watching this dynamic unfold on social media as much as anyone else. Whenever Rob posts something, I can’t wait to hear what John Owen thinks about it *laughs*. I have a similar dynamic with my children, although they are much younger. I have three daughters and my eldest is 13 years old. I have a 9 year old daughter and a 6 year old. They are my life. Literally, these are the most important things in my life. I feel really blessed and lucky, this is the main purpose of my life. It really puts everything I do into perspective.
FoxNews: What is your favorite childhood memory involving your brother?
Low: Oh my – I have so many. I couldn’t choose just one because I literally have a lifetime of them… We used to spend our summers together in Ohio with our dad. And so our father had to work during the day. We were just these two kids in Dayton, Ohio, during the summers, going crazy and getting into all kinds of trouble. We were like Butch and Sundance. We were connected at the hip with everything we did our whole childhood. We have so many shared experiences. We have songs – I can mention a song title to him and it immediately brings us back to an incident that happened, to a shared experience.
I really couldn’t choose one because there are literally so many. I just literally said like Rob [in his podcast]. I think he literally stole it from me *laughs*… We’re very competitive. We grew up very competitive with each other. We had our battles like all brothers and sisters. But he was always my best friend. And I think he would say the same of me. He’s the person I turn to for almost everything in my life. Apart from my wife and children, it’s him.
FoxNews: What do you think was the secret to the success of “9-1-1: Lone Star”?
Low: I think the secret sauce is how well the story is able to pack into a single episode that runs the gauntlet of human emotions. Drama, sadness, conflict, humor and then action. It’s all those ingredients in one episode. As a director, you could direct something humorous and light-hearted, and then the next scene, it’s incredibly moving because it’s about life and death. And then the next day you go to this incredible place where a tragedy or a rescue occurs in a burning building.
These sets are still as big and dynamic as ever. Visually, it’s amazing to watch. But it’s also about those really stretched out characters. I’ve always said the explosions and action are great to watch, but if you don’t care about the characters, there’s no stakes. What I think they did so well with “Lone Star” is they created these characters who are so diverse, come from such different backgrounds, and yet they come together and are united, usually by a single cause. You are rooting for them and you are invested in them. You are invested in their well-being and the outcome of what will inevitably be a huge event. Your heart is there with them when they are in rescue mode.
FoxNews: When do you feel most like yourself, in front of the camera or behind the camera?
Low: I love having the opportunity to do both, acting and directing. If I can do both, it’s a perfect balance because I think each satisfies certain different parts of who I am. I think directing is where I feel most authentic and challenged, while acting feels more insular and… more vulnerable. You often show parts of yourself that you don’t normally show in public.
FoxNews: What do you hope audiences take away from this episode featuring you and your brother?
Low: Well, it’s our first time on screen, which I can’t wait to see if I watch it. I sometimes have trouble looking at myself. But I think this episode scratches the surface more deeply of what makes [Rob’s character] Owen frantic. He will face past problems that arise. It’s kind of an origin story. And also, it’s cathartic for him. I know Rob was really thrilled because he got to surf *laughs*. I haven’t seen the whole episode yet, but I’ve seen some footage and it’s beautiful. We see another side of Owen Strand, a more vulnerable side of him.
“9-1-1: Lone Star” airs Monday at 9 p.m. on FOX.