A family affair! Rob Lowe and son John Owen Lowe have teamed up on a handful of projects in the past, but their latest collaboration — the new Netflix series Unstable — is their most personal one yet.
“The story of Unstable is really the story of us,” the 9-1-1: Lone Star actor, 59, explained in an exclusive interview in the new issue of Us Weekly. “It’s a story about a dad trying to love and support his son through everything, and his son putting up a little bit of a fight. That is a story that almost every parent and child can relate to, and of course Johnny came in and made it all very hysterical.”
The Stanford University graduate, 27, has been open about how dad has been a major source of support for him as he dealt with addiction. Earlier this month, the Parks and Recreation alum presented his son with his five-year sobriety chip during an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show.
Rob and John Owen previously starred together in Holiday in the Wild and The Grinder, and John Owen has written multiple episodes of his dad’s show 9-1-1: Lone Star. For Unstable, though, they mined more of their personal experience than they have in the past.
“Stepping into this role was more work and more emotionally draining than I ever thought it would be, but that is what made it so special,” John Owen told Us. “The more of myself I poured into the show, the more I got out of it for myself. Oh, and having my dad there helped, or sometimes didn’t, but either way, I had a lot of support.”
In the new series, the St. Elmo’s Fire star plays Ellis Dragon, the eccentric CEO of a biotech company. John Owen stars as Ellis’ son, Jackson, who goes to work for his father’s business in order to help him cope with the death of his wife.
“Ellis is a very exaggerated version of me in some ways, but I very much hope I am a little more stable,” quipped Rob, who shares John Owen and son Matthew, 29, with wife Sheryl Berkoff. “We couldn’t have done this show without the other, in every way. There’s no way I was going to do a father-son show and not have my son there.”
John Owen — who cocreated the comedy with his dad and Victor Fresco — said that the idea for Unstable has been “brewing” since he worked on 9-1-1: Lone Star.
“I felt like I was constantly in my dad’s shadow,” the Grace Point star explained. “It’s hard not to when he is the star of the show and a producer. When I told people about what I was experiencing, I found that a lot of people could relate to exactly the feeling I was having.”
The screenwriter mined that experience for the series, which debuted on Netflix last month. “I really had to lean into that feeling all the way,” John Owen told Us. “Diving deeper into this and then turning it into comedy was more healing than I ever imagined it would be.”
Rob, for his part, is thrilled with the way the project turned out — and he credits much of its success to his son. “John Owen spent so much of his life in writers’ rooms and on set, and this was the time in his life when he was really ready to carry a show of this caliber,” the Virginia native gushed. “I’m so proud of him.”
Unstable is now streaming on Netflix. For more on Rob and John Owen’s new show, watch the video above and pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now.