Odds are, you can name about a half a dozen TV shows or films that star Hollywood’s blonde bombshell Katherine Heigl. From Grey’s Anatomy and Suits on the small screen to 27 Dresses and Knocked Up on the big screen, her IMDB page is littered with credits. Similarly, actress Sarah Chalke became a household name after starring in the long-running sitcom Scrubs. Most recently, both leading ladies teamed up to co-star in the heart-warming and oh-so-binge-able drama series Firefly Lane, which is based on Kristin Hannah’s novel of the same name. Although the pair’s camaraderie and charisma steal the show (literally!), scores of fans simultaneously fell in love with another character — one donning luscious locks and a dreamy Aussie accent. And before you ask — no, it’s not a Hemsworth brother.
The character’s name is Johnny Ryan, and he’s played by Australian actor Ben Lawson. If you’re almost certain you’ve heard his honey-drenched voice before, you’re not wrong. Although he’s no Katherine Heigl, Ben Lawson does have a handful of cinematic credits under his belt, and we have a feeling there’s about to be many more. Here’s the real reason Lawson looks so familiar.
Ben Lawson got his start on this soap opera
Long before landing the role of Johnny Ryan in Firefly Lane, Ben Lawson was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia. After graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art and landing parts in some local productions, he gained critical recognition playing Fraser Yeats on the popular Aussie soap opera Neighbours. According to Marie Claire, the actor broke onto the scene in the States when he moved to Los Angeles in 2008, subsequently landing recurring roles on The Deep End and Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, as well as a part in the 2011 movie No Strings Attached.
As more casting directors caught on to Lawson’s theatrical finesse, he landed gigs on Designated Survivor, 13 Reasons Why, The Good Place, and Doubt. He appears in the latter alongside his Firefly Lane co-star Katherine Heigl. According to Lawson, none of these roles compared to the fanfare of playing Johnny Ryan. “You just kind of hope that something hits in any kind of way and I’ve been around a long time and done other things that never hit it at all,” he told People. “So for me, this is just like, ‘Oh wow, this is what it feels like when people watch your show and really respond positively.'”
Considering the immense and immediate acclaim garnered by Firefly Lane, “respond positively” might very well be the understatement of the year.
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