You might not have heard of Jon Sewell, who plays Ronnie in the scripted series Still The King premiering June 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, but you soon will. Sewell plays Debbie’s, played by Joey Lauren Adams, live-in boyfriend whose one dream in life is to own a boat.
We had the chance to chat with the Vanderbilt grad-turned-actor on what it’s like to work on his first TV series with such a notable ensemble cast.
Q. How did your character come to be? And, do you identify with him in any way?
A. I think years ago they had in mind a character that wasn’t too well developed. But then they were like, we’ll get Sewell to do it! So they kind of built the character around me. Since we’re old friends, they put some zany things in there that many people wouldn’t do, but I would.
For example, Ronnie is a fan of karate; he doesn’t know any of it. He’s seen a lot of [karate] movies, though. He’s also a big fan of boating, doesn’t own a boat. I don’t even know how to boat. That might have been the writers poking fun at me… I don’t know.
The first time I had ever driven a boat, was filming this show. It was funny because I was the only one on set that was totally clueless. Oh, my gosh, everyone knows how to boat except for me? Really?!
Q. Were there any other moments that took you out of your comfort zone like the boating scene?
A. Interacting with Joey and Billy Ray. Talk about some big wheels! I wanted to be my character, and be edgy, but I also be respectful because they’re the veterans.
Q. How was working with Billy Ray Cyrus and Joey Lauren Adams? Pick up any pro tips?
A. OK, so, Billy Ray and Joey are the veterans, and I’m really just a random dude from off the street that happened to know a couple people who wrote the show.
Mostly, I learned things by observing them. They’re both so nice to everyone, and that’s important on set. It was a pleasant surprise for people of their caliber. It’s more of a community than I was expecting.
Q. What were your favorite memories?
A. I did a lot of weird things, like play tetherball with your head.
Q. Do you have any favorite lines from playing Ronnie?
A. Yeah, I had several of them, Here’s where John-Sewell strikes back: I’d change the lines for Ronnie, despite what the writers wanted me to say. I was able to improvise and really make the character my own.