9-1-1: Lone Star Post Mortem: Brian Michael Smith Teases Paul's New Romance and the Fun Team Camaraderie
Paul and Asha are the hottest new couple on 9-1-1: Lone Star!
Not only did we get some fun and exciting cases on 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 4 Episode 7, but we got to spend some time with the beloved Paul Strickland and one of the biggest things fans have been craving, exploration of his love life, came to fruition.
With the introduction of Asha, Paul has finally met a woman who cares about him for who he is, but it doesn't come without some bumps in the road as Paul almost shuts down and nearly ruins a good thing.
Thankfully, Owen was there to advise Paul to get out of his own way and revisit some of the things he loved from his past.
TV Fanatic caught up with the down-to-earth and lovely Brian Michael Smith to discuss Paul's new love interest, upcoming arcs for him, and so much more. Check out our chat below!
It was an entertaining episode with some very hilarious calls. The upside-down woman had me cracking up. So how hard is it to film something like that without laughing or breaking character?
Something I like about the ensemble I work with is that everybody's professional, but we like to have fun too. We definitely leave the moments to be what they are because sometimes we look around, and when you read it on paper, it's one thing, but then when you see it actually play out like it's something completely different, you know?
When the woman came in upside down, that was interesting and ridiculous -- talking to this woman while she's completely inverted.
Then the second part of that rescue, we see her husband's hernia, and you read the word hernia, but then when you see the prosthetic they put on, everyone's like, "whoa." There are a lot of reactions that were genuine to the visual effects they used for that. It definitely made for an interesting shoot day.
Yes, they're enjoyable. I'm glad we're returning to the super fun, hilarious cases. I am also very excited about Paul and Asha. You and Amanda [Payton] have great chemistry.
She came in, and I feel it was in the works for a while, especially after we introduced Paul's dating experience in 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 1. It's like we know he has been dating, but it's more an anecdote, stories he's sharing between him and the Catan crew.
It was something that they were developing, so I was looking forward to how they were going to pick that up again and what we were going to explore. I knew that when they brought it back, it was because they were going to want to give this character who is beloved somebody to appreciate him in the way that he deserved.
But then, what else could we explore in introducing a romantic storyline? I was curious about what we were going to explore. And then, when Amanda came in, I knew whatever we were going to be looking at was going to be fantastic because she is so authentic and open and willing to play and go there.
Much of that chemistry came naturally from Amanda, the actress who plays Asha. She jumped in feet first, open-hearted and ready to rock and roll. It was cool to see what we could build from being in the same room together -- in addition to what we want to see included in the storyline in the script.
Yeah. You guys are great. It comes across really well. And viewers have been dying to revisit his love life.
Yeah, I'm so excited. I had such a good time in the dating scene from season one. We got to bowl the flirting, and Angel Parker was also an amazing actress. For it to end in a way that was heartbreak for Paul, It was like, oh, man.
Upon Asha's introduction, I was excited to see that the sparks were there. And that this would be a relationship that we'll see develop over time and take away some of the fears and worries that he had in the first dating experience, which was kind of like a blind date.
Now, he doesn't have to worry about acceptance. He's with someone who knows all about him and loves and accepts him because of that, not even just in spite of that, because of that.
I think Asha appreciates that Paul has always been himself.
She said, "I recognize you from your smile. I recognize you on an essential level.
And that's something that I've always been drawn to." I felt like the subtext of how she was approaching him. I was thrilled to dive into a relationship that started there and then see that it would continue. We're going to explore further, and they want to be able to connect even further.
Yes. It is probably more important now than ever to see that on screen.
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Right now, there's so much misinformation. There are so many vile mischaracterizations of who trans and non-binary people are. And because of that, there are a lot of legal attacks that are happening in state houses. There's a lot of denial of people's experiences.
And when you get an opportunity to take a peek at what's really going on, what people are dealing with, transgender and nonbinary people are dealing with the exact same things that everyone else is. We're just humans looking for love, looking for connections, trying to be ourselves, and trying to leave our mark on the world.
You need to see things like that to combat all the lies leading to people losing their rights. It's imperative right now to see what love can look like, what acceptance truly looks like, and how people live.
Now, we have seen Paul show some hesitancy during the episode. It's like he was getting in his own way for a bit. Can you talk about his fears regarding pursuing something with Asha?
Asha presents a new challenge for Paul in a way he did not expect.
First, he was feeling conflicted about who Asha is in relation to his best friend -- feeling like maybe Marjan, whose well-being is really important to him, is going to feel betrayed if he dates the woman who put her on this course of an existential crisis. So there's a little bit of that definitely in the mix.
Asha reminds him that he hasn't dealt with some elements of his past. The way he chose to deal with his past was to put it behind him and not to look at it and keep moving forward. It was a survival mechanism that served him for the early part of his life, but now that he's older, he's more mature and spent more time becoming more secure in who he is.
Paul has realized this part of who he was that he left behind is important to him, and he wants to reconnect with that. But he fears what reconnecting with the past will mean for his present. I think he feared that bringing who he was to the present would erase who he is right now or change the way Asha sees him or the way he sees himself.
But he misses that part of himself. He really misses basketball. He really misses the good memories and the good experiences that he had. And he never really grieved leaving them behind like that.
He never really realized that he had left them behind in that way. And then, once he's confronted with it, it's unsettling for him and a little overwhelming.
And he doesn't know how to be vulnerable about it yet. And then the person with whom he typically is vulnerable about these things is not around to help him figure out how to process this. Cap is there to help him in a way he didn't expect. He has been that kind of father figure in his life at other times.
He finds himself leaning on Cap again in this episode in a beautiful way. It was great that Cap was able to see and hear him.
Cap recognized what was going on and that this may seem unique to a trans man, but this is also an experience that every human goes through. Everyone, at some point, can lose connection with something that has value to them, feeling like they can't fully be who they are.
In 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 3, Cap spent a lot of time dealing with unresolved issues from his past, dealing with his father, dealing with even 9/11, and so him being able to impart some of that to Paul is this really beautiful moment that it was.
Speaking of the previous season, Paul previously had some heart issues. Is that a storyline that'll come up again?
We haven't finished shooting yet, so I can't say either way. But it's been great to see that Paul has learned how to live with and manage his heart issues after a hard battle to accept that that's what was happening with him.
It's been great to see that he's been able to get back into the thick of things and not have any heart emergencies. But this is Lonestar, and things happen.
What great things are coming up that you can tease or are excited for the fans to see?
I love that we're definitely going to see more of Paul. And I love that we see Paul doing his thing a bit more than we have in the past. And that was a really fun storyline to shoot.
I'm looking forward to how it all comes out. It was an entertaining arc to dive into that we haven't explored yet.
Awesome! I'm happy to hear about that. Paul is one of my favorite characters, and I'm always thrilled when the series dives back into him and his storylines.
Yeah. Yeah. Thank you.
I really enjoy playing him, and it's always a treat to see what the writers come up with to explore. I like this season. We've been doing it for four seasons now, and the writers are doing a great job of finding new ways to challenge and encourage the characters to grow and change.
Of course, everyone's very comfortable in their roles now. And you get to see that come out more. It's delightful, and it translates on screen well.
I couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with here. Everybody's unique in their own way. And they do such a great job seeing each other, respecting each other, and playing off each other. It's a really playful environment, as much as you can be trying to finish 18 episodes.
You still get the work done, and everybody is professional, but there's this spirit of building on each other's work and playing with the energy that feels like it comes across on screen because it's just who the people are.
When Paul was trapped in that building, Lindsey asked, "what do you love about the 126," and he said, "the people," that was Brian. Going to work every day -- is about the people. And I've loved working with them. I love what everybody's brought to the characters and the show.
Okay. I have to ask -- who won the pickup game?
Who won the pickup game? [Laughs] No comment. I can't say. I don't want to cause any problems.
But yeah, that was fun to shoot. Everybody loves to play, and the playful and competitive spirits certainly emerged. You can't put a hoop around these kinds of characters, these people, and not expect the inner athletes to come out.
And then basketballs were flying around just in between takes. We were supposed to be in holding, and everybody was playing around. It was amusing to see who was athletic and who absolutely was not -- who was trying to stay as far away from the basketball and the hoop as possible.
Oh, that would have definitely been me.
Yeah, you and Natacha would've been hanging out. [Laughs]
That scene felt more like you guys' real camaraderie coming through, which made it adorable and entertaining.
Oh, yeah. There are some hoopers on this squad. Brianna is a baller. Julian is a baller.
Cap can ball, Ronen can ball, Jim... it was fun to see that inner child come out that day, and everybody did their thing.
You can catch the incredibly talented Brian Michael Smith as the beloved Paul Strickland on 9-1-1: Lone Star Tuesdays at 8/7c on FOX.
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If you need to catch up on the series, you can watch 9-1-1: Lone Star online here via TV Fanatic.