9-1-1: Lone Star premieres Jan. 19 and is headed to Texas. Rob Lowe stars as Owen Strand, a longtime New York City firefighter who lost his entire firehouse on 9/11. He rebuilt his firehouse after the tragedy and is tasked with doing it again when disaster strikes in Austin, Texas. Ronen Rubinstein stars as T.K. Strand, Owen’s son who works alongside his father and moves to Austin with him. HollywoodLife sat down with Ronen at the Television Critics Association winter press tour about joining the 9-1-1 universe.
“Whenever you can be any part of Ryan Murphy’s world, you should say yes,” Ronen told HollywoodLife. “And then, of course, I was lucky enough to have a complex character that you might think one thing when you see him on the surface, but there’s a lot of layers and there’s a lot of stuff going on with him in the relationship with his dad and just navigating being a firefighter at such a young age. There are a lot of complexities and a lot of layers to him. I love characters who are not what they seem on the surface. Because I find those the most interesting to watch and the most interesting to play.”
Owen and T.K.’s father-son relationship is going to be at the heart of the series. Ronen revealed what to expect from their relationship over the course of the season. “We’re going to dive deeper into Owen’s cancer diagnosis and we’ll see how that goes with T.K. and if or when he’ll find that out,” Ronen said. “Again, working next to him and sort of separating the father and the professional. We’re somewhere completely fresh and brand-new and not what we know. It’s sort of a different world for us, but we slowly realize that Austin is actually much, much cooler and much more open-minded than we assumed. It’s a really beautiful father-son relationship that we don’t see that much on television, especially since there’s so much to balance from Owen’s perspective and T.K.’s perspective.”
Ronen admitted that his connection with co-star Rob was immediate. “From the moment we met in the chemistry read, it was instant,” Ronen continued. “Our chemistry clicked super fast.”
When T.K. moves to Austin, he will cross paths with Carlos (Rafael Silva). A romance will blossom between them in the first season. Even before the show’s premiere, fans have built a fandom for the couple they’ve dubbed Tarlos. “It’s taken us all by complete shock and surprise, especially with how early it started,” Ronen said. “These fans are so dedicated and they’re so loyal. They haven’t seen anything but trailers and photos, so that’s been amazing. But the relationship — Tarlos — there’s this immediate spark of chemistry and attraction.” He added that Carlos becomes a “safe space” for T.K. after heartbreak. “It’s a really special relationship,” Ronen said.
Owen rebuilds Firehouse 126 with a group of courageous and diverse firefighters. Ronen teased that we’ll see this group of firefighters — very similar to 9-1-1 — form unbreakable bonds. “They’re all outsiders in a way, so there’s definitely that singular variable that brings us all together and you’re going to see a really beautiful bond between the team on a professional and on a personal level,” Ronen said. “I think that’s why people are going to love these firehouses because they are a team way more than just in the heat of the moment. I think people are going to really love the camaraderie of it.” 9-1-1: Lone Star will air Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.