Oliver Stark on Returning to ‘9-1-1,’ the Buck-Eddie Bromance & a ‘Lone Star’ Crossover
9-1-1 returns from its midseason hiatus tonight on Fox with the firefighters trying to rescue a skydiver who gets stuck on a plane. And while the stunts on the show are quite spectacular, it’s the interpersonal dynamics of the characters that are the program’s big draw.
TV Insider was among a small group of reporters who spoke with Stark at the Television Critics Association winter press tour earlier this year, where he previewed the second half of the season, his thoughts on Buck and Eddie’s friendship, and more. Read on to get the scoop.
On Buck’s health in the second half of Season 3
“It gets cleared up pretty early on… we get some clarification on that. He’s going to be on the job. I think in the second half of this season, we’re going to dive into other characters. I feel like there was a spotlight on Buck in the first half of the season. [Now,] we’re going to see a lot of Chimney (Kenneth Choi), Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and explore everybody’s relationships and see how that all plays out.”
On Buck’s reaction to Chimney and Maddie’s relationship
“It’s his best friend and his sister. I think he’s had a natural reaction [to their relationship]. He’s coming around to it, slowly, but surely. His sister has, obviously, gone through a rough time, but Buck knows that Chimney’s a good guy. It’s moving in the right direction.”
On playing the different sides to Buck
“As people, we’re many different things. I don’t think that’s something you see on TV all that often. To get to dip and out of [Buck’s different sides] makes me feel really lucky as an actor. We’ll see Buck move on from something and then slip back into it.”
On the Buck-Eddie dynamic, going from friction to Eddie trusting Buck with Christopher (Gavin McHugh)
“The writers and creators of the show did something very clever when they didn’t have us butting heads for very long. We moved past that pretty quickly and Eddie and Buck have been able to have this very positive, whatever you want to call it, friendship, bromance. I know a lot of people look at it as more than that. I’m very lucky to be a part of the show that is so talked about.”
On if he’s seen the fan videos that show Buck and Eddie, essentially, as a couple
“Oh, absolutely! Me and Ryan send them to each other all the time.
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“For me, if that relationship stays platonic or if were to become intimate, I think there’s so much goodness that comes out of it. I’m so astounded by how talented the people are who put those fan videos together. They genuinely have careers in editing if they want to move into that. [Those videos] pull on my heart strings.”
On viewers tuning in for the action, but staying for the relationships
“The action on the show is a great spectacle. It’s fantastic, but when you care about the people you care about the show. If someone throws a kick on a martial arts-themed show, you care about why they’re throwing the kick. I think as this seasons have gone on the audience has become more invested. I feel like the emergencies have become more urgent because we care more about the people involved in them and we care whether or not they’re going to live or die.”
On doing his own stunts
“Our stunt coordinator has come to see that I love doing my own stunts. Thankfully, he’ll go into meetings and say, ‘Oliver can do that!’ or ‘What if Oliver does this?’ He has really championed me. I think more things are being written for me, as a result.”
On the most challenging stunt he’s done on the show
“The tsunami was the most challenging. There was so much we shot that didn’t even make it in the show. We swam up and down against the current. I enjoy being in the water and I consider myself a good swimmer, but it beat the hell out of me. I was so sore the next day, but also filled with this huge sense of achievement. We went down and shot it in Rosarito, Mexico. They have these huge tanks there that were built for the film Titanic. We re-created Santa Monica Pier in these tanks. I could stand up and the water would be at my waist.”
On if we’ll see 9-1-1 cross over with 9-1-1: Lone Star
“I think there’s potential for it. It’s slightly more difficult as we’re in Los Angeles and they’re in Austin [Texas]. There’s certainly scope for it. Ryan’s character Eddie is from Texas. If he ever visits there, he could take some of us with him. There are ways it could play out.
9-1-1, Mondays, Fox, 8/7c