Johnathon Schaech talks Blue Ridge

Johnathon Schaech as Justin Wise in Blue Ridge. Courtesy of Imagicomm.

Johnathon Schaech spoke with Solzy at the Movies over the phone about Blue Ridge and touched on That Thing You Do! turning 25.

Schaech stars in the film as Justin Wise, the new sheriff in town and a former Green Beret.

Blue Ridge makes its TV premiere following the initial release last fall. What was it about the script that drew you to the role?

Johnathon Schaech: My dad was a city cop for 36 years. It was interesting that I found that the script that this guy was leaving one area and moving to another. I had just moved from California to Nashville, Tennessee so it fit right in with my life. My father and moving—I thought, well, I was supposed to play this role.

Did you do anything in particular to prepare yourself for the role?

Johnathon Schaech: The most interesting part of the preparation was when my wife drove all the way to Georgia to tell me that we were going to have a baby girl.

Being from Kentucky, I felt that the film reminded me of the Hatfield and McCoy rivalry.

Johnathon Schaech: Exactly! I felt the same way. I mean, every town has as rivalries like that. I thought that was really interesting. I did this film called Texas Rising with Bill Paxton so I watched the Hatfield and McCoys that the History Channel did. I thought that was really good—how every town has these rivalries for whatever reason. Even families have these rivalries for reasons that we really don’t know!

When you’re doing a film of this nature in a rural area, what do you typically do when you’re not on set?

Johnathon Schaech: Well, there wasn’t much to do. Just take in the sites. It was in the Blue Ridge Mountains so I got to see beautiful parts of the country that I had never seen before.

What do you typically look for in a character when you’re reading a script?

Johnathon Schaech: The similarities. What they what they want out of the experience and how I can fill that void.

I’m going to ask you the same thing I asked Steve Zahn last month. Is it hard to believe that That Thing You Do! is celebrating its 25th anniversary in October?

Johnathon Schaech: That’s just awesome, isn’t it? G-d, I just love that movie. We went platinum. The record went platinum. We got Platinum records from Playtone yesterday.

I was just listening to the soundtrack again this morning.

Johnathon Schaech: Zahn was—we were both in Hawaii. He was making a television series and I was making a movie. We didn’t cross paths because of COVID. We were right on the islands together but everyone was bubbled up in the COVID world.

How has the pandemic affected you in terms of work?

Johnathon Schaech: Everything shut down. The beautiful thing is I had my baby girl in the guest room here in Tennessee. We’ve got to spend every moment with our little one. It’s been great but now things are starting to pick back up. One thing about COVID productions is everything safe inside that bubble. Once everyone’s tested, you’re basically functioning in a no-COVID world and it feels safer to be inside that bubble.

Any chance of a future return as Jonah Hex down the road in the Arrowverse?

Johnathon Schaech: COVID definitely affected Hex’s possibilities of coming back for this season. He’s been part of every season with Legends of Tomorrow but I haven’t got word. I have no idea what’s going on because they’ve bubbled up.

Blue Ridge makes its television premiere on March 13 at 8 PM on INSP.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.