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Rob Lowe on Finding Your Own Path in Life

Rob Lowe on Finding Your Own Path in Life

Rob Lowe is a man who needs little introduction. You might know him as Sodapop Curtis from The Outsiders, or maybe as Sam Seaborn from “The West Wing.” And you most certainly know his as literally the nicest guy ever, Chris Traeger in “Parks and Rec.”

But to two people in this world, they know Rob Lowe as dad, and that is arguably the most important role to him. Lowe takes fatherhood seriously, and it comes across most noticeably in his role as John Marshall in Netflix’s newest film, Dog Gone. Lowe plays the father of a young man who isn’t quite sure what to do with his life — relatable much? In the film, father and son embark on an incredible journey together to rescue their lost pup, and discover a few things about their own lives along the way.

Ahead of the film’s release, we sat down with Lowe to talk about the film and how to navigate the hard parts of life when you’re not sure what lies ahead.

Editor’s note: This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

RELEVANT: What was it about this film that really excited you?

Rob Lowe: I knew that if we did our jobs, we could make a movie that would make people feel, that would make people cry, in a good way, not a traumatic, awful — the dog doesn’t die, I’m just going to say it. But that it would bring people together. This is the kind of movie that everybody can agree on. This is the kind of movie that speaks to, no matter who we are, where we are, what we believe, how we live, this speaks to our shared humanity, without putting a too highfaluting point on it. You’re going to put it on and you’re just going to feel the warm and cozies.

In the film, you are the father of a college grad who hasn’t figured out a career path and I think that’s something a lot of people can relate to. So what advice would you give to young adults who are trying to find their way in the world?

Rob Lowe: Yeah, it’s one of the reasons I wanted to do the movie, to talk about that theme. Raising two sons, it’s near and dear to my heart. I mean, if you could figure out a way to do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. I certainly was able to. And for some people it’s a search, and for some people it’s really not easy. And I think it’s important to be okay experimenting and it’s okay to say, “This isn’t for me.” But then when you find it, then you really, I think, grab on with both hands and try to be the best you can be at whatever that ends up being for you.

Rob Lowe and John Berchtold in ‘Dog Gone.’ Credit: Netflix

What would you say to someone who’s feeling afraid to pursue those dreams?

I always say to my kids, “Why not you? It’s got to be somebody. Why not you?” If it’s, “Well, so many people are up for this job,” or “So few people actually make it doing X, Y, and Z,” I always say, “Okay, that may be true, but somebody is. Why not you?”

I think it’s so simple, but that is such good advice.

Yeah. I always think that the simplest advice is the best advice. And a lot of it sounds like slogans. I happen to love slogans. I love them. Because I think there’s a reason they’re slogans and the reason they’re, “Well, that sounds like a Hallmark card,” or whatever. It’s like, “No.” It’s somebody has wordsmithed something into a pithy, cool, memorable phrase because it’s been proven true over time.

What would you say to someone who’s entering adulthood but wants to have a positive relationship with their parent?

Yeah, I think it’s important to recognize that your relationship is going to, and is natural to, change. And there’s a certain point where kids need to have their freedom. They need to be autonomous. They want to be autonomous. And that can be super complicated in families. Young men, metaphorically, traditionally, have to stand up to their fathers. They do. I mean, that’s in the DNA. And they have to leave their mothers. And it’s not just the literal actual of it all, it’s the internal enmeshments. It can be really complicated. And then other families don’t have these issues at all. Things kind of naturally go. And I always just say to people that, “Your reality is yours. It’s not going to be like everybody else’s. And at the same time, it is very much like everybody else’s.”

John Berchtold, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Rob Lowe in ‘Dog Gone.’ Credit: Netflix

I’d love your opinion on this. Do you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea to move back in with your parents?

I think it depends on the relationship and what the circumstances are. I mean, my kids, ostensibly, are back living with me. We share a house and when I’m in LA I live with them. So here I thought they’d be out of college and have their own jobs, which they do, and yet we’re still watching TV together every night and whatever. So, A, I think it’s the way the world is going and I love it. I love being a part of their everyday life this way. And it’s all about how you look at it, and we love it. One of my sons is about to actually finally fully get his own place, and I’m definitely having a little bit of, I don’t know, I’m having the feelings about it. 

I love hearing how positive of a relationship it’s been for your family, because I think everyone always focuses on the negative sides of it.

Oh, 100%. I mean, particularly because most parents don’t get to, I’m going to use the word parent, but it really isn’t that. But most parents don’t get to be as involved when their kids are at that age because they’re out of the house. So I get to participate, learn, maybe teach. Otherwise they’d be off and I’d be lucky to get them to have dinner with me once a week.

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