Entertainment Movies Rob Lowe and son continue rare tradition of Hollywood’s father-son combos
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Rob Lowe and son continue rare tradition of Hollywood’s father-son combos

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The often comedic relationship between actor Rob Lowe and his son, John Owen Lowe, is the inspiration for an upcoming Netflix show starring the two.

Unstable is a scripted comedy series that follows an introverted son who goes to work for his wildly eccentric father in a bid to save him from disaster.

Netflix says the show is inspired by the ways in which John Owen trolls his real-life father on social media.

Rob Lowe came to prominence in the 1980s and has since starred in numerous films and TV shows, including The West Wing and Parks and Recreation.

He continues to star in TV’s 9-1-1: Lone Star as well as co-hosting the Parks and Recollection podcast.

John Owen Lowe has previously appeared opposite his father in The Grinder and starred and Netflix’s Holiday in the Wild. 

Father-son acting duos are a rare breed in Hollywood.

Rarer still are those who play opposite one another.

But despite their scarcity, University of Sydney film expert Bruce Isaacs told The New Daily the father-son pairing “has always been cherished in Hollywood”.

“It’s because Hollywood has been invested in dynasties and creating its own mythologies,” Dr Isaacs said. 

“So there’s not only the continuation of a generation, but something reassuring that the son has inherited the position of the father – very much also a deeper cultural mythology.

“There’s magic for the film in the naturalness of the pairing, but there’s also a deeper magic for movie audiences so invested in film history.”

Dr Isaacs said in the modern era, the best father-son characterisation was Martin and Charlie Sheen playing father and son in Wall Street.

“In that great moment, when they confront each other in the elevator, you have to wonder: What’s movie and what’s the reality of a pretty tumultuous father-son relationship?,” he said.

Martin, 81, opened up to People last year, saying he had “always, always adored” his son, now 56.

“I adore him,” the actor said of his son. “I’ve always, always adored him. His recovery and his life is a miracle and he’s an extraordinary man.

“We went through as you, as everyone knows I suppose, some very difficult times when he was out there.

“He’s come back – thank heaven – and he’s healthy and he’s working on a book now.”

Martin said Charlie was working on “an autobiography and he’s very excited about that”.

Here are seven other show-stopping pairings.

James Caan and Scott Caan also hung out ringside as well as onset together. Photo: Getty

James and Scott Caan

Being the offspring of legendary film star James (Misery, The Godfather), now 82, it was probably inevitable that his Hawaii Five-0 son Scott, 45, would follow in his father’s footsteps.

But when the pair appeared together in the 2010 movie Mercy, Scott told the Los Angeles Times it was a tough role to play.

“For me, I’m in a scene with my father where a lot of that relationship is made up. And it was hard to portray that we were not close and that we didn’t have a good relationship,” Scott said.

“I can’t deny that camaraderie that we have in real life, and as the writer I’m thinking, ‘That’s not what this is, our characters don’t get along’.”

Scott told entertainment magazine The Fall in 2017: “My dad didn’t want me to get into the business … he knew it would be hard to do this job over and over again and it’s creatively hard to get excited about playing the same dude for seven years.

“My dad is probably one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

“When you’re young you don’t see your father as a legend, you just know that he’s an interesting, colourful, wild kinda cat and you think, ‘I want to be like that guy’. If you come from creative people it’s just in you.”

Jeremy Irons and his son Max watch and appear in movies together. Photo: Getty

Jeremy and Max Irons

English actor Jeremy Irons, well known for playing Simon Gruber in the action film Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), starred in the 2004 flick Being Julia.

His son Max got a small part as a curtain call boy.

But when Max went on Anderson Live in 2013, he revealed his father did not support his decision to pursue acting.

“He sort of warned me that it was a life of fear, paranoia, instability, jealousy. Optimistic stuff,” Max told the studio audience.

Ben Stiller and the late Jerry Stiller hang out at humanitarian fundraising events together. Photo: Getty

Ben and Jerry Stiller

This is a winning combination. Ben and Jerry have been in four films together – Zoolander, Heavyweights, Hot Pursuit and The Heartbreak Kid.

Sadly, Jerry died in 2020. But he told the New York Post in 2012 that Ben would always invite his father (and Jerry’s wife Anne Meara, who died in 2015) on set.

“When [my son] Ben is filming something, he says, ‘Come on down, and see what I’m doing’. We go, and it’s a wonderful moment for Anne and myself to watch Ben shooting a movie. He’s really good at it. I don’t give him advice.

“I can’t say a word. He knows more about film than I could ever begin to think I knew. He never says, ‘Dad, what did you think of that?’ The only thing I’d ever take credit for is, when he was 10 years old, I gave him a Fuji Super 8 camera.

“I just wanted to get him off my back. He went down and started filming movies on the street with his friends. The big hit was ‘Murder in the Park,’ in which he played a criminal.”

Domhnall Gleeson and Brendan Gleeson watch Star Wars movies together. Photo: Getty 

Brendan and Domhnall Gleeson

Who knew?

The Harry Potter series was better for this father-son combo.

Irish actor Brendan played Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody while his son played Ron’s cool older brother Bill Weasley in the last two movies.

Brendan, Domhnall and his other son Brian have since created an acting dynasty, appearing more recently on stage in Dublin in The Walworth Farce.

In an interview with the trio in The Irish Times, Brendan says it’s a beautiful thing when it all comes together: “Obviously it can go the opposite way, because everyone knows that families fight, but it’s been great so far.”

Scott Eastwood and his father, actor/director Clint Eastwood go to afterparties together. Photo: Getty

Clint and Scott Eastwood

They gave their first interview together to Esquire in 2016, in which Scott shared the advice his famous father had given him.

Scott, 36, was in three films with Clint, now 91 – Gran Torino, Invictus and Trouble With the Curve.

“What I’ve discovered from working with my father is that I’m still learning. I’m just a kid in this business.

“But film is much more of a director’s medium. And I’ve seen from my father transitioning into being a director, that’s where the power lies.

“And, like he says, it’s feast or famine for an actor. If you’re not creating your own material, then you’re just fighting for whatever’s out there.”

Donald Sutherland went to an awards night with his son Kiefer, who won a couple for his role in 24. Photo: Getty

Donald and Kiefer Sutherland

They played opposite each other in the 2014 flick Forsaken, and before that Kiefer, 55, got bit parts in 1983’s Max Dugan Returns and A Time to Kill in 1996.

The 24 star told People: “I remember feeling really bad as a son that I wasn’t aware of not only how prolific my father was as an actor, but what he had really contributed to the art of cinema.”

Donald, 86, was a bit more philosophical.

“There is inevitably always going to be a point when the younger lion wants to take on the older lion and then there is always going to be a point when the older lion is going to need the younger lion to help.”

Will and Jaden Smith in the action film After Earth. Photo: AAP

Will and Jaden Smith

After Earth was their first film together in 2013.

Will said he was inspired to shoot a film with his son after seeing him in The Karate Kid with Jackie Chan.