Ricky Schroder: Interview with 'Our Wild Hearts' writer, director and actor

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Actor Ricky Schroder has been a staple on the Hollywood scene since his debut in the 1979 sports drama The Champ, which also starred Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway. For his riveting performance in the film, Schroder became the youngest actor to ever win a Golden Globe for Best New Male Star of the Year in a Motion Picture at the age of nine.

From there, Schroder became a bona fide child star on the NBC hit sitcom Silver Spoons, where he played the son of a rich yet eccentric toy maker. Following the end of the series in 1986, Schroder did a barrage of both comedic and dramatic television movies and mini-series such as 1989’s Lonesome Dove and its 1993 sequel Return to Lonesome Dove.

In 1998, Schroder joined the cast of the hit ABC police drama NYPD Blue and solidified his status as an adult actor. Schroder has also starred on the NBC comedy Scrubs and in 2007 in the successful Fox police thriller 24. His latest project, a Hallmark Movie Channel Original Movie titled Our Wild Hearts, is a true family affair. Schroder co-wrote the movie with his wife Andrea, starred in it and directed it. In addition, his daughter, Cambrie co-stars along with his three other children, Holden, Luke and Faith.

TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Sari N. Kent got the chance to talk to Ricky about the project, what it was like working with his children and his upcoming endeavors.

SNK: Your most recent project, Our Wild Hearts, a Hallmark Movie Channel Original Movie premieres on Saturday, March 9. You co-wrote the movie with you wife, Andrea. What made you decide to write this project?

RS: I was looking for an opportunity to work with my daughter, because my daughter has wanted to work in the movies for as long as I can remember. We thought she was at a point in her life that she should try that. I encouraged my boys and my daughter actually to come up with an idea. We thought about the world of horses and they came back with the story outline and I liked it.

SNK: You star in the movie and directed it, what was that like?

RS: I was very busy! I was running around all the time. It was a lot of fun. I love being on set, but it’s exhausting doing both. Because as an actor, in between shots you get to go and relax, learn lines but as a director you’re there every day. You gotta keep everything on track, everything going the way you want it to go.

SNK: How was it working with the horses in the movie?

RS: Well, the main horse’s name was Bravo, he was a very trained horse. You know anytime you work with animals you gotta be quieter on set, plan for extra time, things might take longer than you want them to or think they should, but he was very well trained horse. The horse trainer, Todd Forsberg, did a great job. I love working with animals. They’re beautiful to film, whether it be a dog or a horse, they’re just are what they are. They’re just beautiful to be around.

SNK: What was it like filming in the Sierra Nevada Mountains?

RS: The film is set there, but we didn’t actually film there. We shot the movie on the same ranch they shot Little House on the Prairie on.

SNK: Your daughter, Cambrie, stars in the movie with you. Your other kids, Holden, Luke and Faith also have parts in the movie. What was it like working with your children?

RS: It was wonderful! They were able to understand a little more about their father and seeing how their father has provided for his family. They could understand more of what I do. They all had great jobs; they all worked their butts off. Everyone of family was on camera at some point in the movie.

SNK: With your being an actor since childhood, I remember watching you on Silver Spoons, every week when I was a little girl, what advice, if any, have you given your kids about acting?

RS: Well, right now it’s just my daughter that’s interested in it. I don’t really give them verbal advice, what they [do] is they watch me. They’ve watched me over the years, how challenging it is, to get those parts. There are a lot of parts out there, the ones that are well-written are really challenging to get. So, I think, they’ve probably learned a lot from watching me pick myself up off the floor in a sense because you don’t get all the parts you wanna get. I think they’ve learned perseverance from me. I think watching me works better than verbally telling them because they can tune out.

SNK: Since you’ve done both comedy with Silver Spoons and drama with NYPD Blue, do you have a favorite acting genre?

RS: I love good writing. Wherever the good writing is in a comedy setting or a dramatic setting, I love it. I’d love actually to do more comedy. I love doing both.

SNK: Are there any other future projects you’d like to mention?

RS: Yes, I’m working with the US Army on a project that should be coming out this summer called Starting Strong. It’s a TV project. It’s an unscripted show about the army where we follow civilians around for a week to experience what it would be like to do a specific job in the army. Like one episode could be what it’s like to be a medic or a mechanic or an engineer in the army and it will be airing on Fox.

Watch Our Wild Hearts Saturday, March 9
8/7c on the Hallmark Channel.

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