Ricky Schroder

Ricky Schroder’s ‘Journey’ as an Actor and Family Man

He’s been the object of countless fantasies and entertained several TV generations on top-rated shows like, “Silver Spoons,” “NYPD Blue,” “Scrubs,” and “24,” but deep down, Ricky Schroder is an all-American boy and family guy at heart. With four kids (Faith, Cambrie, Luke, and Holden), a wife of 15 years, and a longstanding acting career, life is beautiful for the handsome 37-year-old, who stars in the premiere of RHI’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” which airs on ION Television, Sunday, January 27th at 9pm.

“It’s definitely a family-oriented action-adventure fantasy film,” the New York native says about the adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic novel. Yet although he was born in Brooklyn and raised in Staten Island, this country guy is no city slicker. He and his wife Andrea built and designed a 15,000-acre ranch in Colorado, where they resided with their kids for years, before moving to a 30-acre farm in the Santa Monica Mountains.

“I have a small farm here which is fun,” he says. “My sons like to raise game birds, so we have quail, pheasants, chucker, and my daughters like goats so we have goats and dogs. It’s great – we have a country place in the city,” which gives him the best of both worlds to enjoy a Hollywood career in a remote home where his focus is on family.

Here the charming blonde chats with Celebrity Everything in an exclusive interview about his role as Jonathan Broch, “24,” long hours on the set, and his happy marriage and family life.

Q: Tell me about your anthropologist character, Jonathan Broch.

R: He’s an action adventure guy with a can-do attitude who reminds me of Indiana Jones. And he’s really good at problem-solving. It’s a lot of fun to play this kind of character, although I found out it can be dangerous for your health to play an action hero, because I wound up in the hospital twice while filming it. The first time I got bucked off a horse – and I’ve been on horses since I was a kid and never got bucked off, and I did and landed on a pile of rocks on my back. The second time we were shooting a big action sequence and I actually ran into a tree with my head. I didn’t see the tree coming. I never thought they would have strung the cable that close to a tree, but they did and I ended up in the hospital, but I walked away.

Q: For those not familiar with the Jules Verne classic, what’s the premise?

R: “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is about a civilization that lives in the center of the earth. It’s been isolated, like the Garden of Eden cut off from the rest of the world, and down in the center of the earth is a large cavern with streams, and rivers, and lakes, and prehistoric creatures and a civilization of people cut off from the rest of humanity. We discover this world in the center of the earth while trying to find someone who’s lost.

Q: It also stars Peter Fonda; how was it working with him?

R: Peter Fonda plays another scientist in the film – I worked with him when I was 15 years old, so it was nice to reunite with him. He’s all about having fun! We enjoyed being around each other.

Q: So why is the film a good one for the whole family?

R: It’s a cool family film. It’s something definitely for your kids to get involved with because it’s got some cool effects and dinosaurs. It’s got a romance story for the ladies and action adventure for the guys, so there’s something for everybody.

Q: Did you read the book prior to filming?

R: I actually got the job three days before it started filming. They called me up because someone else dropped out (laughs). I showed up, but didn’t really have any time to prepare.

Q: Are you returning to “24” this season?

No one knows what’s happening because of the writers strike. Everything has been shut down, so I don’t have plans to go back, but that could change.

Q: They’re not going to cancel it altogether this season are they?

R: That’s what they’re planning, is to scrap it. No ’08 season. They’re talking about starting in ’09.

Q: Bummer! So if you do come back, are you blind in one eye or both or what?

R: I’m definitely alive, but probably blind in one eye. But it’s really up to the writers, and they haven’t told me yet.

Q: The one thing I’ve heard from actors on the show is that they’re not keen on wearing the same outfit all season.

R: Oh man, I love that! I thought it was awesome.

Q: Was it really intense working on the show?

R: Working with Keifer was so cool. He’s so talented and he makes everything better because he’s such a perfectionist. It was really fun to watch him work and do the gun and car chase scenes, and interrogating the terrorist suspects.

Q: There was a lot of controversy about that.

R: I guess so. I didn’t really think there was anything controversial about it. The issue was that Keifer was beating on the terrorists to get information, and he knew that they had the information and didn’t have time to get it in a more pleasant way.

Q: So it was logical.

R: Well, YEAH! I’m sorry (laughs).

Q: What’s your typical day on the set there?

Everyday is different, but they do work late hours. Sometimes we’d arrive at noon and work until four o’clock in the morning. Especially when they get into the night – the daytime hours, 6am to 7pm are fine for daylight scenes, but after 7pm, everything in the show is night, so it needs to be a true night exterior. Some days we would go to work at 8pm and wouldn’t get off until 6am. But generally, it’s a 12-15-hour days, but the actual time that the camera’s rolling is only a sixth or seventh of the day.

Q: And makeup, do you like it/hate it?

R: I tolerate it. It only takes 15 minutes and then I get in the same outfit, so I can be camera ready in a half an hour.

Q: I heard you were comfortable with firearms. When did you start shooting?

R: The first time I picked up a pellet gun, I was nine. I’ve always enjoyed the shooting sports. I still do it, I take my shotgun out and go shoot sporting clays every once in a while. So I like firearms. I own my riffle, shotguns, and a couple of pistols.

Q: Tell me about “The Andromeda Strain.”

R: It’s a four-hour mini series for A&E coming out in March. I play the soldier scientist, Bill. And Benjamin Bratt and Andre Brower are in it. It’s about a virus that comes to earth and is killing it and me and another scientist get sequestered in a lab and have to find a solution before it eats the planet. We had a really good time making it.

Q: Do you miss New York?

R: Sure, I miss the people and miss the energy of the city, and Central Park. We were there for Thanksgiving this year; we took the kids to the Broadway show, “Young Frankenstein,” which was really funny, and it was the best weather ever!

Q: What’s your secret to a happy marriage, especially in Hollywood?

R: The trick is to marry somebody you think is beautiful and you think is smart, and keep it interesting. You make time for each other, go to dinner, the movies, take little vacations and don’t make it all about your friends or your kids – make it about each other.

Q: And when you do make it all about the kids, what do you do as a family?

R: Vacations, we like to go away for 10 days or two weeks. This Christmas and New Year’s we went to Utah and rented a ski house and this spring we’re going to Costa Rica. There are no phones, no cell phones, and no business.

Q: What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

No plans yet, but I’m sure I’ll go out and beef up the economy with something for her.

Q: Is your wife a jewelry person?

R: She never was. But she decided a couple of years ago, that she was. The first 13 or 14 years of our lives, it was not about jewelry, but now it is. Diamonds. She loves diamonds!

Q: What do you want to do for Valentine’s Day?

R: Just dinner and a little romance. That would probably be my preferred night.

Q: When you have time for yourself, what do you like to do?

R: I like to fish, I go to Alaska every summer. I love to fish for salmon. I’m also a pilot and I like to scuba dive, play tennis, and I have a fishing boat. I’m into all sorts of stuff!