If Josh Henderson had had it his way, he might never have ended up in Hollywood.
Born in Dallas, Henderson moved back and forth between Big D and Tulsa, Okla., with his mother and stepfather throughout elementary and middle school. Upon graduating from Memorial High School in Oklahoma, his plan was to play baseball at the University of Texas in Austin, and maybe even go pro.
But sports weren't Henderson's only talents. He could also sing, play guitar and piano, and break-dance. These skills helped him rise above thousands of competitors on Popstars, an early-aughts reality television show that aimed to build a band of several talented youngsters.
Henderson was one of the winners on Season 2 -- and that's when agents started calling.
"I went back to LA and met all these agents, and within three weeks I got my first movie, my first TV show. It happened so fast for me," Henderson, now 36, says. "That was in 2002, and since then I haven't stopped working."
He's played several iconic roles since, not the least of which was as John Ross Ewing, son of J.R. Ewing, on the reboot of Dallas. In his latest starring role on The Arrangement, Henderson plays Kyle West, an action film star and member of the fictional Institute of the Higher Mind, which is loosely based on the Church of Scientology. The new season premieres on March 11.
We caught up with Henderson on his birthday last November to dish on the challenges of portraying an actor on-screen and his must-hit restaurants when he comes through Dallas, which may surprise you.
GuideLive: Why did you want to take on a project like The Arrangement?
Josh Henderson: How many police shows are out there? How many medical shows? How many lawyer shows, legal shows, whatever? There's never been a show done about contract marriage in Hollywood, ever.
I'm never supposed to use the word "Scientology" because we're not about Scientology, but it's very Scientology feeling, you know? The Institute of the Higher Mind is a very interesting character of our show and it's just never been done. And it's always very intriguing to have an actor play an actor. It's really weird.
How do you mentally prepare for a role like that?
I'm creating a character that's also an actor. He's Kyle West in everyday life, but then he'll be the other character within the movie that's he's shooting in the TV show. So you'll hear "cut," but it's not for the TV show -- it's for the movie. And we're still doing the scene within the TV show. It's very strange, but it's fun.
I'm able to add so many layers to a character that deals with things I understand. A lot of times when I go out, I get recognized, and I love meeting people who know me. I take pictures with everyone, I'll never say no. So I understand the trials and tribulations of being an actor and how tough it is. To take that into a character who's torn -- he's got a lot of baggage and he can be very dark, but he's also a very good person -- there's a lot going on there. He's not an easy character to play.
As John Ross on Dallas, I'm just going in thinking, "J.R. Ewing, I'm the spawn of him." I know what to do. And this is a little tougher.
Speaking of Dallas: What did it mean to you to be on the show's reboot, since you're from Dallas?
Incredible. I mean, the whole time I was always like, "Is this really happening?" I was too young to know the original Dallas, but my mimaw -- that's Texas for grandmother -- my mimaw was obsessed with the original Dallas. My mother grew up watching the original Dallas. And I'll never forget I was actually here shooting the pilot in 2011, I was at the Ritz-Carlton and I looked out and I was like, "Man, I am playing J.R. Ewing's son on Dallas, pretty much one of the biggest TV shows in history." It was such a crazy, beautiful, surreal moment.
I just love this town, I love this state so much. To be able to come back and be the lead of the show that put the state on the map was really cool for me.
You live in Los Angeles, but obviously spent a lot of time here during the filming of that show. Where do you have to eat when you come back to Big D?
My favorite restaurant in town is Javier's. It's Mexico City-style cuisine. It's so good! The atmosphere is so great. They've got a cigar kind of lounge, tequila lounge in the back, and it's not your Tex-Mex-style food. There' s a thing called the cantinflas, which is a filet stuffed with cheese. It's my favorite thing in the world.
The other one -- you might disagree with me about it, but I'm obsessed with it, I have dreams about it and I can't get it anywhere but here and Oklahoma. That's Taco Bueno. I love it.
That's surprising! What do you normally order?
I get MexiDips & Chips, three crisp tacos, a Dr Pepper, and two party burritos.
What about bars, any favorites?
You know, Sunday Funday is so crazy here. It's a thing. I've been all over the world, I live in LA and Canada, no one does it like they do here. I love the Katy Trail Ice House. It's a fun outdoor environment, you hang out, play bags. It's a good energy.
Season 2 of 'The Arrangement' premieres Sunday, March 11 on E! Network. Grab a couple of Taco Bueno party burritos and tune in at 8 p.m.