Sweet Magnolias Writer Franki B and Actor Michael Shenefelt Torn Between Team Erik & Team Ryan!

Sweet Magnolias Writer Franki B and Actor Michael Shenefelt share their favorite moments from the show, what they loved about episode 4 and Ryan’s character, and Michael sends love to co-star Heather Headley and director Kelli Williams.

Bryant Santos

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: May 20th, 2020 12:00pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

ABTV Loves Sweet Magnolias: Franki B & Michael Shenefelt

We’ve made it to episode 4 of Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias and we’re sure you want to know all about the hunky Southern gentleman Ryan, who tornadoes his way into The Corner Spa and Helen Decatur’s heart. 

Now, we’ve got you covered with just that as we were joined by not only the sweet actor Michael Shenefelt who plays Ryan, but also by the prolific writer Francesca Butler, aka Franki B, who was responsible for creating this character.

We begin this episode with Ryan storming into The Corner Spa and we were curious as to how that sequence came about. Ryan said that we can “blame the tornado on Franki”, as she was the lead writer responsible for bringing this character to life, since Ryan is not a character in the Sweet Magnolias books by Sheryl Woods’.

While Ryan storms into The Corner Spa, actor Michael also entered the Sweet Magnolias world in a whirlwind as he shared that she shot many of Ryan’s intense scenes on his first day of shooting!

Ryan was also quick to share his love for scene partner Heather Headley and the director of episode 4, Kelli Williams.

“If you’re not a Heather Headley fan, I don’t have time for you. It was just a lot of trust in each other. And then also, Kelli Williams was the director for that episode; and the energy that she brought to the set was unparalleled. I felt so safe, so protected, everyone wanted Michael the actor to succeed, which is all in service to Franki’s character.”

Michael even shared a story from the audition room and his first time working with Heather.

“I remember the first day walking into the audition, I did one take with one side. After I was done, a couple people behind the table were like that was really good. And I said, well, when you’re with Heather Headley, most of the work is done for you. A sign of a great actor is that they make their scene partners shine.”

Michael also showed love to the writers of the show when he discussed each of their important contributions to his character and the show as a whole.

“Franki’s involved in like, bringing, you know, crazy scenarios and whatnot, whereas Sheryl Anderson is like we’re going to put this beautiful, wholesome bow on all these scenarios.”

Speaking of Franki, she also gave us a look into the writer’s room and discussed her mindset and process when creating the character of Ryan.

“Creating Ryan was so much because it was kind of, how do you create the perfect first love that’s still stuck in your head like 14 years later, and so you know, we put a lot on Michael’s shoulders and he most definitely delivered.”

Franki also elaborated on how the character of Ryan speaks to the feeling of having history with a past love, and the character is someone who makes you second guess if you’re Team Erik or Team Ryan.

One major aspect of Ryan’s character that comes through in this episode is his history with the town and how he has fond childhood memories in Serenity. Michael explained how important that was for him to portray that in Ryan.

“That sense of ‘little boy’ I thought was important to this character because he has become a big deal in his field and he’s travelling internationally, going to Africa, working on agricultural projects and clean water projects. And, he’s a brilliant mind and a humanitarian, but there’s nothing quite like coming home and then you have those old roles you used to fill.”

Since Ryan is not a character that exists in the book series of Sweet Magnolias, Franki also offered insight into her favorite parts of working on the show and what went into the creative process in the writer’s room.

“Having read Ms. Woods’ books and knowing that we could, like, jump into that universe, and kind of play with it and do something for the fans of the books that already existed and also make it our own was so much fun.”

To bring the character of Ryan to life and to work on this show was such a pleasure for Franki and she mentioned that Ryan’s last monologue of episode 4 with Helen was one of her favorite things to write for this episode.

“The sentiment of that is like, I’m still in love with you, I never stopped loving you. I just need to know that you and I are on the same page about that…really getting into Ryan’s head, I wanted us to feel what he was feeling and to see what he was seeing.”

Michael as an actor felt all of that love that Ryan was feeling and Michael shared what he would love fans to take away about his character and the show.

“I think that as much as we have probably all tried in our own lives, you don’t fall in love with someone because of their resume or because of what’s on paper. You fall in love with their heart.”

We here at AfterBuzz absolutely fell in love with the hearts and minds of Michael and Franki and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Ryan! If you want to see what’s next for Franki, follow her on Twitter @FrankiTheB and if you want to catch up with Michael, you’ll have to check out Sweet Magnolias and our AfterShow as he is not on any social platforms.

If you loved this article as much as we love Franki and Michael, share it with a friend! And continue to check back with AfterBuzz TV for all your Sweet Magnolias coverage and for all the best in entertainment news.

About The Author:

Bryant Santos is a Social Media Manager and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for fashion and television. As a host for AfterBuzz TV, Bryant loves to bring you all the juiciest news and gossip about your favorite TV shows and celebs. Bryant brings his bubbly personality, quick wit, and an insightful LGBT perspective to many AfterShows including wrestling, teen dramas, sci-fi/fantasy, and more!

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

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