‘Ozark’: Jonah Actor Skylar Gaertner Reveals How He and Character are Similar

by Megan Molseed

Jonah Byrde may be facing some big-time issues at home in the hit Netflix series Ozark. With his parents slowly falling deeper and deeper into the crime syndicate and mobsters that have taken over their area, Jonah’s life has certainly been less than average as the series progresses.

But, do the actor who portrays Jonah Byrde, Skylar Gaertner, have anything in common with his on-screen character?

Surprisingly, Gaertner says in a recent interview, he and Jonah actually have quite a bit in common.

At least, the actor says, when it comes to their general outlooks.

According to Gaertner, his and Jonah’s approach to the world are generally very similar. Despite the fact that Gaertner and his character have taken very, very different paths.

“I’d say that we come from relatively similar dispositions,” the Ozark actor says of himself and Jonah Byrde.

“We are both optimistic, curious, ambitious and we both value family,” Gaertner adds. The actor also notes that the differences the two do have are likely due to the circumstances Johah has been thrown into during the series’s run.

“It seems that our differences have formed primarily through the specific context that builds throughout the show,” the actor explains of his Ozark counterpart.

“Jonah deals with an abundance of terrible things that I’ve never had to experience,” Gaertner adds. “Circumstances are constantly changing him and threatening to tear down his relative innocence and optimism.”

‘Ozarks’ Brings Some Scary Changes In the Byrde Household

Since Ozark premiered in 2017 the Byrde family has seen many, many changes. It can even be easy to forget that Jonah Byrde started out the series living a fairly average life.

When Jonah’s father, Marty, who is portrayed by Jason Bateman moved his family to the Ozarks, no one really knew what it was they were about to walk into.

“In a very short amount of time, he was pressured to become more brave, clever, self-reliant, and desensitized. However, even with those changes, he has hung on to most of his core attributes,” the actor adds. “I guess we’ll just have to see how he handles things going into the fourth season.”

Once the Byrde family made their move to the Ozarks, everything started to unravel. Jonah’s father has been falling deeper and deeper into the crime syndicate. Now, Jonah’s mother, Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) is joining her husband. She seems to love the idea of the power and fortune that comes from stepping into that kind of life.

Jason Bateman Is Drawn to the Danger

Last year, Jason Bateman who also serves as Ozark’s showrunner spoke about the series and what drew him to the story from the start.

“I had high, high hopes,” Jason Bateman says of the series. “Those first two scripts that I read, there was a lot of mood, a lot of danger, a lot of crisis, a lot of things that I was really curious to see if I could deliver to the audience as a director.”

Bateman adds that the ever-growing storylines as the Byrdes find themselves falling deeper and deeper into the danger is something he loves about the series.

“I’m really, really interested in going further as a director and challenging myself with all that responsibility,” the actor says.