“We were breaking the season and there was this role that seemed like it would be perfect for Deacon,” show cocreator Mindy Kaling told Variety on Friday, August 12, noting that Witherspoon, 46, had previously informed her that Deacon, 18, wanted to get into acting. “He’s obviously so talented and he’s great-looking, and we just thought he would be great and he was excited to come and do it.”
The high school graduate appears in two episodes of the Netflix comedy as Parker, who is a prep school classmate of new character Des (Anirudh Pisharody). The 9-1-1 alum, for his part, plays a new love interest for leading lady Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) in season 3, which dropped on Friday. Amid Devi and Des’ burgeoning connection, the pair butt heads as debate team rivals. Deacon’s Parker is also an integral member of the debate squad.
“He’s just such a well-raised kid. He’s so talented, he’s so funny and fit in perfectly with the cast. The cast and the crew loved him and it was special to have him,” the Mindy Project alum, 43, told the outlet during the red carpet premiere of the new season. “He’s such a humble kid and he just wants to learn. And he’s been raised by two very successful actors. He’s not wary or anything. He just came in with this open mind and was excited.”
The Legally Blonde actress and the Big Sky alum, 47, wed in 1998 before welcoming daughter Ava, now 22, and son Deacon. The twosome eventually went their separate ways in 2008 but have remained amicable coparents.
“Ryan has been an awesome parent and everything pretty much stops for him when his kids need him,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly in December 2021, noting that coparenting has “never been better” between the two stars. “Even during the pandemic when he’s been in literally another country, he’s present in their lives and he is still the ‘cool parent’ in their eyes. He is really proud of who they’ve become.”
Deacon, in addition to pursuing acting on NHIE, has also shown an interest in music — which Witherspoon and Ryan have been equally excited by.
“I am so proud. He’s about to go to college for music [too],” the I Know What You Did Last Summer actor gushed to Entertainment Tonight earlier this month. “That’s his primary focus. The acting thing he likes to do, and he will do according to what his appetite for it is, but his focus is primarily music. … I’m super proud.”
The Big Little Lies alum has been equally impressed by her eldest son’s accomplishments and even couldn’t stop watching NHIE season 3.
“I’m bingeing Never Have I Ever,” Witherspoon — who also shares son Tennessee, 9, with husband Jim Toth — said in a Friday Instagram Story video. “It’s so good [and] it’s really funny. … OK, [Devi] is with this other guy now and, oh my God, he’s so cute [and] they’re fully making out! I gotta go [watch] the next episode [now].”
Kaling was ecstatic to see her pal, and frequent collaborator, enjoying the new episodes. “OMFG the queen,” she captioned Witherspoon’s footage, resharing it onto her Story. “Elle Woods watches @neverhaveiever, I could die.”