Ted Lasso Season 2: Phil Dunster on Jamie Tartt’s Growth and Jason Sudeikis - VRGyani News and Media

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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Ted Lasso Season 2: Phil Dunster on Jamie Tartt’s Growth and Jason Sudeikis

Based on pre-existing characters from NBC Sports and developed into an Apple TV+ comedy series by Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Joe Kelly, and Brendan Hunt, Season 2 of the highly acclaimed Ted Lasso is building on all of the warm, fuzzy feelings that it gave fans with its first season and is digging even deeper and getting a bit darker. Ted Lasso (Sudeikis) still has all of the optimism and underdog determination that’s worked in his favor when it comes to coaching AFC Richmond, but when he finds himself at a crossroads in his personal life, he chooses to bury his own pain to focus on turning the team’s fortunes around.

During this 1-on-1 virtual interview with Collider, which you can both watch and read, actor Phil Dunster (the former top scorer for AFC Richmond, who’s now back and trying to be a better team player) talked about being a part of a show that promotes kindness and generosity of spirit, the pressure of having the second season live up to expectations from a highly successful first season, when he was filled in on Jamie Tartt’s story arc for Season 2, and which aspect of his character he wishes he possessed.

Collider: I absolutely love this show. I’m one of those people who is not a sports fan, so I was dragged into this show kicking and screaming, and absolutely fell in love with it. It keeps getting better and better and I’m loving Season 2, so thank you for converting me. Did you have a sense of how special the show is, from the very beginning, or did it take you time to realize just how special it is?

PHIL DUNSTER: It’s a good question. I don’t think one ever thinks, when they make a show, that it will capture the hearts and minds in a way that this seems to have done. Anything that Jason Sudeikis is at the helm of feels like it’s gonna be a bit special, and it was really exciting to be doing this with Apple. It was funny. We enjoyed it. I’ve done a lot of theater in my time, and in rehearsals, you’re like, “Well, we find it funny,” but until you get it in front of an audience, it’s really hard to know. We knew it was a show that promoted kindness and generosity of spirit, but it’s hard to know if it’s really gonna capture the imagination. It seems to have done so, in a small way.

RELATED: 'Ted Lasso': Brett Goldstein & Juno Temple on the Magic of Their Characters' Relationship and Roy's Swearing

This show was great from the first episode, but it still managed to get better and better throughout the season. Because of that, how nervous were you about Season 2? Did you ever wonder if the first season was just some fluke, and then it would be all downhill from there and Season 2 would suck? When you got the first script back, did you breathe a sigh of relief?

DUNSTER: Yeah. The other side of the coin of having all of the lovely things that people say about it is the pressure of making it good because you’re responsible for those people now. It’s a wonderful responsibility to have, but it’s that difficult second album where you’re like, “We’ve gotta get this right, guys.” And yes, it was exactly as you said. I read the script and was like, “They’ve got it. They’ve done it.” Somehow they’ve managed to harness all of those wonderful things that we thought about the characters from the first season, and they have continued that through the second season and they’ve added to it in really beautiful and clever ways. They’ve added new characters that you’re gonna absolutely love. It’s a real joy to have been a part of, knowing that I think that they really smashed it.

With the way that the first season ended, especially for your character, did they tell you then what their ideas were for him for Season 2, or did you have to wait to find out what his journey would be?

DUNSTER: In terms of the specifics of it, I don’t know if I really knew exactly what was gonna be happening. Certainly, it wasn’t until much closer to when we started Season 2 that I knew that Jamie was gonna be appearing in the way that Jamie appears at the start of Season 2, which was a lot of fun. One of the incredible things about doing a show like this is that Jason Sudeikis has it all mapped out in his head. I imagine it’s a bit like the tattoos in Prison Break. If you cut Jason open, it’s probably like that, but with the story of Ted Lasso. So, I think he also knew and he would allude to it. Jason would do this incredible thing, where he’d sit down with every member of cast, when it came to a scene, and walk you through where the character has been and where the character is going, so that you have a really good idea of what they’re doing in the scene. So, there were certain elements that I was aware of, but he likes to tease us a little bit, to leave us wanting more.

Since Jamie is not someone who’s known to be very aware of other people’s feelings or really even in touch with his own feelings. What’s it like to get to play him a little bit more self-aware this season and a little bit more knowledgeable of how he’s affecting other people?

DUNSTER: Thank God he’s listening to other people now. He’s learning what empathy maybe might mean. In a way, it’s more challenging because it just means that there’s more light and shade to him now, whereas before it was pretty straightforward. He had his demons that sat on his shoulder, but it was more clear cut when he was a bit more of an antagonist in the show. He was an out-and-out selfish, arrogant young man, but now he’s a selfish, arrogant young man in recovery. It’s a real treat to play that because it’s a lot more complicated than just someone who is mean. As an actor, that’s what you want. You want those challenging roles, where you’ve gonna try to portray that, but also be funny because it’s a comedy. There’s a lot to get your teeth into.

We also get introduced the season to Led Tasso. How does Jamie feel about that happening compared to Ted Lasso? Does he just think he’s crazy?

DUNSTER: Phil, speaking in third person and pointing to myself, thought that Led Tasso was a lot of fun. It was this alter-ego and Jason was clearly having a lot of fun doing it. But Jamie is aware that he’s up to something. It’s a time when Jamie is trying to ingratiate himself with the rest of the team. He feels like maybe what Led Tasso is doing is not so conducive to him and to a good team mentality. Maybe Jamie doesn’t feel like this is right, from what he’s learned about good teamwork over the last season. Maybe he’s gonna say something to put that. Jamie is a bit perplexed by this Led Tasso fella.

What aspect of your character would you say is most like you, what aspect is least like you, and is there an aspect of him that you wish you had yourself?

DUNSTER: The element that is most like me is probably is probably the inability to dress with class and style. That’s probably how we are most similar. The thing that’s least like me is probably Jamie’s absolute assertiveness and conviction in what he believes. He’s pretty congruent with what he thinks and what he says. And the thing that I most wish that I had are his skills on the ball. I play a lot of football, but let me tell ya, I am nowhere near as good as Jamie Tartt. I wish that I could play football like he does.

What have you enjoyed about the real dynamic that Jamie has developed with Keeley, as opposed to just the superficial one they used to have? Has it been fun to explore a new side of that relationship?

DUNSTER: Yeah, absolutely. He’s trying to live wholeheartedly. He’s trying to get into the arena and he’s trying to be better. He’s trying to work harder at himself. I think that Keeley is somebody who’s really trying to draw that out of him and who respects him for dealing with how he feels. We see a different side of Jamie when he’s talking to Keeley, a softer more vulnerable side. That’s a really important thing, for us to see this guy who, to begin with, is a masculine idea of an alpha who pushes other people down rather than pulls them up. Being vulnerable and saying, “I’m sorry,” and trying to be better is a really wonderful thing to see in somebody who maybe wasn’t like that before.

Ted Lasso is available to stream at Apple TV+.



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