‘Ted Lasso’ Season 3 Cast on Living Life the Lasso Way

Mar 20, 2023

From co-creators Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly and Bill Lawrence, the beloved fan favorite Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso is back for its third season with AFC Richmond trying to find their rhythm again, as Rupert (Anthony Head) takes full advantage of the fact that “wonder kid” Nate (Nick Mohammed) is now on the side of rivals West Ham United. Although Ted (Sudeikis) would prefer to take the high road in his coaching, pressure to win coupled with some domestic issues back in America threaten the very delicate hold he has on his own anxiety.

During this press conference to promote the new season, co-stars Sudeikis, Hunt (who plays Coach Beard), Brett Goldstein (who plays Roy Kent), Hannah Waddingham (who plays Rebecca Welton) and Mohammed talked about being a part of a story that has such an emotional impact on viewers, preparing for Season 3, Nate’s heel turn, the pressure Roy Kent is feeling, Rebecca’s journey, being on a male-dominated show that’s so female friendly, the heartfelt theme of “believe,” why the show has always been about more than sports, and the biggest lessons they’ve learned.
Question: How does it feel to be a part of a story that has such an emotional impact for everybody, especially when it premiered during the pandemic?

JASON SUDEIKIS: I would have preferred that people could have gone on date nights, and kids could have gone to school and played with their friends. But if we help folks through that weird, odd, in some cases still ongoing, time then we’re very, very happy to have obliged. I know it helped all of us, in many ways. Even shooting Season 2, the fact that we got to be face-to-face with each other, in between action and cut, actually felt like we were back in normal times, and that was thrilling and healing, just in the endeavor of making the thing. So, the fact that people have found it during that time and it helped them, I would say we’re, I don’t know if proud is the right word, but we’re certainly right there with you.

HANNAH WADDINGHAM: But also, you can’t beat the feeling, when people come up to you and say how much we got their families through one of the most difficult times in everyone’s lives. You can’t help but feel privileged about that. It doesn’t matter how many people stop you, they always say thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever been on something where people are like that.

SUDEIKIS: I’m not used to it. I would encourage anybody that feels the need to say, “You probably hear this all the time,” you don’t have to say that anymore. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. It’s still very warming and flattering, and we’re right there with you.

Image via Apple TV+

Jason, being aware of the great success of the last two seasons, how did you prepare for Season 3? Did you feel a bigger weight and responsibility?

SUDEIKIS: Yes, but only to ourselves. That’s how I viewed it. The first one is made in the bubble of it not existing and being this invisible thing. And then, by the time we were shooting the second season, we had already written it without knowing the reception of the first season and knowing where certain elements of it were gonna go. So, with this season, yes, to a certain degree, but it’s really just about keeping the bar at the level we’ve had it for ourselves, for the first two years, and just trying to clear that, by the skin of our buns. That was the only pressure. It was more from internal, or within the nuclear Ted Lasso family.

How would you describe the tone of the show this season?

BRETT GOLDSTEIN: It’s a similar tone. It’s very funny in places, very serious in places, and very sad in places.

BRENDAN HUNT: There are people that love each other. There are people that apologize. There are people that kick a ball around. Everything we did before is back, but in different shapes.

Nick, up until now, Ted Lasso’s main adversaries where his own shortcomings. Now, the series has a real antagonist with Nate, who’s a sweet guy that’s really uncomfortable playing the villain. How are you approaching this new phase of your character?

NICK MOHAMMED: With trepidation, really. To be honest, because I was over at West Ham, at the start of this season, without getting too pretentious about it, a lot of the time, I didn’t have scenes with any of the wonderful people who have become my family, over the last few years, so I tried to channel some of that loneliness into Nate’s performance, to a degree. As much as he’s done what he’s done, there has to be an element of regret. I approached it with him not being too headstrong about what he’d done and trying to play each scene with something in the back of my mind that was maybe not the right thing. Certainly, the earlier episodes were just him not really knowing whether he’d made the right decision or not, and I tried to play it both ways.

Image via Apple TV+

Brett, Roy Kent seems to be taking the place of Nick, since he went to West Ham. Does he feel more pressure to fill that voice?

GOLDSTEIN: Yeah, he absolutely does. I always think the tragic thing about Roy and Nate is that Roy always loved Nate and didn’t notice anything. He didn’t notice that Nate was jealous of Roy, or was always usurped by him. If you watch Season 2, I was always putting my hand on him. Roy loves him. And then, this has happened and it was like, “Oh, shit, I’ve gotta read fucking scouting reports.”

MOHAMMED: From episode five onwards, in Season 2, I kept on trying to flinch every time Roy put his arm around Nate, trying to show Roy that he wasn’t happy with things.

Hannah, Rebecca’s arc in Season 2 was about her own personal growth and understanding, and we got to see her really shine. What was your favorite part of exploring her further in Season 3?

WADDINGHAM: I was very keen and very passionate about Rebecca, the owner of AFC Richmond, fighting for her boys and being there because she really, really wants to be, for the first time, ever. They really gave me that, in spades. I was able to lean into being the figurehead of it. Honestly, when you see how Season 3 unfolds, I couldn’t have asked for any more. I wouldn’t tell them to their faces, that they gave me everything I wanted, but they have. In Season 2, she was head down and introverted a bit. We see feisty Welton coming out a little bit this season, which I love. It’s really satisfying.

Nate made quite a heel turn in Season 2, but this is a show about complex people who essentially love one another. Do you believe that anyone and everyone can be redeemed and that their humanity can be used to pull them out of the darkness, or is a dick sometimes just a dick?

GOLDSTEIN: If you ask people the right questions, they’ll always make you cry, eventually. You just have to keep asking, until you find the thing. I’m not sure about sociopaths. If you keep asking, they probably keep saying, “I’m great.” I like to believe people are good. I’ve seen maybe a couple of people who are maybe not, and I always wonder what their narrative is at night. Do they go to bed going, “What a great day I had! I’m great!”

MOHAMMED: I think it also says as much about our capacity for forgiveness, as it does on the individual making the right or wrong decisions. Someone having a redemptive story is as much about someone allowing them to have that redemption and to accept it. The onus isn’t always on the individual.

Image via Apple TV+

Jason, how is Ted able to move on, after being betrayed by Nate the Great?

SUDEIKIS: We shall see. You’ll have to tune in. Ted does say, at the end of Season 2, that what Nate did, in regard to leaking the story of Ted’s panic attack, was relieve the burden of holding that secret for Ted. While it can seem, to the outside eye, as someone that would have had to hold that secret – and a lot of people do that when they have all sorts of issues, much less anxiety, that they don’t want to tell people – and it becomes a dirty little secret, which is a burden to carry. Nate, in many ways, helped relieve that burden. So, what looks like a betrayal on the outside, the person having been betrayed may not feel the same. It was a very artful betrayal by Nate the Great.

MOHAMMED: It’s so difficult because I can’t give anything away. I didn’t write the show, so they’ll have to tell me if I’m wrong, but I felt like Nate didn’t leak that information about Ted because he wanted to relieve the burden for him. That’s such an incredible quality for Ted to believe that Nate did something good by revealing that. That’s why the show is so optimistic. There’s always hope at the bottom of a lot of these actions, even if they’re perceived as wrong. Ted has this incredible capacity to see the good in it.

Jason and Brendan, you originally conceived of Ted Lasso to be a three-season arc. How much of what we’ll be seeing this season evolved from what you envisioned, when you first started thinking about the show?

SUDEIKIS: A ton of it is. It’s an evolution of the writers that we hired, like Brett and at least a dozen more. And then, when you cast it, you bring again people’s essences and talents. That alchemy shifts everything, in a lot of ways.

HUNT: We’ve always pictured a garden, and we got some flowers in there, but the flowers reacted in different ways, and we were like, “Ooh, hold on, let’s get more of those flowers. And some other flowers that will complement those flowers.” We don’t wanna be too prescriptive of the things that we’ve always pictured. We’ve definitely gone with the flow of what people have brought to it, and been open to the new directions that we can always go. This will be the summation of all those elements.

The first season really contrasts the British way of life with the American way of life. At this point, is it fair to say that the show i more about the way different cultures and personalities can join together?

WADDINGHAM: I feel like it’s always been like that. It just evolves over time. There was the basic concept and the script, and then everyone comes in and that which we impart gets added to it. Season 3 is just an augmented version and vibe of Season 1.

SUDEIKIS: If Season 1 was about how the people within there all banged up against each other, then Season 2 was probably about how they banged up within themselves. And Season 3 is how AFC Richmond bangs up against the world itself. That would be the broad strokes . . . When you have the privilege and opportunity to get to travel and meet as many people as you can, and you get to have conversations with people, you learn that the things that make us laugh and cry are a lot more similar than we’re sometimes given the opportunity to realize. This show is playing on that realization, for sure, probably more unconsciously than I realized. Trying to make sense of this last couple of years, that’s something that I’ve found.

Image via Apple TV+

Hannah, what’s it been like working on a show that, although male-dominated, is so female friendly in its approach?

WADDINGHAM: One of the main things for me have been working with a writers’ room that is so staunchly feminist and you feel it all the time. That has been so refreshing, and it’s made me realize how much, in other things, I’ve constantly been fighting for the woman’s voice to be heard. Whether it be my age group, in my mid-forties, or Juno [Temple]’s age group, as Keeley in her thirties, we are both fed beautifully. And for that matter, Rebecca’s mother in it. You are lovingly nurtured in whatever demographic you’re in, and that is a very unusual thing. I’ve not found women to be so beautifully looked after within a script before now. And of course, with myself and Juno Temple, we were just allowed the room to play and really carve out these two women, as people that we want everyone to be encouraged to be like, who look out for each other, but also very much call each other out. You just don’t see that very often. You’ll see broad strokes of relationships with women, but you don’t get to see that detail. For us to have been given that gift, Juno and I have taken it very seriously and we guard it carefully. She and I often would have a look at the scene and really pick it apart together, and then go and talk to the guys. It’s very nice that they trusted us to put our stamp on it. It’s a very much meeting of their world and ours together, to create that gorgeous Keeley-Rebecca vibe. And it’s certainly nurtured our own lives, as well.

Nick, actors talk about how playing the villain can be more fun than playing a good guy. Have you found that to be the case?

MOHAMMED: It’s certainly more challenging, I think. If I had any comfort area, in terms of previous acting experience, it was doing quite awkward, fun comedy, and there was a lot of that for Nate in Season 1. And then, gradually, throughout Season 2, that was replaced by darker moments and more emotional moments, and I hadn’t done any of that on screen before. It was really intriguing and exciting to be doing something different, but undoubtedly a challenge because it was something that I’d never done before. Fortunately, I had such great support, with our amazing team. The writing was phenomenal, and we also had a great team of directors, and Jason and Brendan were on set to help with all of that, as well.

Hannah, will we see more of Rebecca and Sam?

WADDINGHAM: I can’t tell you that! Toheeb [Jimoh] and I really treated Sam and Rebecca as a very precious jewel, and the way it was written was so beautiful, with them finding each other on a molecular level, rather than what everybody would think. Obviously, I can’t tell you anything about what happens there, other than that it was all very joyful and precious and fun. When you have a connection with someone, I love how it’s written that that never changes, even if it’s a glance. I think it’s something that we will both take away as one of the key moments for both of us. It was a really beautifully written storyline.

Image via Apple TV+

Jason, did you ever think the theme of “believe” would be so popular and heartfelt around the world?

SUDEIKIS: Religion is big, so we didn’t coin the term “believe.” I know people have an instinctive desire to want to believe, whether it be in ghosts and love and magic, and the inverse and opposites of those lovely things too. No, there’s no way to anticipate the way people have responded to the show, or specifically to that sign and that word. It was just a thing I saw in my head and typed into our first draft of the pilot, and it’s something else. I think we all are shocked and flattered. And yet, at the same time, I have to relinquish any control of it because it’s just a powerful word on its own. It always has been and always will be. We’re just borrowing it for a little bit.

Sport could have been the only focus of this show. How do you manage to keep the show a balance of life, love, heartbreak, and sports?

HUNT: I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we live in a country where futbol is not super popular. It’s coming along. It’s making great strides. Very early on in the writing process, Bill Lawrence, our esteemed showrunner, said quite loudly and pretty much looking directly into my eyes, as the soccer fan in the room, “It’s not a show about soccer. It’s a workplace comedy.” That has been good advice, the whole way. If it was to have just been about the sport of it, it would have been rather a shallow show. It always had to be about the people and the relationships, but handily it’s in the world of sport, which can be a shortcut to high stakes and big emotions. That’s only there to feed the other stuff, which has always been more essential.

Jason, what has been the most surprising aspect of this journey with the character of Ted Lasso?

SUDEIKIS: The fact that we were allowed to tell this story. Certain elements of the journey were pre-planned, but you never know how something’s gonna go. Season 1 could have bit the dust, and then we never would have gotten to finish it out. That’s on the practical side. And then, on the other side of it, you can only hold so much in your head, so once you have the opportunity to bring other people into it, like Joe [Kelly] and Brendan and I had the chance to, then you get the lovely agitation of other people’s ideas and the way people view the material. And then, you get to cast folks in it and the invisible becomes visible, and they start to feel ownership over it, and you just drink up how they are, what you love seeing them do, what you’re excited about, and encouraging them to do all those things. The fact that it has harmonized so well within the endeavor of production has been a wonderful surprise, but one that I’d like to think we were manifesting and hoping for. Getting into the ensemble arts, or playing on a team, or perhaps going to an orgy – I don’t know, you’d have to ask some French people – you hope it goes well and you hope everybody gets off. The fact that everybody feels like they have, on the show, and then the fact that people really enjoy watching it, that’s just icing on the cake, to extend the metaphor.

Image via Apple TV+

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from doing this show?

WADDINGHAM: Even if I was choosing to live my life in that way anyway, to treat others the way you would wish to be treated, and to go find someone who’s closed off, it definitely has made me lean into that more with people, in general. I don’t mean to sound cheesy from within it, but trying to live the Lasso way has very much been, a part of my life since I was in this gaggle of people.

SUDEIKIS: Doing something that you give a damn about, with people that you give a damn about, every single day, if you can find a way to do that, even if it’s for a couple hours, or 20 minutes a day, your life is richly rewarded. We just busted our butts, every single day, day and night, depending on whenever we were shooting. It hammered that home, big time, for me.

GOLDSTEIN: Brendan always makes fun of me because I’ve said, “This show is done by magic,” and he’s like, “We work very hard.” But it’s made me think there is magic. With this group of people, everyone’s very good, everyone’s very helpful, everyone’s lovely, and everyone puts out this energy of being very excited and very grateful, and of being very loving of each other. That may be why people like the show. Not to take away from everyone’s hard work, but let’s all agree, it’s magic.

SUDEIKIS: It’s infectious too. It’s on set, it’s off camera, and it happens in every single department. As one of the bosses of the show, I get to see it. I get to watch it. It can feel overwhelming, to a certain degree, but we wanted to allow for that space. I don’t know if that will work throughout the rest of any of our creative lives, but it sure is nice when it does happen.

Ted Lasso is available to stream at Apple TV+.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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