Taylor Kitsch on Friday Night Lights
Tuesday, 07 October 2008
By Christina Radish
Hailed as one of the Top 10 shows of 2006 by Time Magazine and Entertainment Weekly, the critically acclaimed NBC drama Friday Night Lights has returned for a third season, first airing solely on Direct TV. An industry first, as part of a deal to finance the critically adored but seriously under-watched series, the 101 Network will air all 13 new episodes before their premiere on NBC in early 2009.
Expanding on the hit feature film and best-selling book, the series centers on the small rural town of Dillon, Texas, where the Dillon Panthers have faced many challenges with Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) at the helm. Picking up eight months after last season left off, Lyla (Minka Kelly) has ditched her Christian boyfriend (Matt Czuchry) and is back in the arms of bad-boy Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch). Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch spoke to MediaBlvd Magazine about how excited he is to be back for another season, and what fans can expect from Riggs.
MediaBlvd Magazine> Are you excited about getting to come back for another season?
Taylor Kitsch> I am, to say the least. I’ve learned a lot. I’m just excited to play Riggs. Playing him is so much fun. The freedom we have on this show is nothing like anything I’ve ever done. To get back into the shoes of Riggs is great.
MediaBlvd> Does this new deal for Friday Night Lights even enter your head, or do you just focus on the season?
Taylor> From the get go, we’ve always been on the ropes. Chands (Kyle Chandler) is a huge influence, seeing how he acts and reacts to all of it. It’s going to be the same thing this time around, and it’s going to be that much better ‘cause we’ve all grown as actors and as people. We’re excited to chip away and see what we get.
MediaBlvd> What is it like when you get a script and you see some of the interactions you’ll have? Are you always surprised?
Taylor> I don’t know if I’m surprised. From Season 2, I learned that I have to trust the writers and where they’re taking the character because they have the whole arc and I don’t. I don’t like to know too far ahead, so I can just play the scene. It’s exciting to get the scripts. I would love to work with Kyle more, but everyone in the cast would say that. I’m excited just to get another season.
MediaBlvd> What do you think about Riggs and Lyla being a couple?
Taylor> Riggs has been with Lyla for a good majority of the series. He was going through so much, he reached back into his past for answers, and Lyla helped Riggs shine some light on other things. I’m interested to see how it’s going to play out. I have no idea. I’m excited for it. I’m excited to work with Minka again. It’s fun to work with every one of my castmates. I’m excited just to see what they have for me.
MediaBlvd> Are you rooting for them to be together?
Taylor> I don’t know if I root for anything. I try not to have these pre-disposed ideas of what I want for the character. Trusting the writers is everything. You can put me with anyone, and I’m still going to have a lot of fun
MediaBlvd> Is Riggs still in school and on the team?
Taylor> From what I heard, yeah. I’m pretty sure he’s on the team. I think it is his last year.
MediaBlvd> Riggins had some tough times in Season 2. Was that challenging to play?
Taylor> I’m drawn to that part of Riggs. I love getting into it. I love the challenges they give me, with the writing. I hope I get even deeper into that, this year. There were parts last year, in Mexico, where it was heavy, but there were also some comedic, dry moments, which I love to play. Hopefully, I’ll get to do both. It’s really fun.
MediaBlvd> When you’re filming in Texas, do you have people tell you that they know someone like this guy?
Taylor> Oh, yeah, absolutely. And, I understand it because I used to have that correlation, that the actor is the person. If I do go out and listen to some live music, or anything like that, they think I am like Riggs, and that I want to get absolutely hammered or pick up some gals. But, everyone is super-gracious and excited. There is nothing but great people there in Austin, in my experience there.
MediaBlvd> Did you get a chance to do anything else during your break since last season?
Taylor> Yeah, I went to Australia and did Wolverine. It’s kind of like X-Men 4. It’s the story of Wolverine and his origin.
MediaBlvd> Who did you play in that?
Taylor> I played a character called Gambit. He’s just another comic book character that has kinetic energy. It’s a fun role. You’ll have fun watching it.
MediaBlvd> How familiar were you with Gambit before you got the part?
Taylor> I knew of him, but I didn’t know the following he had, and I’m sure I’m still going to be exposed to that. I love the character, I love the powers, and I love what they did with him. I didn’t know that much, but in my experience, it was a blessing to go in and create my take on him. I’m excited for it, to say the least.
MediaBlvd> Is it fun to play a superhero?
Taylor> Absolutely! It’s a great ride. I had so much fun in Australia.
MediaBlvd> Was it very different to do that, compared to the show?
Taylor> I think anything I do is going to be different from Friday Night Lights because it is such a rarity. You take what you will from each gig. I’ve learned so much from Friday Night Lights, and from a guy like Hugh Jackman.
MediaBlvd> Is there any common ground between Tim Riggins and Gambit?
Taylor> I think so. Both have a lack of parenthood in their lives.
MediaBlvd> How would you compare Friday Night Lights fans to X-Men fans?
Taylor> I haven’t bombarded yet, for the X-Men stuff. I’ve been told enough about them that I’m excited for it. I feel the project went incredibly well, and I’m excited to see the result. I’d say Hugh Jackman is a huge influence on my life, as a person and as an actor, and it was an amazing experience.
MediaBlvd> How is he a huge influence on your life?
Taylor> To be honest, it’s an aura that, in this business, I’ve never come across. He’s incredibly disciplined and free. There’s just something about him. You walk away and he hits you. He’s just this person that’s so grounded and so open that you question whether it’s real or not. I’ve met nobody like him. The way he welcomed me on set, it was just a huge influence.
MediaBlvd> Would you like to do Broadway, like he has?
Taylor> I can’t sing like Hugh, but I’d love to do theater, one day.
MediaBlvd> Is playing such different characters something that’s important to you, as an actor?
Taylor> Absolutely, it is! From the get go, you don’t want to get typecast. You don’t want to dig yourself into a hole where everyone is just throwing these same roles at you. Through the writing of Friday Night Lights, Gospel Hill and Wolverine, I’ve had such great opportunities. The biggest thing that I aim for is working with the best, like getting the opportunity to work with Angela Bassett, Liev Schreiber, Hugh Jackman and Kyle Chandler. All I want to do is just keep learning and growing, through the roles and the experiences with those other actors.