The CW’s new drama “All American,” based on the real-life experiences of ex-NFL player Spencer Paysinger, centers on a a football player from South Central Los Angeles who transfers to a Beverly Hills high school. But the show cares more about telling stories of the human experience than specific football plays.
“While we seem nothing alike, at heart we have a very common story,” creator April Blair said of herself and Paysinger at the Paley Fall TV Preview Saturday. “In today’s world of division, I thought that was a really important story to tell — black/white, rich/poor, gay/straight — that we’re all, on a cellular level, far more similar than we are different.”
Blair says the show will combine and themes found in fellow football drama “Friday Night Lights” and hip-hop film “Straight Outta Compton” in a tale of two cities and a boy in between them.
“We never wanted to paint South Central as bad and Beverly Hills as good,” she says.
Bre-Z, who plays Spencer’s best friend Coop, says her character will face being abandoned by her family because of her sexuality. During the panel, Bre-Z explained why she was drawn to the role: “I hate to see specific walks of life —especially gay, lesbian — portrayed so stereotypically. Everyone’s not the same.”
Cody Christian, who plays one of Spencer’s rivals, Asher Adams, also spoke about the multiple points-of-view in “All American.”
“It’s so easy to not have experienced something personally and to write it off as not happening or it not existing,” Christian said. “So for us to talk about issues of what is happening now, especially through that perspective, it gives a sense of relativity that I think people really need to see at this time.”
He also said audiences can expect a decent amount of football in the episodes but “not so much that it becomes overwhelming.”
“All American” premieres Oct. 10 on the CW.