The first season of Apple TV Plus’ “Ted Lasso” started with a major change for the titular American coach, played by Jason Sudeikis, who moved across the pond to lead a British Premier League team. But that season ended with another tremendous shift, this time for the once-star player of that team, Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), who was injured during a match.
“He had no plan beyond football; he wanted to play football until he died, and he’s not dead and part of him is sad about that. His dream version of the ending is, he died on the field,” Goldstein tells Variety on the latest episode of the “Awards Circuit” podcast.
Roy started the series as the gruff AFC Richmond team captain who often preferred to make noises than respond with words, let alone full sentences. His shoulders-back, chest-out stance to exude confidence is something Goldstein feels was “beaten into him all his life,” which makes his default being “angry and hard.” Similarly, Roy’s deep voice could be equally intimidating. For the record, Goldstein says the voice was not something he remembers actively thinking he should do: “It was instinctive,” he says. “I just sort of did it. And I do know that there was probably fear from some people, like, ‘What’s he doing?’ But it felt right.”
But as more time was spent with Roy Kent in the first season, Goldstein got to explore different sides to the character and show off the caring and thoughtful guy underneath — the guy who was a doting uncle to his young niece (Elodie Blomfield) and won over Keeley (Juno Temple). Listen below!
Goldstein says working with Temple has been a special part of “Ted Lasso,” on which he also serves as a writer. When Goldstein initially heard that Temple would be one of his common scene partners, “I was like, ‘Oh shit, that’s a hardcore actor, I’m going to have to raise my game, this is going to be intimidating,'” he recalls. But, “she’s so open and so, from the beginning, always discussing, as in, ‘Tell me anything you need, tell me anything that would make you uncomfortable. Nothing is off limits and everything is safe between us.”
That understanding became even more important for the Season 1 finale, “The Hope That Kills You.” After Roy gets tackled on the field, he goes to the locker room to be alone — but Keeley follows him in. With the knowledge that his career as a footballer is over and the fear of not knowing what’s next or who he is without it, Roy doesn’t want Keeley to see him that way. But he ends up letting her stay anyway.
“Part of why I wanted to play Roy and why I understood him is we’ve all felt that way,” Goldstein says. “There’s a real tragedy in him and aging is a bummer and there’s a thing of, ‘I don’t want to not be able to do that thing anymore, it seems very unfair.’ That’s something I very much relate to. It’s hard to let people see you vulnerable; I fucking hate it. But that’s the great part of life and love and relationships that Keeley sits with him and is like, ‘I’m not running away.'”
Roy’s time taking the field came to an end in Season 1, and with that, his jersey may have mysteriously disappeared from the set, Goldstein says with a laugh. But the Emmy-nominated (supporting comedy actor) thesp certainly isn’t going anywhere. Season 2 will follow him trying to figure out what life after AFC Richmond looks like, in addition to centering his relationship with Keeley both in his life and a bit more in the overall story.
“On one level, because he’s not playing football, he has put a lot of his focus into that relationship, and he’s in love. He’s, frankly, in love, which I do not think he has been before — at least in a meaningful way. So that side of his life is great, but the rest of it is a fucking mess,” Goldstein says.
Also on this episode of the Awards Circuit Podcast, Variety TV critic Caroline Framke join Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Danielle Turchiano in the Awards Circuit roundtable to discuss this year’s Emmy nominations in the key comedy acting categories — of which “Ted Lasso” is well represented.
Variety’s Emmy edition of the “Awards Circuit” podcast is hosted by Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Danielle Turchiano and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in television. Each week during Emmy season, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday.