Monday, July 18, 2011

An Oral History of Friday Night Lights

I posted Grantland's fantastic article about the show on Facebook and Reader, but, alas, nobody seems to have noticed. So I'm posting it here, because I think it's great. The article and the show are worth your time. Some of my favorite snippets follow.
Berg: [In the original Friday Night Lights movie], Connie Britton's role was sort of Pretty Wife Clapping in the Stands, which is about the shittiest job an actress can have. At least Talia Shire got to own a pet store and go ice-skating with Rocky.

Connie Britton (Tami Taylor): When Pete got in touch with me and said, "We're going to make a Friday Night Lights TV show. Why don't you come play that part?" I was like, "No way!" The only thing worse than playing a nothing part in a movie is [playing it] for years and years on TV.

Berg: She said, "Are you fucking kidding me? You think I'm going to spend 10 years sitting on a hard-wood bleacher getting splinters in my ass and cheering on Kyle Chandler? You're out of your mind." I said, "I promise. We'll create a character. We'll give you a job. We'll give you dimension. We'll give you a real voice."
Reiner: The first scene we did was in a church, and I said, "Let me meet the pastor." We met the pastor, and he was great. So I said, "OK, you're going to be in the show."

Liz Mikel (Corrina Williams): He got up and said a prayer. It was an actual prayer; it wasn't anything scripted.

Reiner: [Showrunner] Jason Katims was there, and he didn't even know we were filming. We were these two Jews from New York so immersed in this Baptist service that we were just glowing. We shot 25 minutes for 45 seconds of footage, but what we were doing is creating an environment that would inform the next five years.
Porter: I played high school football for a pretty solid team. I had three future NFL players on my team.

Spivey: Mr. Jason Street, Scott Porter — that guy can play football.

Porter: And I was in a wheelchair.
Berg: People weren't reacting to the football. It was expensive, but people weren't reacting to it. How many 40-yard bombs can you throw? It was probably the least interesting part of the show. Watching Buddy Garrity try to stay sober and get a JumboTron named after him was much more interesting to me. I don't get a lot of kids coming up to me to say, "Oh, the football rocks." The show will be remembered more as one about a marriage than one about football.
Phillips: I was out at a bar with Kyle Chandler, and this group of girls comes running over saying, "Oh my god!" I was thinking, "Oh, surely they recognize him. He's Coach." Then she says, "You were on Grey's Anatomy!" You've got to be kidding me. He's the lead on the best show on television right now, and this chick is recognizing him from Grey's Anatomy?
Nevins: I watched Taylor Kitsch, who was this guy from Canada who had come down with a pretty thick accent, slowly turn into this hard-living Texas teenager. It was amazing to watch that transformation.