James Lance interview: ‘Ted Lasso’
“Everyone’s intention is for everyone to be the best versions of themselves,” states James Lance about working on “Ted Lasso.” For our recent webchat, the first time Emmy nominee continues, “No one’s trying to steal a scene. You’re only ever trying to add texture to it.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
In its second season, “Ted Lasso” tells the story of the optimistic Ted (Jason Sudeikis) continuing to coach soccer team AFC Richmond in the U.K. under the ownership of Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham). Last year “Ted Lasso” won seven Emmys, including Best Comedy Series. This season, it has scored 20 nominations, including a bid in Best Comedy Guest Actor for Lance. On learning of the nomination he admits, “I think I was on the brink of tears. Then Hannah Waddingham facetimed me and she was crying laughing.”
Lance plays Trent Crimm, journalist for ‘The Independent,’ who reports on the success and failure of AFC Richmond. Throughout the series he turns from cynical critic to empathetic supporter of Ted. Lance explains, “Trent gets Ted Lasso-ed. He’s not living the life he wants; he’s very frustrated. Ted inadvertently cracks it wide open. My feeling was is that Trent had a really tough dad who wanted his son to be an amazing sportsman.”
In many ways this embodies the themes of judgement and curiosity explored in the iconic dart scene from the show. Lance says, “In the beginning he wants to take Ted down, but in the end he protects him. He’s genuinely super interested in many things. In his mind, it looks like a clown turning up to manage this team. As much as Trent is judging, there’s also underneath the truth of, ‘what is really going on with this guy?’ It serves him well to be curious as opposed to just stopping a judgment.”
For his Emmy race Lance has submitted the season finale, ‘Inverting the Pyramid of Success.’ In the episode, Trent explains to Ted he’s lost his job for revealing a source to the coach, and he’s decided to leave journalism. The scene was reworked by Sudeikis who Lance reveals, “personalized it in this very human subtly nuanced way. That’s such a gift for an actor. I’ve never worked with anyone as blissfully comically gifted as Jason. It’s a bit like stepping onto the tennis court and playing with Federer. There’s a certain amount of just hoping I get the ball back over the net. All of this creates an energy and a bit of magic. I’m so delighted to be there in Trent’s shoes. There’s parallels for me with always looking for something to be meaningful. It was fun to play his cathartic exit. Even if we never see Trent ever again, we know that he’s on the right path.”