Interview: Taylor Kitsch

taylor kitsch interview

By: Amrie Cunningham [My Take on TV]

There is really nothing I enjoy more these days than curling up and watching episode after episode of Friday Night Lights. It’s a show that makes me laugh and makes me cry and makes me think about life in just about every hour that they’ve produced. I relate to the characters, I feel for the characters, and all because I gave the show a chance when it started last season.

As the second season of one of the greatest shows ever made starts this Friday, I want to share with you the wonderful, warm, incredible conversation I was lucky enough to have with one of my favorite people, Taylor Kitsch – everybody’s favorite bad boy, #33 Tim Riggins.

Hi how are you?
Taylor Kitsch:
I’m great, I’m just leaving set actually.

I’m glad you could take time to chat for a bit.
Oh no worries!

First of all, so excited that you’re back for season 2
I think we all are. And it’s been fun. We’re in episode 9 now and we’re still having a riot out there.

I’m one of those people who has told ever single person I’ve ever known probably to watch this show.
You gotta work on the strangers, now, too, don’t forget.

Haha, yeah, walk up to people on the street, and hand them something with FNL on it.
Yeah, make them watch. That’s what it’s going to come down to sooner than later, I’m sure.

So you said you’re on episode 9. That’s pretty far in, that’s exciting.
Yeah, it’s pretty darn interesting storylines, too. They’re starting to all intertwine too, so that’s my favorite part of it.

taylor kitsch interview

What can we expect from Tim Riggins so far?
Man, this kid is even more lost than last year. He’s tried so many times to make that right decision and it’s just not in the cards yet, to be honest with you. So many little things are happening. He’s got such a great heart, trying to make those things happen, but the repercussions keep biting his ass. I don’t know, for example, [spoiler alert], he’s out of his house, basically, homeless. He’s gotten kicked off the football squad. He goes to Mexico to support his best friend but doesn’t understand how really intense, and what is right in front of him, and how intense and real it is for Street. It’s kind of catching him off guard, how serious the whole matter is, ya know? I think, too, there’s also a good balance, with some like intense dark stuff that he had a lot last year, and some really lighter moments. At times, it’s pretty darn funny what’s going on with him. I mean, it’s a good balance this year

I got to see the premiere. I’m just as in love with the show as I was before, maybe more now. Not too much of a storyline dedicated to you right away, but I’m sure we’ll see more, right?
Oh the premiere, of season 2?

Yeah, I got to see it – very exciting.
I haven’t seen it. It’s good, because we have such a strong cast, and it kind of lights a fire in your ass when you do get your own stuff, and it’s like, okay, let me prove myself, and let me get to everyone else’s level. Everyone is getting their own kick. I’m a huge fan of Landry (Jesse Plemmons) and Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) [editor’s note: I’m putting money on them being the new super couple!], and obviously they’re doing such an amazing job with such intense stuff so I’m excited just to see that stuff. I have no problem taking a back seat to these guys.

I think what’s great about the cast is that there’s not a weak link. You guys all support each other, and make it so believable, that I think it’s hard to dislike anything about it.
I agree, and I was just saying that to Chan [Kyle Chandler], the funny thing is, everyone thinks they have the best character. That’s why it’s so believable, ya know? Everyone just loves playing their characters. They don’t feel like they’re missing out on storylines or anything else.

How has Tim changed or not changed since we first met him?
Not changed, there are definitely a lot of demons this kid is still dealing with. He’s still drinking as a vice; he’s using girls for a fix. He’s still trying to deal with a lot of problems internally, but at the same time, he’s still trying to make the right decision a lot more than he did last year. He understands the repercussions and the seriousness of a lot of stuff that’s happening before him. So I think he’s growing up but there are a lot of things that impede that growth. Like the lack of anybody in his life that he can look up to. I mean, lack of stability and trust, and everything else that any other 17 year-old needs to keep moving forward.

Just to confirm, what grade is Tim in this year?
Tim is a senior this year.

What can we expect from the show for year, aside from your character? I’m sure you don’t want to give too much away.
It’s funny. You’ve seen more than I’ve seen! Last year was a lot of dark and a lot of intense stuff which really separated ourselves from everyone else, but there’s also a sense this year of like it’s a lighter kind of like dry humor that Chan plays so well and I think with Riggs, you’ll see a lot more from him this year. There’s definitely with the show as a whole, there’s just a lighter side to it as well, and I think maybe not so much in the very beginning, but I know that everyone’s paths are starting to criss cross. That just makes for higher stakes.

How does everyone feel about being on Fridays?
Time will tell. I know we like to push the boundaries even more. That allows us to push it even more, which will let this go a bit further in even the dialog and everything else and the storylines. It makes sense. It’s simple. I mean we’re doing everything we can do, to get a few more viewers here and there. I think it’s going to be a good positive aspect on it, hopefully.

How has life changed for you since this has started?
I don’t know, it’s funny. Opportunities. This has been just an amazing springboard for me. When you get into something, when anybody gets into a job, where they feel they’re going to be fulfilled and everything, it’s an opportunity to really show your, for lack of a better word, chops or your skills and your love for this. Man I love doing this job. This gig has given me the opportunity to show that and it’s really helped me get to work with some amazing actors that I’ve learned a lot from, even in hiatus and stuff like that. It just makes me feel that you still have so much to prove but that it’s just such a great starting point. Just to be able to get the opportunity to work on the movie that I did in hiatus, from the show, and such a respected show, throughout. It’s given us so many opportunities. We’re kind of just being like wow. It’s really, really such a special show and it’s great to know that people are recognizing that in the business.

You hear so many people, actors, actresses, writers, directors, producers, whatever, they’re asked their favorite show, what do they watch. Everybody says FNL. To me, that speaks for the high quality.
Absolutely, and the freedom we have and the trust and how much we’ve learned, too, doing this gig. I would never even have dared to take on the job I took in the hiatus if I didn’t know or have the freedom to learn how to express myself on the show. You’re learning so much about yourself, too, because they let you have the reins on this show. They give you that, and they trust you with all of these responsibilities of upholding this character and everything else that you got going for them. It’s pretty daunting at times, but at the same time, you have to realize that these writers and everybody is trusting in you to come do your thing. And I love that responsibility.

When is the movie [Gospel Hill starring Adam Baldwin, Julia Stiles, Danny Glover, Angela Bassett; written and directed by Giancarlo Esposito (Homicide, The $treet, etc.) and his creative team], expected to be released?
March or April I think – I just talked to Giancarlo Esposito and he’s really excited about it. You know, I’m hoping it comes out great but just the experience of watching these brilliant actors work, it’s something that you can’t take away from me. I loved this just amazing experience.

Have you had any weird fan experiences or encounters?
Not weird, I don’t think weird. Obviously you get the odd letter or something that’s just like, alright, well that’s a bit much, but…I think the best letter I’ve gotten was from this psychologist. She works with kids. It’s hard for these kids to relate, I think she’s in like her mid-50s or something. She’s like, it’s hard to get through to these young kids. She watches the show, and she broke down Tim Riggins, like literally word for word theme and why he does what he does and it’s an amazing thing for someone like that and she said she uses my character, as fictional as he is; she uses this character as a real life example. And these kids can watch Riggs and relate to him. That’s been the letter that stood out the most. It’s just incredibly flattering to get something like that. That was really cool and a good story.

Do you guys all live in Austin, or do you just shoot there?
You know, I bought a place here. We all live here. We’re going to be here, knock on wood, for another 7-8 months or so, so we spend a good amount of time here. It’s hard, because of the shooting schedule, it’s hard to get out. I know a majority of the cast is renting, but I think there’s a few of us that love the city so I bought a place.

Is the chemistry great offset?
The cast is tight. We all obviously have our own lives going on, so it’s still a job. It’s not always cotton candy and rainbows, but for the most part, everyone gets along really well. There’s no drama on set or anything like that, which you hear a lot of on other shows. I think we’re all blessed to be out of Hollywood and working in Texas and know that we only have each other to lean on. Everyone gets along really well. We don’t take it personally if they have to do their own thing. Everyone has their own deal going.

What would you want to say to get people watching?
I think the biggest thing, and I’ve been saying this for a while, ya know, let us prove you wrong. Don’t come in with these preconceived notions that this is a certain kind of show, or a glorified The O.C. or whatever I’ve heard, ya know? Or it’s just a show about football. Tune in, and if you can’t relate wholeheartedly to one of these characters, then change the channel, but I guarantee, once you get involved, ya know, you’re going to be hooked. I’m a fan of it, and I’m in the show. I don’t watch any TV. I just get a kick out of everyone else on the show. The cast is so strong.

I can’t find another show that I can list as my favorite.
I just think the realism and everything else. Nothing is overacted or overdone, and I think it leaves a lot for people to draw their own conclusions. And they’re laying the dirt on you. You’re not going to get everything written out before you to make these simple decisions.

There’s not always a definite conclusion at the end of each episode. It’s life, it’s what happens sometimes.
Exactly!! Which, you know what, sucks sometimes.

Yeah, it really does.
It does, believe me. But yeah, that’s what we’ve been saying. Let us prove you wrong. And then, you know what, so be it, change the channel, but you’ll have a better reason than all these preconceived notions.

It’s better to tune in and not like it, than to not tune in at all.

I want to thank you so much – it was great getting to talk to you.
Oh absolutely.

I’m going to start handing my FNL stuff out on the streets!
Nice!! I appreciate it ha! But yeah, Riggs really starts coming into his own, in episodes 3-10. I think you’ll really like it.

I look forward to it. Thank you so much.
Thank you!!

You heard the man – tune in, let them prove you wrong. I promise you, once you’re invested in this show, it’s hard to turn it off. Just ask anyone who has done a 22-episode marathon because they went out and bought the DVD on someone’s suggestion. Once you start, it’s impossible to stop, and your life will be better for it! And to those readers who are already fans? What are you waiting for, get out there and start shouting your Friday Night Lights love all over town!!

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  • Jim Finn

    Hey, is there like a Friday Night Lights tour if you were to visit Austin, to see where they tape? Just wondering. We will be there for Thanksgiving….would be cool to see some of the sites where they tape.

  • NikkiHolly

    taylor kitsch interviews make nikki a happy girl! (and apparently also makes her talk about herself in third person)