Twenty-eight-year-old Scott Porter portrays the former star quarterback of the Dillon Panthers on the hit show Friday Night Lights. His character Jason Street suffered from a spinal cord injury during the pilot episode of the series, and has been recovering, both physically and emotionally, from the accident ever since. Scott Porter consistently brings a warmth and honesty to his portrayal of Jason. He spoke to BuddyTV about his thoughts on how he identifies with Jason Street, his thoughts on the second season of Friday Night Lights, and what it’s like living in Austin, Texas. Read on to find an audiofile and a transcript of the interview.
Hey everyone this is Debbie at BuddyTV and I’m talking to Scott Porter who stars on Friday Night Lights. Hey Scott.
Good mornin’, how are you?
Good! How are you?
I’m doing fine. I’m doing’ well.
So first, why don’t you start by describing your character?
Jason Street was the local town hero. He was a good quarterback. A good student. He came from a great family. He was gonna go to college at Notre Dame and eventually become pro. Then tragedy struck at the end of the pilot of the first season and be broke his neck and is now in a wheel chair. During the first season, he kind of deals with everybody else coming to grips with his injury before he deals with it himself. He’s a strong, strong kid. He’s put through more trials than any kid that I know and he always comes out with his head up high. At the end of last season he went back to the team as a coach and the first three episodes of the season you kind of see that deteriorate, and he starts to really deal with the issue of whether or not he wants to walk again, and if it’s even possible.
Right. He’s going through a lot of really big stuff like last episode he decided to go to Mexico …
He heard about this stem-cell research. You know, there are these surgeries that happen where they actually inject stem-cells of other animals or human embryo into your back to hopefully get it to re-attach to your spine and heal you. And he kind of sees that as maybe a pipe dream. Maybe something that’s a possibility. So he decides to quit the team and go off on this trip. And Riggins, his loyal and irresponsible friend Riggins, decides that he wants to come along for the ride and Jason can’t really say no to him, so.
Do you identify with your character?
I do. In different ways than I think people would expect. First of all, you don’t see Jason’s parents as much as I would like you to. That being said, he did come from a very strong family and so did I. I have an amazing family. And to come from there and to kind of have that background really played into who Jason was. I’d like to say that I’m as strong-willed as Jason, but he’s been through so much … he’s definitely head-and-shoulders above me in that department. You know, there are some things that I definitely do identify with, with Jason about.
Is there any chance that Jason and Lyla Garrity are going to get back together? Or will there be a new love interest?
You know, with Jason and Lyla’s relationship I think they have a love for each other that extends beyond just a relationship. I think they have a really true affection for each other and right now it’s just a friendship and they’ve been able to go through everything that they go through and still remain close. I don’t know if we’ll see them back together. You know, there’s always that opportunity. They’re always going to be there for each other. But you will see Jason kind of moving on later in the season.
What do you like most about being on the show? I mean, apart from the fact that it’s awesome.
Wow. I love filming in Austin, Texas. I love the cast that we have. I love the show. I love that fact that I think we’re one of the most honest shows on television. In order to tell a story in such extremely genuine fashion like we do, you have to have everybody on board and everybody believing with everyone having the same common goal. We have that here and I couldn’t be more blessed. I don’t think anyone of us could be. So, yeah. I think that’s it.
This season is a little bit different than the first because it is a little bit more dramatic. And you know, the Lyra … Landry and Tyra murder storyline is kind of intense. Do you think that everyone in the cast, including yourself … do you still believe that it’s real and genuine?
Did you just call them “Lyra,” by the way?
No. That was an accident. Haha.
That’s actually kind of funny. That’d be a funny nickname. Anyway, you know … it is a very melodramatic storyline. But when you sit back and you watch the actors … when you watch Adrianne [Palicki] and you watch Jesse [Plemons] put themselves through it, you can say: ‘If this really happened, how would they react?’ And you know, I think there are a couple of storylines that are a little bit more over-the-top this year and, you know, it’s a by-product of being on television for more than one season. It starts to happen every now and then, you know? But it’s how you handle it and from my viewpoint. The two of them, who weren’t really featured last year, are doing just amazing work with the storyline and just bringing it to life a realistic way as far as the acting goes. Whether or not the writing is as concrete as last year, you know … notwithstanding it’s just directed really well and acted really well.
Cool. What’s it like behind-the-scenes on set? Do you all hang out? What’s going on there?
We all live in Austin, Texas, and it’s kind of great to be out of the whole Hollywood machine. It gives us an opportunity to actually really be friends. I hang out with just about everybody on the show. I can tell you that within the last two weeks, I’ve gone out to dinner with Annie [Adrianne Palicki] and Connie [Britton]. I go play football with Taylor [Kitsch] and Jesse. I live with Zach Gilford. The guys and I go to church together sometimes. Everybody gets along really, really well and everybody hangs out. We’re really blessed to be down here. Austin has so much to offer. It doesn’t matter if you’re wanting to get out during the day and get outside. It doesn’t matter if you’re wanting to go out at night. There’s everything in the world to do down here. So it’s definitely refreshing to be in a place like Austin.
That’s great. You’ve done some work in theater and also in film and, obviously, television. What do you like doing the most?
You know, I’m very happy where I am right now. I’m not going to say it’s my favorite thing of all time, but I will say I’m extremely happy to be where I am right now. I don’t think that theater will every completely leave me. I think I’ll always want to go back and I think eventually I will when the right project comes along. There’s just something very special about being on stage and having that connection with an audience. That being said, I’m having a blast in television and film so, I don’t discriminate. Haha. It’s all about the performance and you can perform in any kind of venue.
-Interview conducted by Debbie Chang
(Image courtesy of NBC