Taylor Kitsch plays resident bad boy Tim Riggins on the critically acclaimed Friday Night Lights. He’s a fan favorite, not just for his brooding good looks, but also for the intensity he brings to the screen in his portrayal of the troubled high school football player.
Taylor spoke to BuddyTV today about the dramatic new developments in store for his character this season, how being on Friday Night Lights beefed up his acting chops and how he liked acting in Snakes on a Plane. Below, you will find an audiofile and a transcript of the interview.
Hey everybody, this is Debbie from BuddyTV and I’m talking with Taylor Kitsch who stars as Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights. Hey Taylor.
How you doin’? Thanks for having me.
First, why don’t you start by telling us about your character?
Oh, where do I start, that’s the thing. He’s just this kid who deals with alcoholism. There’s lack of a family. His brother has kind of turned his back on him this season. He’s just a kid that’s been jaded and just for better or worse, he’s lacking a sense of purpose, you know? All these things that have happened in his life have kind of impedes the growth or his decision making. And the repercussions, he’s just still not understanding them, so, it’s a really fun character.
Right. So you know he is kind of the “bad boy” on the show. Are we going to get to see him grow up and mature a little this season?
Absolutely. I think even in episode three to seven, he goes to Mexico with Jason Street and he’s just trying to do the right thing, you know? And again, he’s learning probably slower than normal just because of the trust factor and everything else in his life that kind of impedes that. But, absolutely. Slowly but surely, he’s trying. We’ll put it that way.
I’m looking forward to it. Let’s talk about the show in general. It almost didn’t get a second season and so once the show was renewed, did the writers and producers decide to change the tone, maybe to attract more viewers?
I don’t know. I think we all kind of stuck to our guns. If anything we’re more intense and we can play the darker stuff because we are on Friday nights, later night … and stuff like that. So, I think it’s evolved for the better. The storylines are great, and sooner than later they’re all going to intertwine which in my opinion is the best part of this show.
Yeah. One of the notable storylines is Landry and Tyra’s that we saw at the beginning of the season, and it’s pretty dramatic. Do you think the writers are being true to the characters? You know the best part of the show is that it’s so real, but…
Absolutely. I think these kinds of things, and literally they happened … I don’t even know when. I was talking to Jesse Plemons who plays Landry, because everyone one was like, “Man, does this actually happen?” And it happened weeks before they actually shot it. So we’re still staying very true to these characters and I’m sure they’ll tell you the same. And even the things that are happening with Riggs and his family and everything else … it happens, you know? And I think that’s why people can connect so closely with these characters and their storylines.
Another thing is that there’s less emphasis on the football, which was one of my favorite parts of the first season.
Me too. I agree. I think there is a balance. The first two, like you said, were very intense. The plot of Tyra and Landry. You’re going to see more football in three and for and I know there’s a game in five. We’re shooting a lot of football. We’re in mid-season right now, so we’re shooting a lot of football right now. There’s still a strong storyline with these kinds of things and it still brings a lot of these players and families together. So, it’s not forgotten. Believe me.
Oh great. That’s good. Do you play football? Is it difficult to shoot those scenes?
I’ve played sports my whole life. And especially with this character … with Riggs playing football brings just a different side of him out, you know? He’s got that anger management and it’s just a vice for him. He can let loose on the field. I have so much fun playing him and it’s not difficult at all for me because it’s that kind of stuff that’s just really fun. We have so much fun filming, because it’s kind of like a boys’ night out. We’re all just on the field hanging out, having fun, playing ball and doing some fun stuff, take after take. I look forward to those times. It’s a relief.
Cool. And can you give us any clues as to what’s in store for your character?
Oh man. What isn’t? The storyline that Riggs has this year is just … you know I think he’s even more … we were kind of laughing the other day because he ends up homeless and kind of just by himself again, but he’s trying to reach out and it’s just not. I don’t know, there are just things that, like I said earlier, impede all these things from happening. He ends up homeless. He’s battling with his brother. He’s getting kicked off the football team. The coach won’t let him on. He’s doing everything and anything possible he can to get back on the team after he realized how important and how much a part of it is still in his life, you know? He needs that.
What about with the newly religious Lyla? How is that going to progress?
It’s kind of a tease, man. He’s in and out with her. Obviously you’ll see some really good stuff tonight. He goes to church and he’s kind of affected by that … but it’s Riggins, so that wears thin pretty darn quickly. Yeah, there’s a lot of heated moments, but it’s so hard because they’re so polar opposites for it to work out, something else has to break before that happens, you know? Riggins is just so lost at the moment … it’s just impossible almost.
I can’t wait for this, he’s one of my favorite characters.
Nice. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel playing this guy. He’s so much fun to play. I mean, I don’t even know what to expect from script to script … so, it’s great.
Great. And finally you’ve also been doing some work in movies and I have to mention you were also in Snakes on a Plane. So, how did you enjoy that?
It was a great experience. It was shot like 20 minutes from my home in Vancouver so it was just a really great experience. I was pretty darn green at the time too and David Ellis, who directed it, was just really fun to work with and it was just … fun. I just had a lot of fun. It wasn’t like I wasn’t jaded or anything … it just made me want to do more and more and more, you know? I was lucky enough to do a movie in this hiatus and work with truly some brilliant actors and all that kind of stems from Friday Night Lights, me given the opportunity more or less to show your chops or what not with this character. It just been such a great springboard for me to work on other gigs and work with some amazing people.
Yeah. Congratulations. I’m so looking forward to this season. It’s absolutely one of the best things on TV right now.
Interview conducted by Debbie Chang
(Photo courtesy of NBC)