“When I watched the show I was like, please, my God, I need to get this job. I need to get this job, ”says Sarah Niles, who plays Sharon Fieldstone, a sports psychologist who Ted Lassos’ team AFC Richmond hires to help one of their stars.
British actress Sarah Niles was, like many of us, a late convert to Ted lasso. She missed the first season when it rolled out to Apple TV + last year, not having her first glimpse until her agent sent her information regarding a possible role in Season 2.
So I watched the show, Niles explained in a phone interview in mid-July, and I thought, this is really good! This is really what I need right now.
She was hardly alone in the experience. The story of an optimistic American college football coach (Jason Sudeikis) who is brought to Britain to coach a fictional English Premier League football (i.e. football) team, Ted lasso received some lukewarm reviews early on. But for many, the series has felt like an emotional balm in a year of controversial elections, protests and, of course, the pandemic, an exceptionally well-being spectacle in one of the saddest years in memory. Earlier this month, the show received 20 Emmy nominations, the most ever for a freshman comedy.
Niles ‘character Sharon Fieldstone, she was introduced in the Season 2 premiere last week, is a sports psychologist that Lassos’ team AFC Richmond brings to one of their stars. , Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernndez). Dani has so many nerves that he is effectively losing the ability to play, but Coach Lasso has had clear reservations about Fieldstone from the start.
After all, what is Ted himself if not an amateur psychologist and a bad experience with the professional genre, thanks to an unsuccessful effort at couples therapy with his wife?
Ted and Sharon are not getting off on the best possible footing either. She is not amused by the antics of Ted and his fellow coaches. And her austere demeanor whenever Ted colloquially calls him Doc, she corrects him with Doctor provides a stark contrast to the usual parade of funky jokes and aphorisms.
But Niles, who has appeared in recent years in the acclaimed series I can destroy you, beautiful people and Disaster as well as on stage and elsewhere, said she didn’t feel like her character was brought in just to be another foil for Ted to win.
The first conversation I really had about the character was with Jason, who gave me a feel for the character, where she might go on the trip, or where Ted might be going on the trip, Niles said. There was so much information. I started to realize, ah, it’s a trip not just for him. It is also a journey for her.
From London, Niles opened up about the trip, having to play a straight character in a goofball populated series, and belatedly learning to ride a bike for the role. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
Question:So manyAward-winning and prestigious TVhas been really dark and sinister for years. And Ted lasso goes in the opposite direction. As a performer, how does it feel to work on such an upbeat and upbeat show?
A: It’s such a good feeling. [During the pandemic,] I wanted to either watch comedy or extreme horror. I don’t know what it was. And it kind of landed on my knees. And then when I watched the show I was like, please, my God, I need to get this job. I need to get this job.
Question:Obviously Jason Sudeikis is great on the show, but another of his strengths is that he has an exceptional lineup of supporting characters. When you first watched the show, did you have any favorites?
A: Look at the relationship between Coach Beard [played by Brendan Hunt] and Ted Lasso is so much fun; they are so good together. I love their joke. I love Higgins [Jeremy Swift]; hes so english, awkward his way through stuff. But I love Roy [Brett Goldstein] because he speaks my language. Hes has a pot mouth; he swears a lot. And Dani Rojas Football is life! it just lights up the field. There are too many, there are too many.
Question:One thing that I think the show has done a good job with, better than a lot of shows, is the female characters. Keeley and Rebecca are fantastic characters, and your role is another one this season. Was it an attraction at all?
A: Definitely. When I watched the first season, I really liked the character of Hannah [Hannah Waddinghams Rebecca]. They weren’t afraid to put her in that position where she had power. Shelooksmighty, shes so big. She’s gorgeous, she’s sexy, and she’s not afraid to take Ted to the floor. And then you have this lovely Keeley. We have a whole history of what we call pranks [short for wives and girlfriends], the kind of women who go to clubs where footballers go because they are looking for a football partner. But she’s really, really smart, really strong. These female characters are so well balanced, and they have a lot of fighting in them.
Question:You play a relatively upright character on the show with a lot of people acting awkwardly around you all the time. Is it difficult to play a straight character under these circumstances? Do you already want to crack?
A: Yeah aaahhhh. It is so hard. I’m a little clumsy though. So I was ready to fool around with them. Very difficult, very difficult to find that balance because Jason is such a lovable character. It’s hard to keep that balance, you know, to be straight, to keep your cuteness, to keep it all in the air.
Question:Ted lasso does not seem to have become as big a phenomenon in Britain as in the United States. Do you have any ideas as to whether it transfers well or why maybe it doesn’t work?
A: I think it’s popular in the UK. I just think sometimes the Brits can be a little reserved, a little silent on things. I think there are more fans who loved it even later like me. I mean, I watch Apple TV +. A lot of my friends and other people have said, Oh, I watched this show. Like. This is the best thing. I don’t know how I missed it.
Question:In the United States, I feel Ted lasso almost has a political, ideological dimension because it’s a show about human decency, and after four years of Donald Trump, there seems to be a nostalgia, at least for a substantial audience, for something other than name calling and billy calling emissaries. Do you think it has something like that kind of ideological dimension in Britain, or is it just an American thing?
A: No, I really understood that very early on. You know England is what do you call it? the brother or brother country. We have our own political challenges. [Laughs.] Have never been too far from what you are all experiencing in the United States. I feel like that’s why a lot of people I’ve spoken to have said how badly they need it.
Question:And the pandemic, of course, has been a shared experience.
A: Exactly. Ted is always full of surprises. I like his name is Lasso. It reminds me, you know, it’s a Wonderful life, which is one of my favorite movies. You know Is it a wonderful life?
A: I am thinking of this idea of lassoing the moon. Nothing but the possibility. I can tell Ted is like that. He tires you of his optimism, you know.
Question:I thought of Ted lasso as evoking some sort of figure from West America, Sassy calls him the Marlboro Man. But I love lassoing the moon.
A: Yes. He just had this optimism. You might try to resist it. You could try. But you’re going to be infected with it. The way he tells stories. One of my favorite scenes is that dart scene in Season 1. When people assume they got it stuck and they get it. I like his expression: be curious, don’t judge.
Question:Something else that was funny or unexpected?
A: One of the fun things about this project was the bike. Before starting this job, I did not know how to ride a bicycle. I don’t know what happened in my childhood. I’m going to have to seek therapy to find out why I couldn’t ride a bike. I kind of said to Jason, look, I can’t ride a bike. He likes [voice shifts to mimic him], Oh, don’t worry. You will have it. You will have it.
A few people helped me family and friends as there is a park not far from my house. Just enter the park and get on the bike. It was wonderful, actually. You are learning something new. Everything is very Ted lasso that you learn something new in life.
Christopher Orrc.2021 The New York Times Company
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