Ted Lasso’s Jamie Tartt might’ve kicked off season two as participant for a TV dating competition, but by the end of episode two, “Lavendar,” he’s back in familiar territory as he returns to AFC Richmond. But how different will his approach be while dealing with his teammates this time around? Jamie knows he can’t afford to be the bully again, and actor Phil Dunster assures The A.V. Club that he is determined to improve.
We asked Dunster about Jamie’s redemption journey, the actor’s genuine love for football, and whether or not he’s a fan of reality TV in real life. You can watch the interview below or read on for the transcript.
The A.V. Club: It wasn’t surprising for some reason to see Jamie has joined a reality TV show in season two. How did you feel when you first read it in the script or heard about his journey?
Phil Dunster: I think we can all relate to a quarter life crisis when we see one. I think for some people it’s trying to change jobs, for some it’s going traveling. For Jamie, he’s like “I’m going to stop playing professional football in front of thousands and thousands of people and go sit by a pool somewhere on a reality TV show.” It’s what we would all do if we were in his position and going through his quarter life crisis.
AVC: Are you a fan of reality TV? Do you enjoy watching them or did you see any to try and capture the vibe in those brief scenes?
PD: I don’t really watch reality TV but I did for this. To be fair, there was one season a couple of years ago when I really got into Love Island. My partner was super into it. It was an absolutely fascinating, in-depth look of humanity through the guys of Love Island.
AVC: Do you think he is serious about getting in everyone’s good graces now because he is really making an effort.
PD: Yes. I think that Jamie has, if nothing else, has strength in his conviction. When he starts doing something, he sees it through. He is dedicated. On the surface, he is an arrogant, selfish young man. As you go deeper, you see he has deeper attributes like dedication, hard work, belief in oneself, which I think a lot of people don’t have. I think he wants to be better and show people he wants to be better.
AVC: You were a fan of football before you even joined Ted Lasso, but what was it like training for Jamie’s football scenes, especially in season two with Covid restrictions?
PD: One thing I learned while filming this is that professional football is really good, and I’m not a professional footballer. It takes a lot of time and good editors, which luckily we have, to make me look like Jamie Tartt. In terms of training, we spent a lot of time training to make sure we get it right. We have rehearsal days where we are figuring out what skills are needed. We have a dedicated sports choreography team for the show. We had a dedicated football director on season two who has worked a lot with shooting football. One of the things that is so exciting about football is you never know what is going to happen, there are variances. That’s something you can’t really have when you are filming, you need to know exactly what is happening. That’s what we try to keep alive, that element of “What’s going to happen?”