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South by Southwest features a transatlantic 'Ted Lasso' talk

The Ted Lasso South by Southwest panel

At the annual SXSW expo, Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein, and Brendan Hunt talked about "Ted Lasso" Season 2 — and what to expect from Season 3 — from the set of the show.

Several of the people associated with Apple TV+'s hit series Ted Lasso, including co-creator and star Jason Sudeikis, come from an improvisation background. So it was perhaps apropos that on the panel about the show that took place March 14 at the South by Southwest conference, the organizers had to do some improvising of their own.

The panel was titled "Ted Lasso Strikes Back," and featured three stars of the show — Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein, and Brendan Hunt — along with supervising producer Kip Kroeger and editor Melissa Brown McCoy. DigitalFilm Tree's Nancy Jundi moderated, sitting on stage in Austin with Kroeger and McCoy, while the three actors appeared by video conference from the show's set in the U.K. Kroeger, McCoy and Jundi were all part of the "Emotion in the Edit" panel at 2021's entirely virtually edition of South by Southwest.

Hunt and Goldstein were still en route from a location shoot when the panel started, a delay that was due, Deadline reported, to a mixup involving Daylight Savings Time. So they spent more than half of the panel FaceTiming into the conference from separate cars, interrupted occasionally by buffering.

Eventually, the actors reached the set, where Sudeikis had joined earlier. Jundi compared it to past South by Southwest events when the likes of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have video-conferenced into the event from states of exile.

AppleInsider watched the panel virtually the following day, and the live crowd in the Austin Convention Center's Ballroom EF didn't seem to mind the hiccups. There was frequent applause, and Apple TV+ Awards Lead Ralph Galvan, on Twitter, described the room as "completely packed."

The panel looked back at Season 2 of the series, which followed the breakout success of Season 1. It also provided a brief glimpse of what's planned for Season 3, which began shooting earlier in March.

The three actors aren't just actors. All three are also writers on the show, while Sudeikis and Hunt are among the four people who "developed" the series.

Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt, at the South by Southwest panel
Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunt, at the South by Southwest panel

"I think you have to be whichever one is going to keep a bunch of people from slowing down," Sudeikis said of his multiple jobs on the show.

Hunt noted that the "writer hat and producer hat are the same hat- kind of a reversible hat," and joked that his many responsibilities are "why I've never won any awards for my acting."

Winning Trophies

The second season of the series, like the first, has indeed been collecting awards, with the entire cast winning a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble and Sudeikis winning Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series. In January, Sudeikis also added a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy to his collection.

Two days before the panel, Ted Lasso cleaned up at the Critics Choice Television Awards, winning Best Comedy Series, and individual acting awards for Sudeikis, Goldstein, and Hannah Waddingham.

Sudeikis has spoken of a "Wiki" in his head of the show's plot and characters, but he also said that individual ideas can come from all sorts of places. Sometimes they are leftover from "years-old notebooks," while other times they occur to the writers the night before shooting.

"Jason generally has a starting point.. for these characters, and we all sort of chime in, and it changes, or doesn't change, based on those conversations," Hunt said.

The Long Night

Bronson Webb, Brendan Hunt, Adam Colborne and Kevin KG' Garry in
Bronson Webb, Brendan Hunt, Adam Colborne and Kevin KG' Garry in "Ted Lasso" season two, now streaming on Apple TV+.

There was much talk on the panel about "Beard After Hours," the ninth episode of the second season, which gave a spotlight to Hunt's Coach Beard, a character more often part of the ensemble. The episode also functioned as a homage to the Martin Scorsese film After Hours

Sudeikis said that the show's brain trust had already planned out a ten-episode second season when Apple asked for two more. One of the ones added was "Beard After Hours." Hunt shared that the first draft of the episode was brought to him as a "surprise."

Goldstein is the credited writer of the "Beard After Hours" episode.

"I'm obsessed with this world, with the characters, I'm thinking about it all the time, to the detriment of all other aspects of my life," Goldstein said. "Doing Season 2 was more exciting because you knew the actors now and we knew the actors so well I think the stuff we made was very exciting."

Goldstein, whose character Roy Kent retired as a player at the end of the first season, was also happy that his character doesn't have to play soccer on screen anymore.

Dealing with the Backlash

Brendan Hunt on Ted Lasso
Brendan Hunt on Ted Lasso

Kroeger, the supervising producer, brought up something of a touchy subject in Ted Lasso: That some fans were less than happy with the direction of the second season, especially in the early going.

"There was some discussion," Kroeger said, that the show was a "big happy family" in the early part of season 2. "People were saying the show was just all happy, everybody loved each other, there's no conflict," he said.

But Kroeger and the actors all argued that the later parts of the season introduced such conflict, and also that hints of it were there all along, and that they delivered later on in the season.

"It was intentional to let it sort of fester," Sudeikis said, making a The Wizard of Oz analogy. "Dorothy, you know, she's bored on this farm but then she opens up this door, and boom, it's Beard's dance club, aka Oz, and maybe that's when the conflict starts."

Not much plot detail was shared for the third season, except that Sudeikis said the series will delve more into the origin stories of certain characters, including Waddingham's Rebecca.

"Thank you for the chaos," Jundi, the moderator, said at the end of the panel.