Friday Night Lights panel, ATX Festival
Friday Night Lights may be long over but many of the cast reunited at the ATX Television Festival over the weekend in celebration of the beloved show, to spill some fun secrets and share some heartwarming memories from the five seasons.
Check out six things we learned including what was ad-libbed in the pilot, what Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton say about on-screen chemistry and who face-planted on his first day of shooting? Plus: Will the Friday Night Lights movie ever get made?
Kyle and Connie immediately fell into the roles of Coach and Mrs. Coach
While many onscreen relationships and friendships take a beat for the actors off-screen to build a rapport, Chandler says it happened right away for him and Britton. "Connie and I's whole onscreen marriage happened the first day we met ... and I think within the first five minutes it was like, 'Ah we're in good shape, we're going to have a good time.'" Adds Britton, "Right from the beginning we both felt like we could trust each other [and] we shared the same values of what we wanted that marriage to be, which was two people who were committed to be married to each other through thick and through thin -- as opposed to having affairs [like] on other TV shows," she said, jokingly referring to her character on Nashville.
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Matt Lauria made a fool of himself on his first day
Nervous for his first day on set, Matt Lauria wanted to be sure to nail Luke's emotional scene with Tami where he learns he has to transfer to East Dillon. The problem was that Lauria had never worn a football uniform or gear before. "I was like, 'I can totally pull this off!' So my wife was trying to help me get my jersey on, and then they were like, 'We need you now, it's going to rain!' So I rushed out ... and the stunt coordinator said, 'Can you run through these guys into the end zone?' and I was like, 'Dude I was a sprinter.' He's like, 'Run fast' and I said, 'Run fast, fast? Because I'm really fast.' So I book it, but I had never run on AstroTurf before, or in cleats like that, and so I trip and face-planted right in front of everybody. That's probably why I was crying [in that scene]."
A blink-and-you-miss-it important moment in the pilot was ad-libbed
Scott Porter told the audience, "[Creator] Pete Berg took me out to dinner [before filming] and said, "Look everything I saw from you when we were shooting the sh-- after you tested, I need that. So I want you to say what's on your mind at all times and let's see where it goes.' During the scene I was laying on the field and the entire stands were full and the entire cast was there and the EMTs come out and go to put me on a stretcher and I said, 'Thank you' to the EMTs and it wasn't scripted. Pete came over to me, so intense, and he goes, 'Thank you!! F—- yeah!' Every time I see that scene I get so emotional, but I smile because that was the beginning of this amazing road for me because had Pete and I not had that talk, I never would've done that."
Buddy Jr. was supposed to be a superstar football player
In Season 5, Buddy Garrity's rebellious son is sent to live with him. Turns out the uncoordinated reluctant football player was supposed to be an all-star. "You don't know this, but it was written that Buddy Jr. became this great player," Brad Leland said. "Well, what happened was that during the first take I was supposed to be so excited on the sidelines because Buddy Jr. is going to be a great football player and part of the team and he runs over to the bench is so excited and [the players] are giving him high-fives, and one of the big guys lands on his ankle and tears his Achilles tendon. He's lying on the ground, and I knew he wasn't alright. I thought, "They're got all these plans for him and they're going to write him off and there is going to be no Buddy Jr." Instead, they wrote a much more poignant and much better [arc] that he became part of the team, but was injured."
Chandler cooked breakfast for the crew
Producer David Hudgins wanted to know why there was once a scene where Coach was frying bacon in his office. The response was much more simple than Hudgins and his fellow writers thought all this time. "In kitchen scenes in the Taylor house, I would cook breakfast for the crew because we'd get there early and have nothing to do. So I made toast and put cheese on it and would hand out bacon sandwiches. The director got used to having breakfast and he wanted bacon in the scene and I thought, 'Let's put a hot plate there and have some breakfast.'" Hudgins revealed, "Back in L.A. [when we saw the shot] we were like, 'What does this mean? Are we the bacon?'"
Movie talks have yet to move forward ... but there's hope
The panel couldn't end without addressing the rumors of a feature film. After everyone looked at Britton and Chandler for answers, Hudgins stepped in and said, "We can dream the dream. There have been talks about making a movie of the series, that the producer Pete and his partners are very passionate about but I don't think there are any plans to move forward with it now. But never say never and it sure is fun to get back together with all these people.
Would you want to see a Friday Night Lights movie?