When Season 1 of “Ted Lasso” came to a close, AFC Richmond had lost its way. Despite the leadership and undying belief of Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), the club had lost not only its place in the Premier League, but it’s two best players in the aging and injured Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) and the former superstar Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster).
As Ted and Co. begin their rebuild on the pitch in Season 2, the show itself will also need to reevaluate who can help carry it to success. Sure, Goldstein and Dunster are both still integral parts of the show, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more stars, and the answers are right in front of our noses: Cristo Fernández and Toheeb Jimoh.
Both actors stole countless scenes last season as role players on both the team and in the show, with Fernández playing the only character to match Ted’s optimism in Dani Rojas, while Jimoh proved equally charming as the soft-spoken and kindhearted Sam Obisanya. Now, as the two characters step in to fill holes on the field, the actors are doing the same.
“It’s a welcome challenge,” Jimoh said in an exclusive interview with Inside The Film Room. “Any actor always wants a bit more to do, a bit more to wrestle with.”
Jimoh’s move to centerstage didn’t come out of nowhere, though. The actor delivered some of the most quotable and tender lines of Season 1, and now in Season 2, he gets to dive deeper into Sam’s backstory – particularly in the extremely powerful third episode. After a year of learning on the sidelines, Jimoh said he feels ready to make his mark.
“We had the whole of the first season to watch the legends in the game, like Jason (Sudeikis), Brendan (Hunt) and Hannah (Waddingham) and everyone,” Jimoh said. “We were just kind of there, stealing from them, learning from them. Now in Season 2 to get the opportunity to put some of that to the test and take on some stuff of our own, it’s great. I’m just happy to have more to do.”
For Fernández, who gets the season started with a Dani Rojas-centric premiere, the ability to explore deeper layers of a character once seen as nothing more than a “joyous, raven-haired golden retriever” is a thrill.
“I’m really grateful to the creative team for trusting us with these new beats, new moments,” Fernández said to Inside The Film Room. “It’s a challenge that’s really nice to have, to be able to portray different moments. We saw one side of Dani in Season 1, now we’re going to see him going through some dark places. It’s really cool to be able to play those and make the character richer.”
Dani and Sam aren’t the only characters who get more time in the spotlight in Season 2 – Nate the Great (Nick Mohammed) continues to find himself as a newly appointed coach, and notorious scene stealer Higgins (Jeremy Swift) is up to his usual gags, literally.
“I don’t want to be a drama thief,” Swift joked about his scene-stealing ability. “It’s a lot of the writing as well. Higgins seems a kind of stable guy, then comes out with something that’s quite weird and very unexpected.”
With younger characters stepping up, that leaves plenty of room for mentorship, and as great as Ted may be, he can’t do it all. So, could Higgins fill the void as a father-figure dishing out at advice?
“Higgins does get to mentor people two or three times during the season, and he’s respected for it,” Swift said of his character in Season 2. “He’s a wise old sage, the wise old owl of the show.
Stay tuned for a full interviews with Cristo, Toheeb and Jeremy after the release of Ep. 3.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.