'Ted Lasso' Season 3: Zava, 'Nate hate,' Rebecca's 'hot mess' and Coach Beard's soccer fandom
Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) may be the star of “Ted Lasso,” but Season 3 of the Apple TV+ series (new episodes stream Wednesdays) finds us once again thrust into the tumultuous lives of that beloved AFC Richmond family.
Sorting through all those storylines is partly what delayed the arrival of this season, says star and co-creator Sudeikis.
"It’ll become evident as the season rolls out that the episodes have a lot of stories and characters and connections and loose ends, and all of that need to be tied up," he says.
Those loose ends include team owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), who's looking for love and revenge against her ex-husband, now West Ham United boss Rupert (Anthony Head); Assistant Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), whose romantic relationship seems perpetually on the brink of implosion; and Richmond kit manager-turned-West Ham coach Nate (Nick Mohammed), who has twisted himself into an emotional pretzel.
We caught up with the actors, who explain how those soccer sequences are filmed, what it’s like to be accosted by fans and whether a classic British TV comedy should be revived.
How ‘Ted Lasso’ Season 3 steps up its soccer game
Whether it’s incoming superstar Zava (Maximilian Osinski) backheeling in a goal while diving through the air or stalwart Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) banging a shot off the crossbar, Season 3 provides more artful realism.
That’s credited to the work of a football/soccer operations directing team that joined the “Lasso” squad last season and translates broad soccer events in the script into filmed on-pitch choreography.
'Ted Lasso' season 3 review: Don't worry, 'Ted Lasso' will continue to bring a bright light to your dark world
The group has "just elevated the whole thing,” says Hunt, whose appreciation for soccer was born when he and Sudeikis lived in Amsterdam during their improv years. “We’re way less worried now about how the football looks this season as a result. We type it up, and that team goes away and suddenly it’s all there on film.”
Why Coach Nate isn’t exactly popular with fans these days
Mohammed is polite and reserved, very much like the shy equipment manager for AFC Richmond we met in Season 1. Now that Nate has turned into a spiteful rival coach, both the actor and his fans have reservations.
“This season’s Nate is not my go-to area in terms of my previous acting experience," Mohammed says. "I had a comfort area in Season 1 where I was clumsy, bumbling and slightly awkward." Now, “There’s less room for that humor we associated with him, but to go on this journey with Nate is a joy.”
Fans are less philosophical. While being “generally kind,” Mohammed admits there was some “Nate hate” generated by his angry defection to West Ham United. “People do say how the show has helped them through tough times, but they’ll also sometimes add, ‘But you have been quite naughty, haven’t you?’”
Brendan Hunt’s favorite part about playing Coach Beard
Hunt laughs at the question. “That’s easy," he says. "That I will likely never have to purchase a ticket again to a U.S. men’s or women’s national soccer team match.”
So that means he’ll likely be all set for tickets to the 2026 World Cup, which will unfold in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.? “That’s why we’re doing all this, man, don’t jinx it!”
But jokes aside, he is genuinely pleased with the way the soccer community has embraced “Lasso” and its almost sacrilegious tale of an American football coach entering that world. “It’s incredibly gratifying. Of any group that has a right to stomp their feet and say ‘No, this is wrong,’ it’s the soccer illuminati. But they dig it, and that’s great.”
Hannah Waddingham’s workout
Waddingham’s brassy team owner Rebecca is known for her sartorial flair, her longing for a romantic partner and a killer physique that emphasizes her sculpted arms.
But don't be fooled by Rebecca's outwardly collected appearance. “As Season 2 ended, she wound down something beautiful in her life," her relationship with young player Sam (Toheeb Jimoh), she says. “But I thought, ‘Hang on, I know my girl, there’s still a hot mess going on in there.”
The actress credits a writer’s room packed with “fierce feminists and female writers" for Rebecca's honest introspection. As for her buff figure, she waves her hand. "I recently had a little back operation on a bulged disc, so I’ve done no fitness at all for a year."
Why is ‘Ted Lasso’ set in England?
“Jason and I not only have a true love for the game of football, as most of the world knows it but also a great appreciation for English culture,” says Hunt.
"When I was a kid I was into the Beatles, Shakespeare, Dr. Who, Monty Python. I didn’t know that Anglophile was a word then, but it’s what I was.”
When told that “Fawlty Towers,” an iconic 12-episode series made in the late ’70s by Python veteran John Cleese, is reportedly being rebooted, Hunt genuinely recoils. “Come on Johnny, come on Johnny,” he says, shaking his head. “That show is cast in amber for all time. It does not need to be revisited.”
More TV news:
'The Last of Us' season finale recap: Betrayal cuts deeper than zombies
Streep hits 'The Building': 'Only Murders in the Building' brings on Meryl Streep for Season 3 teaser trailer: Watch
What kind of animal is TV's Arthur?: An aardvark, though with some big differences
Natasha Lyonne on 'Poker Face' Season 1: Show's 'lazy' feel requires hard work
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Ted Lasso' stars talk 'Nate hate,' Rebecca's 'hot mess' and more