Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What a great cast you have, Friday Night Lights

(from l to r) Charles, Britton, Plemmons, Chandler, Palicki, Teegarden, Gilford, Kelly, Porter and Kitsch
I was watching Bunheads last night (I’ll be posting a review of that) and recognized an actress on the show but couldn't remember where I'd seen her before.  It was killing me because I'm usually pretty good at spotting people.  I kept picturing her as someone’s friend or sister, with dyed blond hair, and being kind of a mess.  After the show ended I looked it up on IMDB (my 2nd bible) and realized she was Tyra’s stripper sister on Friday Night Lights.  It occurred to me that I’m forever pointing out guest stars on television shows and saying things like, “They were a beloved character on Friday Night Lights.”  Of course in my mind most everyone on that show was beloved.  Maybe not Buddy Garrity or Billy Riggins, though they had their moments.  It just goes to show how excellent FNL was that almost the entire cast has proved to be incredibly hireable.

We expect to see Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton in television shows and movies because they were established actors before the show.  Chandler seems to be having better luck in the big screen arena as he was in Super 8 and will be in some cool films like Argo (w/ Ben Affleck), and Kathryn Bigelow’s yet untitled but eagerly anticipated Navy SEAL Team 6 movie.  Britton is keeping busy on the smaller screen with roles in American Horror Story and a pilot called Nashville.  Amie Teegarden, who played their daughter, Julie, has landed a number of movie roles including Scream 4, Disney’s Prom, and Love and Honor with the younger Hemsworth.
I never miss an opportunity to post a picture of this man.
Most of us know about  Taylor Kitsch aka Tim Riggins’s attempts at fame.  He’s bombed in kind of a big way with John Carter and Battleship though neither can really be blamed on him entirely.  His next film is Oliver Stone’s drug movie, Savages, which has a pretty impressive cast (Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro John Travolta, and Blake Lively).  Derek Phillips, who played Billy Riggins, has kept busy with television guest spots on shows like Breakout Kings, Castle, Body of Proof and Parenthood.  Plus Phillips landed a movie about Jackie Robinson starring Harrison Ford, which will be out in 2013.  The women who just couldn't say no to those Riggins boys, Mindy and Tyra, have been getting work too. Stacey Oristano who played Tyra's stripper sister, Mindy, had a guest spot on In Plain Sight (which my parents refer to as “Oops, lost another one”) and has a recurring role on the aforementioned Bunheads.  Adrianne Palicki, aka Tyra, seems to be going the action route with her career.  She has the Red Dawn remake in the can though bets are being taken as to whether that will ever actually be released.  Another pushed back movie of hers is GI Joe: Retaliation.  Here’s hoping her movies do better than her television shows, which include the quickly cancelled Lone Star and Wonder Woman (did they even finish the pilot?).

Some of the rest of the cast are making attempts at both television and movies.  Gaius “Smash” Charles had roles in films like The Messenger, Salt, and Takers while landing a couple of guest spots on Pan Am and NCIS.  Jesse Plemmons had a role in the sci-fi buddy flick Paul and this summer’s Battleship and will be appearing in The Master with Joaquin Phoenix.  Plus he was in the barely seen but I loved it TV show, Bent with Amanda Peet.  Zach Gilford, who played beloved character Matt Saracen, landed the not at all beloved Shonda Rhimes-produced, doctors in the jungle TV show, Off the Map.  He’s got another show coming out this fall called The Mob Doctor, which I’m betting will not last.  Sorry Zach!  Luckily for him he has three movies coming out. One of those is with Mad Men’s John Slattery and another is with Schwartzenegger.  Louanne Stephens, who played Matt’s grandmother with Alzheimer’s, is a regular on A&E’s new show Longmire.  It’s a good show, you should watch it. 

Who am I forgetting?  Oh!  Ms. Minka Kelly, aka Lyla Garrity, may be more well-known for her on and off again boyfriend but has made a mark for herself in TV.  She recurred on NBC’s Parenthood and starred in the terrible Charlie’s Angels reboot.  She did land an impressive part in Lee Daniel’s new film, The Butler, which is about the Kennedy family.  She’s playing Jackie!  That’ll be interesting.  Brad Leland, who played Kelly’s dad on FNL, Buddy Garrity, has had guest spots on Parks and Recreation and HBO’s Veep.  Lyla's first boyfriend, the beloved Jason Street was played by Scott Porter.  He's had some recurring roles on Caprica and The Good Wife before landing his own show, Hart of Dixie (which surprisingly got renewed for fall).  Plus he’s going to be in the ensemble movie, The To Do List with folks like Andy Samberg, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Hader, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Connie Britton.

(from l to r) Jordan, Smollett and Lauria
Tired of this yet?  Too bad!  The list keeps going!  Matt Lauria, who played frustrated farmer Luke on FNL was a regular on the cancelled The Chicago Code and has had guest spots on Burn Notice, CSI, and Person of Interest.  Lamarcus Tinker, aka “Tinker” has recurring roles on Cougar Town and Glee.  Jurnee Smollett, who has been acting steadily since she was five years old was a regular on (the cancelled) The Defenders and is going to be in Tyler Perry’s The Marriage Counselor (aka Kim Kardashian got a real job!)Michael B. Jordan, who played Smollet’s boyfriend, Vince, on FNL, has recurred on Parenthood, had a guest spot on House, and had starring roles in the movies Red Tails and Chronicle. 

Ok I think I’m done now.  All the movies and television shows I’ve mentioned are since the actor left Friday Night Lights or since the show ended.  It’s not often that TV shows or movies have casts that almost all go on to careers.  It kinda happened with Dazed and Confused (Matthew McConauwhatever, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, Parker Posey and even Renee Zellwegger (who didn’t have a line but was definitely in the movie).  In fact now my mind is totally blanking.  Can you think of another ensemble movie or television show that’s produced lots of hireable folks?  Dude!  Buffy!  And Angel!  Most of those folks pop up here and there, even if it is Joss hiring them for other jobs.


  1. Great post! The only other similar cast I could think of was Freaks and Geeks, but I think that's largely because of the Apatow factory.

  2. Matt Lauria was also on lipstick jungle, I think or the other show that aired arne the same time and ended. Do love that cast. Just went back and started watching again in conjunction with reviewings of west wing and the wire

  3. Freaks and Geeks! Definitely!

    I really need to watch The Wire.

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