Phil Dunster On Jamie Tartt's Emotional Evolution In 'Ted Lasso' Season 2

- Ted Lasso -
Phil Dunster On Jamie Tartt's Emotional Evolution In 'Ted Lasso' Season 2

After a very brief stint with reality TV, Jamie in Ted Lasso Season 2 is back on AFC Richmond... much to the chagrin of his teammates. But it only took one episode for Jamie to prove he deserved a second chance when he stood by Sam's boycott of Dubai Air in "Do The Right-est Thing." Now, simply because he got this one (admittedly, big) thing right, doesn't mean it'll be smooth sailing from here on out. Because just like his grapevines during warm-up, actor Phil Dunster teases that Jamie Tartt's emotional growth will experience some zigzags. But it was certainly a step in the right direction for the footballer.

Ahead of Season 2, it wasn't clear if Jamie would be back on the Jason Sudeikis-led Apple TV+ show let alone back on AFC Richmond. Below Dunster talks about Jamie's emotional "glow-up," keeping his involvement in Season 2 hush-hush, and what it was like to be on the field when Led Tasso emerged.

The Dipp: Jamie has a rocky start with the team, but that changes when he stands by Sam. How did you first react when you discovered Jamie was going to be doing something so selfless and supportive?

Phil Dunster: It felt like it was one of those things that I can kind of imagine, but until we were there, I wouldn't really get quite how it felt. ... I think that it's an important episode because of the last two years, the reckoning that we've had in understanding what it is to be somebody who is not necessarily going through an oppression or marginalization that someone else is, and understanding how to stand alongside those people. Or saying, "Whilst, I may not understand, I stand with you, and I support you, and will do what I can to support you. Even if that means losing face myself. Even if that means being humbled myself." It's a really brilliant Ted Lasso way of doing that.

Jamie being the first person to step up and say, "Alright, let me do that," it felt like a really wonderful step in the right direction for Jamie. Of going, "I am one of 11. I am one of the team. And that means that I put my teammates first rather than me." That's such a huge 180 from what we've seen before. It felt a very satisfying moment for Jamie.

It's so uncharacteristic of him to step aside. To your allyship point, he's not making it about him. He's letting Sam make the statement and standing by and supporting him.

And as you see at the end of the episode, Jamie — he goes to make a speech and he's like, "This is supposed to be my big comeback, but this guy took the credit." I think that there's a healthy enough [dose] of Jamie still going strong in there. But, you're right, it is him not making it about himself and spotlighting these men who it's affecting far more than it's affecting him.

When he did that little speech, the team all laughed where it was like, "This is the amount of Jamie we need right now."

You know the guy who makes the speech at the Christmas dinner, who's a bit drunk? You're like, "Oh god, what's he gonna say?" And then you're like, "Alright that was good! That was funny."

I've seen you say that the real love story of Ted Lasso is Jamie and Roy. Roy was talking smack about Jamie on television, will there be any dustups?

We've laid the groundwork in Season 1, so we're just really going to let that come home to roost. They cross paths, shall we say? But it's often you learn more from your enemies sometimes. The stakes are really high with the two of them because they're very similar. They have led similar lives in that they're footballers, but also with Keeley.

And they're both going through sort of trying to detoxify their masculinity a bit. They're both on that journey together. They continue to lock horns, but it's always the most fun to do that, particularly with Brett [Goldstein]. He's so brilliant. To play with him, it's just great fun.

Speaking of Keeley, she's having good boundaries when it comes to Jamie coming back. But how is he feeling?

As he says in Episode 2, "I wanted to talk about it and whenever I think of talking, I think of you." Which just goes to show how unevolved he is when it comes to articulating his emotions. But this whole process for Jamie, it's very vulnerable and it's scary. And his safe space has always been Keeley and I think we see him look to rely on that a bit more. And yet, it's also not the same relationship as it used to be.

Something I love that you did in Episode 3 was when you're getting the news that Jamie's going to be on the reserve squad, you continue doing your warm-up throughout that whole conversation. Was that in the script?

It was a very cold day and I was just trying to stay warm. And I was doing it and messing around in the rehearsal for it and Jason was like, "Yeah, yeah. OK. Alright. Look, what else you got?..." And Jason, you know, is a hell of a mover. He threw in a couple of suggestions and he showed me some of his moves. And I was like, "Great, OK." And we mashed it all together and baked that particular dance cake.

It was beautiful. We also have Jamie to thank for Led Tasso, Ted's mean alter ego. What was that like to film?

That was [Jason] at his most ad-libby that I saw. He was just shooting from the hip with some of his jokes and it's very difficult when you've got to stand there and look bemused by something that he's saying when he's coming up with these absolute rippers.

We know Jamie doesn't have a supportive father and that's why Ted gave him a second chance. How do you think Jamie views his relationship with Ted? Does he look at him as a surrogate father figure?

How Jamie views him is probably different to the role that Ted plays in Jamie's life. I think that Jamie gets a lot of emotional guidance and social guidance from Ted. But he's so institutionalized towards football. Jamie probably sees him still as his coach, in a position of power and an authority figure...

As much as he would hate that, there's a lot of that in Roy, I think. The lessons that Roy teaches him, as we saw in the fourth episode of Season 1. It's a very hairy, muscular, and gruff arm around the shoulder. But it's an arm around the shoulder all the same.

How was it keeping Jamie's return a secret for Season 2?

It's [been] a nightmare trying to talk about the show and also not really giving away that Jamie will be in the show or even in the team. It was a very funny lead-up to it, but I'm just glad that people are starting to be able to see some of the episodes now and so I don't have to try to hide all of the information.

What else can we expect from Jamie now that he's back on the team and moving in a forward trajectory?

A continuation of him getting a lot of that stuff wrong. And also learning how to live with his Jekyll and Hyde bits. Again, leaning into what makes him him but also continuing to listen and learn and journey towards being emotionally mature.

I think that we see him tussle with his past life and come to terms with his present and future life. And we see that past life sort of try to come back to haunt him and him try to embrace his newfound life that he has in a pretty intense way.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Images: Apple TV+

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