Kyle's Career Filmstrip: TV Series and Movies

Aug 24, 2011

Kyle Chandler Won't Sit on the Bench For Long

"I just went and saw Crazy, Stupid, Love. Julianne Moore — I've been in love with her since Boogie Nights. But also, The Big Lebowski. Ohhh, she's hot in that," Chandler says with a smile and a sigh. "I fell in love with her. I think I had a chance to be in something with her at one point, but I didn't get the part."

It's been a good year for Chandler, 45. First, his beloved but chronically ratings-challenged series Friday Night Lights wrapped up five seasons with a heart-wrenching finale in February. Chandler, his TV wife, Connie Britton, and the show nabbed Emmy nominations for the final season.

And in June, Chandler played a taciturn town cop in the box-office smash Super 8, from director J.J. Abrams.

"I've moved on from the show. I moved on after we did the wrap party. I'm glad the show ended as strong as it did," Chandler says.

Now, Chandler, who's based in Texas with his wife, Kathryn, and teenage daughters, Sawyer and Sydney, is being selective about what's next for him.

"Right now, I'm going around and meeting with people. Television, cable, features are always out there. Thank goodness I've saved my money."

He has a small part in Ben Affleck's political thriller Argo, about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. And there's talk of another Friday Night Lights movie, this one a sequel to the TV series.

"I'm in a great position now where I've got recognition. I'm not recognized too much. I think I'm recognized enough by the industry. (Friday Night Lights executive producer) Pete Berg said, 'No one knows who the hell you are, and you've been working for 20 years.'

"That doesn't bother me too much, as long as people in Hollywood know. I want to find material that piques my interest, keeps me outside the box and challenges me."

In person, Chandler is unfailingly well-mannered and unpretentious, if reserved and exceedingly private during an afternoon interview at the famous Salt Lick barbecue. A neighbor's daughter, he says, works here as a server.

But as far as his own kids go, he's loath to divulge much.

"We do what families do. I don't know what to say other than that. My daughter loves horses. My other daughter loves soccer. The one thing that we don't get enough of, what we're always trying to figure out how to get enough of, is just spending time together."

He has a dry, understated, blink-and-you-miss-it sense of humor. Ask Chandler about his Emmy nomination, his third, and he says he's honored and proud. But it sure would be nice to finally win: "Otherwise, I'm just a loser."

Rest assured that the real Chandler doesn't have his character's wisdom or clear-eyed insight. "If I was as beloved as Coach Taylor was … I'd be very beloved."

Nor is he eager to assume any real-life coaching duties. "I'm back to me again. I've had requests to do speeches for teams," he says. "Coach Taylor lives in Dillon. That's about 60 miles east of here. So they have to go find him."

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