Kyle's Career Filmstrip: TV Series and Movies

Aug 30, 2013

Interview: Kyle Chandler explains why 'Spectacular Now' scared him and 'The Vatican' attracted him

And a 'Friday Night Lights' movie? No comment.

<p>Kyle Chandler</p>
Kyle Chandler
Credit: Dan Steinberg/AP
It probably isn't accurate to call Kyle Chandler a "revelation" in the Sundance hit "The Spectacular Now." After all, he won an Emmy for "Friday Night Lights" in an iconic role that constantly challenged his range, but never found any limitations. 
But maybe it would be accurate to say that the version of Kyle Chandler we see in "The Spectacular Now" is the revelation. In James Ponsoldt's film, which has been performing well in increasingly wide release, Chandler plays  the long-absent father to Miles Teller's live-in-the-moment Sutter, a character discussed off-screen until his on-screen arrival marks one of the film's turning points.
It spoils none of the film's pleasure to say that from his stubble to his accent to his posture, this is a very different version of Kyle Chandler. In my review from Sundance, I wrote that "Kyle Chandler is at his least Coach Taylor-y in  a key role," which I meant as a high compliment.
With "The Spectacular Now" expanding its theater count, I talked with Chandler this week about why he accepted this image-shifting role, why the part scared him and what he learned from the experience. We also discussed his Ridley Scott-directed Showtime pilot "The Vatican," but when I brought up a possible "Friday Night Lights" movie at the very end of the conversation... Well, you'll see.
HitFix: It seems like every high school reunion features a couple guys like your "Spectacular Now" character. Do you know guys like this? Are you friends with guys like this?
Kyle Chandler: No, I really don't have any friends that are that bad. I know a few of them, but not that I'm too acquainted with, so no. 
HitFix: Obviously the movie is structured so that Miles' character ends up judging his father and the audience will judge him as well, but I assume you can't judge. How did you build your understanding of this guy's way-of-life, of his ethos, as it were?

Kyle Chandler: I had the book to go back to and I sorta went back to my high school years and reflected a little bit back on what high school was like for me. If anything, I don't relate as much with the father as much as I relate with the character that Miles played. And within knowing the character that Miles played and relating to that more than, like I say, the father, I got an idea of what a father would do to a son. I'm not saying that my father was that man at all. But my father died when I was young and I was lost and it was just easy to relate to what that young man was going through in the story. So that's sorta the angle that I took on it. 
To be quite honest, when I saw the role, I initially said, "There's just no way." I didn't have interest in it. I finally realized that it was because it spooked me a little bit, because I just didn't know any character like this. I have two girls and my biggest pride and joy in my life has nothing to do with my career. It has to do with my family. I've taken the exact opposite path of this father and I've tried to pride myself on my family and so I just had no idea how you play a guy like this. It just seemed so utterly foreign to me. But, like I say, knowing the kid's position, what happened is I kept wrestling with it and I finally decided I had to take the role because it was bothering me so much and I was shying away from it because of that so much. 
I had a lot of time. I found out I had this role for about a month before I shot and I had another role at the same time for about a month, so both of them I got at around the same time and I started working through them. And then thing shot at the University of Georgia and the director, he graduated from the University of Georgia and I also went to University of Georgia, so I hopped in my Jeep and I drop straight through into Athens, Georgia, my old school town. I had a lot of insecurities and a lot of good memories, bad memories and everything else came back to me when I got there. It's almost like even being in the college atmosphere when I got there was part of the whole insecurity and distance from the scenes that I was working on. When we shot the first day -- this was a two-day thing -- it's right in my wheelhouse as to how we were shooting, because it's very quick and there's not much rehearsal and we were able to play with the dialogue and just try and find it. That's really enjoyable. There's pressure and there's also freedom. And, of course, the other two actors -- Shailene and Miles -- they're really wonderful actors and we had a wonderful director, so everything was set up for the perfect deal and we just jumped into it. I wish I could say I mapped something out for myself that was just perfect, but I'd have to say that at least half of it was just faith that when I got  there, I was gonna let the environment, let the other actors and let the research that I had take over. Truly, when I got onto the set, it was like stepping into that fog and we just sorta went from there.
That's basically how it happened. It's a funny situation, because it's done so well, but going into it, I had no idea. It's, "OK. I'm the dad. I know it's an important role." You go in, you go out. But after watching it, even I have to admit, it's pretty damn fun. It was a fun role to do and I like watching it on screen. What a son-of-a-bitch!
HitFix: Going off of that... We're so used to seeing you play characters who have the posture and the tone of authority on screen. What is the fun in getting to play a guy with totally different body language and tone?

Kyle Chandler: It was! It was very enjoyable. There was a lot of freedom there. He is a really fun character, because he's just so sad. He's so lonely and he's so childish and, the way I felt about him while I was doing it, he's a scared person. He lives on fear and booze. He's a lost soul. So yeah, it was interesting playing him.
You know what? One of the most difficult parts of it, walking away from it when I was done, was the realization of... Usually, myself, when I go into parts, I like to think that I know what I'm going to do with something and not so much mathematically tracking a character out, but you have a basic idea of what you want to do and what's expected of you. This was complete freedom. This was completely, "There are no rules here." This guy has no rules. His life is so loose and so untethered that as an actor trying to find his rules, you can't. It would be a disservice to yourself on the set. I didn't know all of that going in and I think that's what so exhilarating about it. It's the fear of, "I have no idea what's going to happen, absolutely no idea." And that's the character. He has no idea and I think the audience should have no idea what's going to happen. Certainly his son has no idea and I think that's the way the character probably lives and that's kinda the way that I approached the role in sense. 
HitFix: Being an actor seems to be a very Spectacular Now profession. You're going from role to role, often at the mercy of producers or studios or networks, so you're always living in the moment. Did that help the movie's themes resonate for you? [This was a "reach" question that did not work. I tried to rephrase it a couple times, but it never got clear, which is on me, obviously.]
Kyle Chandler: Yeah, I'm still not quite sure… The one thing that I'm thinking of while you're saying what you're saying if I'm getting you right... My acting teacher when I got out to LA, I was lucky enough to work with Milton Katselas and you usually go into these classes and you look around for a while and then you decide whether you want to join up and I did immediately and the first scene I did with him... He was this great guy. He was a fantastic guy. He used to call me once a week and he'd say, "Hey, what are you doing with your career?" In the morning, he'd wake me up. He was a very caring man. He said to me after our first scene that we did, he goes, "Why are you in my class?" And I knew immediately what to say, because it was true, and I said, "I love this class because I'm not only learning how to act, but you're also teaching what's holding us back from acting" and, in that sense, as a young actor, what you want to do is have things to grab onto, to act with. You want to chew up the scenery, but in this case, this character had nothing to grab onto. There was nothing, other than his glass on the table and the cigarette in his hand. And that's what I'm trying to say. That's just kinda what it is.
Every role is completely different. For me, this is a new tool in my box. I'm truly privileged and I'm glad I took this role on. I'm honored that James asked me to do it and for such a small time on screen, it probably taught me more about my acting and myself as an actor than many of the other roles that I've done in last few years. So for that, it's like a new color in my palette, so that was fantastic. People who are reading this may not know what the hell I'm talking about, but any actor will.
HitFix: Can you articulate a bit more on that, talk about what going forward you've been able to take from this experience and use? From that new color on your palette?
Kyle Chandler: I'm just saying it's a tool. It's somewhat esoteric. It's hard to really explain, but it's a tool that when I see certain roles now, I can grab back on this guy and use some of that. And I stretched myself a little bit by jumping into my own fear, by jumping outside the box with myself and that was just a positive thing to do.
HitFix: For a while, it seemed like you were being linked to every big TV project out there. Why was Showtime's "The Vatican" the pilot you saw yourself wanting to work on potentially for years to come?
Kyle Chandler: "The Vatican" was an easy project to say "Yes" to because it involved so many people that I respect so much, [people] that I knew and now I do know. Ridley Scott, it's the first television pilot that he's directed before. I have always loved his work, obviously. Well, not "obviously," but I've always loved his work and his brother's work. And then there's also David Nevins, who was involved with "Friday Night Lights." David Nevins, to me, is one of those people that you really, really hope to be involved with, just good people. It's hard for me to explain, but just everything about this, along with Amy Pascal and David and the whole group, it's just good people, as my dad used to say. And the material itself, everyone was just so excited about it and I also enjoyed the idea of the material and where the possibilities could go, so that's my reasoning for that.
HitFix: And what was it about the character in "Vatican" that drew you in?
Kyle Chandler: Well, "The Vatican" is about a young cardinal in New York who ordains a female priest again, obviously, the wishes of Roman Catholic Church. The greatest thing about the role for me, and a lot of these roles, is the research. And met a man who was excommunicated from the Catholic Church and I'd read a book of his and I went to see him a few states over and he also introduced me to some women who had been ordained as priests and I started doing a tremendous amount of research on the Catholic Church. I was raised in the Catholic Church when I was young, but I left. I pretty much stopped going after my father died when I was very young. At any rate, as Pete Berg used to say about "Friday Night Lights," the Catholic Church is fertile ground for storytelling. I like the idea of a character who bucks the system and speaking to this woman priest who was ordained and her story, she was able to give me everything I needed to give me the reasoning why I would do it. That and, again, the people with the whole thing.
I saw a story a story about a man who goes from New York to Rome and it's that fish-out-of-water kinda situation and I always like that. It's fun to play. 
You've also got Paul [Attanasio] who's the writer. He's a tremendous writer and you've just got an immense chance of opportunities for storytelling down the line, so that's why I took it. 
HitFix: And an obligatory "Friday Night Lights" movie question: The show had three perfect endings. Are you excited about all of the talk about a hypothetical movie? Or do you approach it with wariness and caution?
Kyle Chandler: I'll skip that question. [He chuckles.]
"The Spectacular Now" is now in theaters.

Aug 29, 2013

Kyle Chandler Doesn't Want a 'Friday Night Lights' Movie, But Is He Right?

Vince Bucci/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

All you Friday Night Lights fans out there (so everyone with a heart), brace yourselves for huge disappointment. Kyle Chandler, Coach Taylor himself, isn't interested in turning the beloved, canceled show into a movie. I know. The despair hits you immediately, right in the heart — which was full while your eyes were clear, as per Coach's instructions. The thing is, you can't even be mad at Coach, I mean Chandler, because he only has good things to say about the show and its producers, as he told BuzzFeed:
Jason Katims and Pete Berg and those guys kept it alive, kept the material so fresh, and ended the thing so perfectly. I think that’s a tribute to those guys. I like the ending of the show as much as I like the whole thing in the sense that it was just done so classy, it was just done so well. Hats off to those guys.
Before you get too excited over how that itself isn't a rejection of the movie, BuzzFeed then asked Chandler if that meant he'd rather leave the show as it ended and not bring it back as a movie, to which he replied, "Yep...That was a great experience, I really loved it." As upsetting as all of this is, especially considering the recent news that Mrs. Coach, Connie Britton, had a script for the potential movie just a few weeks ago, Chandler kind of has a point — kind of. Here's why he's both right and wrong about how Friday Night Lights shouldn't be a movie:

Why He's Right


Everything Chandler said about the Friday Night Lights finale was correct. The final episodes were perfect. All of the Panthers from the earlier seasons had some kind of closure, while the newer East Dillon Lions were given special send-offs of their own. And, in the very end, it all came down to that core of the show: Eric and Tami Taylor. The royal couple of Texas football headed to Philadelphia, because they loved each other and it was Tami's turn. There's not a single character who's future was left unclear.

Then there are the actors. Much of the show's cast has found some sort of success since Friday Night Lights ended, most notably Chandler, Britton, Michael B. Jordan, and Jesse Plemons. Let's not forget the size of the cast either, with more than a football team's worth of main characters over the show's five seasons. It would likely be difficult to get all of them together at once, and I don't think Friday Night Lights can pull off an Arrested Development-style reunion, where characters don't actually reunite very often.

Why He's Wrong


To sum it up, BECAUSE WE NEED THAT MOVIE. I love Katims' current project, Parenthood, but it's just not the same. Yes, the finale let us know where everyone was headed, but then what? I want to see Coach and Tami's life in Philadelphia. Is she still the Dean of Admissions or is there now a whole Tami Taylor University? Did Coach turn an apathetic Pennsylvania town into a Texas-like football-crazed community? There are so many questions. Did Tim finish building his ranch and end up with Tyra like the finale hinted, or did Lyla come back for him? What college did Vince end up going to? Are Matt and Julie still in Chicago? I could go on for hours.

Yes, the show had a good ending, but that doesn't mean it had to be the very end. There are plenty more stories to tell, there have to be. Friday Night Lights was a character-driven show, and that means as long as you have those characters, the plot will follow.

Should He Do It?


In my least-biased-possible opinion? Absolutely, and I think it's still a very real possibility. With the right script, Chandler will see that there is more left to Coach. If he loved the first ending that Katims came up with, he's bound to love another. If it comes down to it, I'm sure the woman who played his wife for five years can convince him it's worth the chance. All he needs is a good old-fashioned Coach Taylor motivational speech.

Until then, we'll be waiting nervously for more news, like the Panthers staring down the field to see if they get the final touchdown. Texas forever.

Images: NBC
Note from us at KCC:  We support Kyle Chandler in whatever he chooses, or doesn't choose, to do.

Thank you, LindainCA!

Kyle Chandler On Playing A Bad Dad In 'The Spectacular Now'

kyle chandler the spectacular now
Kyle Chandler stars in "The Spectacular Now."

"Friday Night Lights" fans might find it hard to believe that Coach Taylor played one of the summer's worst parents, but there's Kyle Chandler breaking hearts in "The Spectacular Now." The coming-of-age drama casts Chandler as a deadbeat dad, the kind of guy who loves Key West more than any person not named Jimmy Buffett should and finds getting drunk preferable with hanging out with his estranged son.

"I feel like Kyle as Coach Taylor is sort of a throwback to a Gary Cooper, or a Henry Fonda, or a Jimmy Stewart: this profoundly decent bedrock of a great father and a great coach," director James Ponsoldt told Vulture after "The Spectacular Now" debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January. "And I was so excited to cast that guy as a raging narcissist and a horrible father! I wanted to just destroy all of your feelings about Coach Taylor. And I hope I succeeded!"

He did: Chandler, an Emmy winner for "Friday Night Lights," has earned some of the best reviews of his career for "The Spectacular Now," and the 47-year-old actor told HuffPost Entertainment that he would like it to lead to other against-type parts.

"I certainly hope it does," Chandler said about the prospect of "The Spectacular Now" changing how he's viewed in Hollywood. "I'd like to go more in that direction and play around with it as well, but [we'll see]." (Chandler's hope is likely part of the reason why he continues to shoot down rumblings of a "Friday Night Lights" movie, as he did most recently in an interview with BuzzFeed.)

Ahead, Chandler explains why he almost passed on "The Spectacular Now," how the film made him a better actor and what it was like to work with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio in "Wolf of Wall Street."

This character is a big departure from the kind of roles you've played in the past. Was this a concerted effort to do something so against what has become your type?

No. No at all. When I first got the offer and I read the book [by Tim Tharp] and the script, I was like, "No, no no." The reason being that the role spooked me. He only pops up real quickly, you absolutely have nothing to grab on to, and his actions are so bizarre and out in left field. I couldn't figure out how I was going to play the guy, and if I screwed this part up, it screws up the movie. It's the most important part in the film, with regard to what happens in the rest of the film.

How did you finally decide that you could play this character?

It was in little pieces. I had the role for a long time before we went to shoot, which was a blessing and a curse at the same time. I started working on this material early, and then I realized that I couldn't do that because it would drive me nuts. So I had to put it away. I couldn't see him at all. I was trying to make sense of what he was doing. I finally realized what to do when I was driving to Georgia for the film -- I was thinking about being this other person and I realized that there was nothing to grab onto because he doesn't make sense. He's not rational. He's irrational. I was like, "Oh! I got it! Here we go!" At that point, I took my shoes off and drove into Georgia.

That's wild.

What I'm saying is that I had to let everything go. The hardest thing for me as an actor in this role was having nothing and acting completely free to do whatever. That's like jumping off a cliff in the dark for an actor. That, along with knowing that it was an important role, knowing that it was a small production, having never working with James, but talking with him on the phone -- so I trust him, but then again I don't really trust him ... it was just one of those things that it all came together. The main reason I took it was that it scared me.

Were you happy with the results?

What it did for me as an actor is that it gave me a whole new set of tools with this new kind of character. It also allowed me to be completely free and just go on trusting within myself and within my craft. I had never that done before. I've done big things and I've done small things, but this was specifically different from all those things, and yet it was one of the greatest lessons I ever had.

When did you realize that it had all come together?

I didn't really know all this until I saw it. When I went away from the whole thing. I was a little bit like, "What the eff did I just do." When I saw it, I was like, "Holy cow, that worked! It makes sense. On top of that, I really hate that guy onscreen." It was a really fun experience. It was everything you want: scary, fun, I learned a lot. I think it changed me as an actor more than a lot of things I've done in the past.

You've played a lot of dads and government officials in your film career, and done that very well. What do you want to do onscreen going forward?

I get that question from everyone, including my wife. I can't really say. I love playing all those characters, so it's just a matter of reading the script. I have to see what goes on and how the guy works. It's about the material. I really feel fortunate now, though, that I can look at something and get a sense and a feel for it. When something is right, I really feel that I know it's right; when something is wrong, I really get a strong sense that something is wrong. Because of that, I can find out why it's wrong and that tells me a lot about the whole project. In my mind anyway. It has been a pretty good radar so far.

Was there a moment when that kind of clicked for you?

The day I had my very first shot of whiskey [laughs]. No, I don't know. It just comes after just doing it for a long time. I'm not trying to make it some kind of mystical thing. Plus, being able to do it sort of spooks you, because you might be guiding yourself down the wrong path. On this one, as I said, just looking at it made my stomach turn: "How the hell am I going to do this?"

You're in "Wolf of Wall Street," and the trailer has this great moment where Leonardo DiCaprio's character throws a lobster at your character, among other things. What was filming that film like?

I'll tell you what: Everything that I do, I have a good time doing, but that was the greatest experience. I didn't know Leo, but it didn't take more than five minutes before he makes you feel very comfortable and that you're his equal. That you're working together. He was very professional. I really like him. I love his work, too -- I think he's really fantastic.

As far as Martin Scorsese is concerned, you might think that you're going to sit down in front of Martin Scorsese and be nervous. He, as well, couldn't have been more enjoyable to be around. I'd be on the set and I'd have an idea and say, "You know, what about this?" He's already 10 steps ahead of you, although he'll entertain your idea. When you finally express the little change that he's got, it's like, "Oh, yeah." Listen, he's one of the greatest filmmakers ever. I got to be with the man for all those days of shooting we did. It was just incredible.

"The Spectacular Now" is out nationwide.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Thank you, LindainCA!

Aug 28, 2013

Kyle Chandler Is Not Interested In A "Friday Night Lights" Movie

Coach says he’s happy with the way the football series ended. Plus, he shares his thoughts on playing the anti-hero in The Spectacular Now and Affleck as Batman.

NBC, Bill Records / AP

By international TV law, the first thing that must be covered in an interview with Kyle Chandler is the lingering ghost of Friday Night Lights, the dearly departed high-school football drama, and the long-rumored and hoped-for follow-up film.

As adherents to the televisual legal code, BuzzFeed asked Chandler about said movie adaptation during an interview about his role in the lovely coming-of-age drama The Spectacular Now.

Friday Night Lights was a great movie, and the TV show. After five shots at it, five seasons, as it went on, it got smaller and smaller and smaller, and it almost got canceled. We were up against American Idol the first year and it got moved,” Chandler said, recapping the long saga of the low-rated but critically-adored show, based on the 2004 film adaptation of H.G. Bissinger’s book of the same name. “[Producers] Jason Katims and Pete Berg and those guys kept it alive, kept the material so fresh, and ended the thing so perfectly. I think that’s a tribute to those guys. I like the ending of the show as much as I like the whole thing in the sense that it was just done so classy, it was just done so well. Hats off to those guys.”

So, was that a way of saying that he’d rather just preserve the show as is, and not revive it in movie form?

“Yep,” Chandler said simply. “That was a great experience, I really loved it. I still keep in touch with the people quite closely.”

Chandler in Argo

It’s hard to blame him; he ended the show on a high note, winning an Emmy for his role as everyone’s favorite tough-but-fair high-school football coach Eric Taylor. Chandler has since moved on from “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” to a successful film career with major roles in two Best Picture-nominated CIA dramas last year, Zero Dark Thirty and the ultimate winner, Argo.

His director on the latter, Ben Affleck, just signed on as Batman in WB’s Man of Steel sequel, and to say there’s been backlash is an understatement. Initially, Chandler did not want to comment on the recent piece of news, but when BuzzFeed suggested that it seemed like a fun casting — and that the internet, as is its wont, may have over-reacted — he chimed in a bit.

“What I hope is that he nails it and I hope he looks at everyone and says, ‘Take that!’” Chandler said.

As for his current project, The Spectacular Now, the actor has a small-but-important part as the mysterious father of lost teen soul Sutter Keely (played by Miles Teller) and he turns out to be quite the disappointment once his son tracks him down.

It’s a complete about-face from the stand-up Coach Taylor and Chandler admits he took the role in part because, upon first reading the script, he had no idea how he could tap into someone who is, as Chandler put it, “that much of a fuck up.”

“You look at the material and say, ‘Wow who the hell is this guy? And if you screw this up, Kyle, you’re going to screw up their movie,’” the actor explained. “I don’t know fathers like this. I have no basis to put on a father that is that delinquent, that much of a fuck up, but what I did get, when I was 14, I lost my father. He passed away. That’s where I sort of delved into, because I knew the kids’ loss because basically, his father was dead to him. That kid was going through his trouble. When I was 14, I went through my trouble. For two-to-three years, it was a wild ride. That, I could relate to.”

Sutter is a heavy drinker for an 18-year-old high-school senior. He’s a good kid with a broken compass, headed for a life adrift after he’s unmoored by graduation. And Chandler knew the character well.

“Just a kid, young with no father, raised by his mom, no guidance and on his own, trying to figure out the rules of everything on his own, making all the mistakes that you make trying to figure it out,” the actor remembered. “I think it’s pretty clear the kid has a good heart; I think when I was a kid, I had a good sense of what I wanted to be, but I didn’t have the knowledge inside of me to know who that was.”

Chandler, Teller and co-star Shailene Woodley

Next, Chandler will star as the progressive Cardinal Thomas Duffy of New York in Showtime’s drama The Vatican — if the Ridley Scott-directed pilot gets picked up, that is. His fingers are crossed since he says the show has a lot of room for intriguing exploration.

“A priest, you’d think there’s only so much you can do, but this isn’t your normal set of people talking about priests,” Chandler explained. “When I started looking into doing research into the Catholic Church and really doing research — meeting priests who had been excommunicated and meeting women priests that had been ordained in the States here — all of a sudden I realized what a story all of this is. I was raised in the Catholic Church until I was 14, but once I started really looking at what’s right in front of you, I think it’s fertile, fertile ground for storytelling.”

That being said, don’t expect a scandal-of-the-week type saga from the show.

“That’s what I was worried about, that it was a ‘Let’s tear down the Catholic Church,’ but it’s not,” Chandler insisted. “It’s smart, it’s intelligent and it’s fun. It’s not what you’d expect. It’s not, ‘Let’s put all the scandals on the table and look at them.’ It goes beyond that.”

The actor expects to learn the fate of The Vatican sometime after Labor Day, but until then, Chandler will be getting his mind off of work with a three-day motorcycle adventure, from Texas to Florida, where he will be spending time on an old friend’s fishing boat. It’s his way of unplugging from the Hollywood grind.

“I’m the guy who goes to the parties and people think because of what I do, [they] think that I know everything,” Chandler said. “I surprise them immensely with my lack of knowledge of anything to do with certainly personal items about people and who they’re married to and all that stuff. It’s just not in my wheelhouse right now, I don’t have enough time to keep up with it.”

Thanks again, Amazing Grace!

Dialogue: Kyle Chandler Explains Why 'The Spectacular Now' Scared Him and What He Learned from It

Aug 27, 2013

Kyle Chandler is the Man. All fans of Friday Night Lights know that. But if you've never seen that fantastic television show, you still probably recognize his status as the Man thanks to roles in movies like Super 8, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, where he tends to always play, well, the man in charge. That is not the case in The Spectacular Now.

Yes, Chandler is great (as always) in the film, but this is a different sort of role for the film and TV veteran. In it he plays the absentee father of Miles Teller's character, Sutter, who is more like his father than he'd like to know. Chandler is only in the film for a few scenes, but they're some of the most meaningful and potent in it--and that's saying something considering The Spectacular Now is bursting with heart from beginning to end.

James Ponsoldt's film expands nationwide this week, which gave us the honor of chatting with Chandler on the phone about the role, why he was afraid to accept it, as well as how it's changed what kind of movies he'd like to make. And, of course, we had to ask about the rumored Friday Night Lights movie. One of the most compelling things about this film is how it approaches the idea that you can become your parents even if they're not in your life. At what point in your own life did you realize that you were becoming your father, for better or worse?

Kyle Chandler: Every day. Every day I've been a parent, literally. I know the good things of my father, and the bad things of my father. He passed away when I was younger, but nonetheless, the bad things I always keep an eye on and try to not let come out. The good things... I hug my kids every day. Every single day, tell them you love them.

Another thing that's interesting, as I get older. My dad was 54 when he died, and he'd always wear bifocals and this and that, and now that I'm wearing glasses I know for a fact that I have the same exact gestures, the same exact tone in my voice. I am my father. There's no other way about it, and that's really interesting. You play a lot of characters that just exude authority, like you can always tell they're in charge of a room. And here your character has that same air, but for a very different reason. Did that change your approach to it at all?

Chandler: This character was really strange. It's the smallest part in the film, but it's arguably the most important part of the film when Miles meets his father, so when I looked at the script and read the book and everything, my biggest concern was, "I am going to f**k this up." [Laughs] "I am going to ruin their film if I take this role and don't do it right."

I was really hesitant to take the role because it's a really hard role to grab. It seems simple enough. There's only a few scenes when you go in to do this thing, but it scared the hell out of me. There's nothing to grab onto in the character, and I don't think it was until it was done and I could see what ended up on-screen that I could tell how I came to that performance. I realized that the key to doing that role was to let everything go and just trust it. The guy has no rhyme or reason. He doesn't go from A to B to C. It just doesn't work that way. He goes from A to Z to G, and it's sort of hard to play that and make all of that happen.

I was concerned that it wouldn't come out that we wouldn't get a good sense of this guy with what little time we had to do it. And the material... as an actor and a playwright, you're used to an arc. This guy is just out there. There's no path to anything. It was all, "Create your own path and just come out to Georgia and let's shoot this thing!" [Laughs] It just all worked out the right way. I'm glad I didn't ruin their film. Was there something about James Ponsoldt that convinced you to take that risk both personally and professionally?

Chandler: I liked the film. I've done a lot of small parts in little movies because I just like the films and there's great people doing it. You get the sense that these are little key roles. They're important. They're not the main characters, but they're supporting and they mean a lot, and it's fun to get in there and carve a niche out of characters like that. This one was more difficult because it was like trying to climb a stainless steel wall.

Towards the end it all just happened and what I did to get there worked, but at first I just had no way of jumping in there. But one of the reasons I had to is because of exactly what I'm telling you. The second and third times I read the script my stomach hurt, because I knew. I mean, it physically hurt, and I knew I had to do it because I was scared of it. And I'm really glad that I challenged myself with that because what I learned coming away from it is one of the greatest lessons I've learned in my acting career in quite some time. It's like a new set of tools in your toolbox, and it also made me realize I need to kick myself in the ass and jump outside of the box more often. Has that seen any fruition yet? Has it actively changed what you're pursuing as an actor?

Chandler: There have been a few things that have come up that I've certainly considered far differently. I guess my next project didn't reveal that to be the case, in the sense that I'm playing a priest, but the truth is that it's a little like that because I didn't want to play a priest because you're sort of confined. It's a different kind of deal.

I watched Bonnie and Clyde not too long ago. You watch that, and it's a pretty simple movie, but it's all about those characters. In that final scene, when they look at each other before getting all shot up, it all comes back to that. And that's what you look for. I'm always looking for those moments inside of characters that really grabs you. So it's changing the type of role you're looking for? Or is the challenge also the scale of the production?

Chandler: I'm a family man. I like spending time with my family. If I was going to go to another state and do 23 episodes of another television show, I'd be spending nine months away from my family. But if I can go somewhere and do a 12-episode show, that gives me time to work and time to be with my family and maybe do other projects. So in that sense, timewise, sure it's changing. But once my kids are graduated and in college, I can pretty much go anywhere and do anything because my wife and I can pick up and head out. But right now my family is a big consideration with what I do and where I go. One theory is that you prefer to do smaller roles in big ensembles because it fits your lifestyle as a family man.

Chandler: Well, hold on. It's not just because of my family that I don't do bigger roles in bigger films. It's also because I don't get offered bigger roles in bigger films. [Laughs] I appreciate the compliment, but I'm still plugging along here, trying to make it happen, too. But that is a big consideration, especially in television. If you're a lead character, you have to be there. Features are a bit different because you can go away and do a feature in two to three months.

I miss the idea of movies of the week. Remember when they used to do movies of the week? Event television does seem to be making a bit of a comeback as miniseries.

Chandler: I would think it'd be for the writers as well, but even as a performer, to be able to go in and do four good hours of television that are split up... I remember doing a few of them when I was younger, and it was a nice way to do it. NBC seems to be getting back into that, with Rosemary's Baby and a few other pieces of "event television."

Chandler: Isn't that funny? It seems to be coming full cycle again. Did you watch Elisabeth Moss in Top of the Lake? My wife and I watched it in two days. It's great, and she's great. I really love her. She's a great actress. Do you have any interest in moving into feature directing?

Chandler: Not right now. It's too many questions you gotta answer and I'm still trying to learn how to act, yet alone direct. I've directed two episodes of television since I've been doing this and I think I would love to direct a play. I don't know about directing a movie. That's way above. I am not in that area.

I like working with the actors for sure, but with TV, a lot of it was just time management. That's what a TV director's life is. But with Friday Night Lights, it was really enjoyable because of the way we shot the show. And of course everyone has your back. Are there any on-the-record updates about the rumored Friday Night Lights movie?

Chandler: I don't have any, no. Are you trying to get any films or TV shows back in Austin?

Chandler: I have tried to get two projects to come into town here, and I've come really close with both of them, one even closer than the other. That's a big goal of mine, and it's possible. I'm waiting to find out about a show, and if that doesn't go, there may be some other possibilities to bring it here. But I definitely – definitely – always have in the back of my mind of working in Austin and with the Austin crews and bringing back together all the Friday Night Lights people that I can. Absolutely. That is absolutely always in the back of my mind.

Thank you, Amazing Grace!

Aug 23, 2013

'The Spectacular Now' is a gem of a teen romance

"Sutter eventually finds his way to Dad, and that devastating meeting - heartbreakingly rendered, without being overplayed - lends the film a distinctly blacker note.  It also gives a chance for the excellent Kyle Chandler, whom we know in noble and likeable roles, to flex his muscles in an unlikeable, even pathetic one."

For more on this review, go here:

Aug 22, 2013

‘The Spectacular Now’ a credible, real-world film about teens

"Miles Teller holds his own as Sutter, but Shailene Woodley and veteran actor Kyle Chandler steal the show. Aimee’s awkward laughs and naiveté are spot-on and her big emotional scene, a teenage “I love you” that could easily play as silly and cute, is instead full of a rawness rarely seen from a young performer in a high-school role.

Chandler has notably played a series of businessman-types (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Argo”), a football coach on “Friday Night Lights” and, if your memory stretches back far enough, an unassuming man who can forecast the future via a day-early newspaper on “Early Edition,” but he’s something entirely different in “The Spectacular Now.”

Tommy is a deadbeat, a drunk and wholly unreliable, and Chandler absolutely owns his scenes in the film, putting on a magnetic performance that is all nerves and tics."

To read the full review, go here:

Aug 9, 2013

Exclusive: A Photo Essay on the Making of ‘The Spectacular Now’

And that’s all without mentioning the great Kyle Chandler, not just a stellar performer but a prince among men.

Kyle turned down first-class airfare and drove himself from Texas to Georgia. Why? Because he thought it would be the best way to prepare himself for the role. As he drove, he took pages and pages of copious notes on his character—a character who appears in one scene and shoots for a day and a half. Why? Because he’s awesome.

Kyle was the emotional rock of Friday Night Lights; a reliable husband, father, and coach, a pillar of the community. In The Spectacular Now he plays Tommy Keely, Sutter’s long-absent father. It was our dream to cast Kyle in this role not just because he’s a fine actor but because he’s so beloved.

When the door opens and it’s Coach Taylor, what could possibly go wrong? Well, just you wait. If you only know Kyle Chandler as Coach Taylor, get ready for something very different.
For the rest of this awesome photo essay, go here:

Connie Britton Has 'Friday Night Lights' Movie Script In Her Possession, Y'All!

Evan Agostini/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

There is a lot of uplifting Friday Night Lights news today. First of all, Zach Gilford's wedding photos were just released, and they're gorgeous. Matt Saracen has exquisite taste, y'all — 7 really turned it out for his big day. The only thing wrong with Gilford's wedding was that Julie Taylor wasn't the bride, but speaking of Matt and Julie's incomplete destiny, there's news on that front, too. Connie Britton told Ladies' Home Journal that she has a Friday Night Lights movie script in her possession.

In her possession! It's all happening.

She told the magazine: "I have the script for a potential movie spin-off of FNL. I think it’s just a matter of finding a time when everyone can do it."

"Finding" a time? When it comes to the movie that we've all been waiting for since we sat sobbing, sweating, on our microfiber couches watching in disbelief as Season 5 came to an end, you don't "find time", you make time. You get Kyle Chandler on the phone and you tell him to stop taking small roles as government officials in Oscar-worthy movies (remember him in both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty?) and you tell him to get out his whistle and his fucking cleats, because it's go time.

The news of the script is especially inspiriting because it shows progress. Last year, director Peter Berg revealed the that movie script was very close to being done, and now that it is, production can't be too far off, can it?

If it's in Connie's hands, literally, we feel pretty good about it.

Aug 5, 2013

'Spectacular Now's Kyle Chandler And Other 'Friday Night Lights' Alums Who Finally Found Their Place

Kyle Chandler

Chandler has the talent, the looks, and the charm to be a leading man, and it's about time he got his due. While his role in August's The Spectacular Now is small, he gives a massive performance, cementing himself as a powerhouse actor willing to break type. He'll be appearing in November's Oscar-bait The Wolf of Wall Street, and has a major role in The Vatican, an upcoming TV movie. Image: A24