I was able to interview both Buddy Garrity, Sr. (Brad Leland) and Buddy Garrity, Jr. (Jeff Rosick) from Friday Night Lights back to back today at the ATX Festival in Austin. Since the show ended, Leland has been on shows like Justified and Veep, while Rosick has been busy scoring television commercials and some movies.
Jared Munson – I grew up loving both Friday Night Lights the movie and show and you were one of the few who were in both.
Brad Leland – Yeah, you know Jason Street’s mom was actually one of the booster moms in the movie too. People forget about that.
Jared – Was the dynamic different from the movie to the TV show?
Brad – It was because of [director] Pete Berg. We want to really let the actors have it. Inhabit the characters and go for it, if you want to add stuff, try stuff, do it. That went to everyone. It was his style of shooting.
Jared – Can you believe how much the show has resonated with fans this many years later? Does it surprise you at all?
Brad – No, it doesn’t. Not only that, but we have many new ones because it continues to rerun. People who have had a preconceived notion of it find out what its really about. It became something that filtered through all the townspeople, everyone.
Jared – What do you think Buddy Garrity is doing today?
Brad – Probably nothing different other than I expect the restaurant and bar have gotten larger. He still goes to the games, and still has the same thing…he never leaves. Maybe they finally gave him a girlfriend or a new wife or something. Poor Buddy for all those years didn’t get to have a date.
Jared – What do you think Buddy Jr. is doing today?
Jeff Rosick – I hope he’s not just a barfly or a college bum. I see him on a beach somewhere. He is living the beach life, flip flops. I think he’s taking up surfing, he has a surfboard that sits in his room and collects dust and says he’s a surfer. He’s having fun somewhere.
Jared – Do you feel cable television is getting all the good shows today?
Brad – Absolutely. I absolutely believe the quality is in it – I don’t know why. The networks seem to be focusing on news and sports and giant events, and a lot of people have left the networks where they have more freedom probably.
Jeff – I feel like the networks are focused more towards family in a very broad sense. Cable gets to explore things like Fargo, a little more adult and the stories I want to be involved in. But everything is so in flux with social media and so many distribution methods and content.
Jared – What is your favorite episode – it might change a lot.
Brad – Absolutely, I have no idea. Was it the first one, or was it the last one? Because the show wrapped itself up, maybe. I don’t have a favorite.
Jared – What does being a TV fan mean to you?
Brad – TV started in the fifties when I was a kid, I got to see it from the beginning. Nothing has changed. You still sit with your family and watch your favorite shows.
Jeff – I think it’s a powerful thing to perpetuate storytelling, especially nowadays. While there is an absence of some wholesome things on television, I still think the human stories being told are so unique and numerous and part of humanity as well. That distribution method versus film is great and is inspiring.
Jared – What are you currently enjoying on TV and what do you think Buddy is enjoying? I have a feeling they are two different things.
Brad – I love Ray Donovan, I love Fargo and House of Cards, but I watch a lot of sports. Those are the things I would immediately say. I love Kyle [Chandler’s] show Bloodline. I love watching my friends. I guess Buddy watches…what would Buddy be watching? Buddy would probably be watching sports.
Jeff – I feel like actually Bud would love Z-Nation. I just got caught up with season four finale of The Americans. What an amazing show in every aspect. House of Cards, of course. I really like The Expanse on SyFy. It’s really, really cool. SyFy is coming out with a lot of programming that is really rich and exciting and their production values have gone way up.
You can catch Brad Leland this fall in the new Peter Berg film Deepwater Horizon as well as on HBO’s Veep. You can see Jeff Rosick this Thursday on the second season premiere of Aquarius on NBC.