One of the biggest Emmy snubs — now two years running! — is the exclusion of Connie Britton for her pitch-perfect performance as Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights. For two years, she's played Tami's highs (helping troubled Tyra get her act together) and lows (slapping daughter Julie outside after a particularly troublesome act of teen rebellion) with just the right balance of drama and humor — and, when season three begins, she'll find Tami in a demanding new job.
At NBC's party at the TCA press tour, I stole a few minutes with Britton, who was just back from a trip to Uganda and Kenya with One and the Africa Children's Choir. Despite jet lag — and the fact that I was the only person between her and a glass of wine — Britton was still incredibly gracious in our chat (just as I'd always suspected she'd be). The first question is a wee bit spoilery, but if you want to see the highlights, just read more.
So, when the show comes back, you'll be principal. Will that create some sort of rift with Coach down the line?
Don't you think that that is going to rock Kyle Chandler's character to the core? His ego — do you really think he can take that kind of thing?
I mean, he wasn't even really cool with the guidance counselor thing.
Exactly — that's my point! So, we'll see.
Where's baby Gracie in all of this?
I don't know. I actually was talking to one of our directors last night, and I said "Is baby Gracie gonna still be there?" and he goes, "I'm hoping you have some real good child care." I think she probably will be in child care. But I love working with those babies [the triplets who play Grace], so hopefully they'll be around a lot.
Where do you think Tami's been in the past eight months?
I would like to think that maybe she just spent a lot of time getting her life kind of situated and trying to adjust to having two children instead of one and still have the career that she's fought so hard for. Obviously if she comes back as principal, she's been doing something right. I don't know how messed up and haggard she's going to be from the whole thing, but I think that she's probably been really trying to juggle a lot of different tasks.
How do you get at your relationship with Julie? It feels so real.
I think that the writing is so great — the writing just really kind of guides us. And then [Aimee Teegarden] and I have a great dynamic, so I feel like it just sort of unfolds. I'm actually not a mother, so I'm just kind of going with it, really.
What are some of your favorite parts of playing Tami?
I love playing her Southern-ness. That's a really important aspect of the character, and to me, she's sort of an amalgam of a lot of different Southern women. Also, what's important about that is [her] sense of humor, and so I love finding places where I can find her sense of humor. I think that's the way she deals with a lot of the things that come up in her life.