Taylor Kitsch Takes a Trip Down Memory Lane to Talk Friday Night Lights and His Former Costars
It's been "years and years" since Taylor Kitsch reunited with his Friday Night Lights costars, and he can't wait to spend time with his former castmates this weekend. Thanks to Marriott Rewards, Kitsch is teaming up with Zach Gilford, Minka Kelly, and Aimee Teegarden to compete in Saturday's Spartan Race in Chicago, where the group will be tackling obstacles and, as Kitsch joked, possibly calling Kyle Chandler for a prerace pep talk, Coach Taylor style.
Over the past few years, the 35-year-old actor has starred in movies like John Carter, Battleship, and Lone Survivor, and last year he was back on the small screen with True Detective. It was his breakout role as FNL's Tim Riggins, though, that made him a household name, and to talk to Kitsch is to remember why his popular character is such a fan favorite. Like Riggins, Kitsch is charming and quick with the one-liners — which makes sense, considering how often he says he improvised lines for the character. As we chatted, I found myself laughing out loud as Kitsch gamely answered questions about his former costars, the best offscreen moments, and whether he'll bring back that Riggins hair. (Spoiler alert: that's not really something he thinks about.)
POPSUGAR: Ahead of this weekend, Zach Gilford, Minka Kelly, and Aimee Teegarden have posted some pictures of themselves training and practicing the spear throw. Have you guys been getting pretty competitive about the race?
Taylor Kitsch: I think we will more on the day. I don’t have any social media, but if I did, I would be all over that.
PS: So with you guys training and competing, does that mean you’re not going to pull a Riggins move and have a few beers beforehand?
TK: Why wouldn’t I? (Laughs.) I think you’ve got to earn it, so we’ll do it sober and maybe kick back one or two after.
PS: Without Kyle Chandler there, who’s going to give you guys the prerace pep talk? Are you going to take that on?
TK: Oh man, that’s a good question. We could always FaceTime Coach, and it would still be just as powerful because he’s that good. I don’t know, Riggins is a man of few words. He’s a guy who leads by action.
PS: It’s been more than five years since that final episode aired, and the last time we saw Riggins, he was building his house with Billy and he had that moment with Tyra, saying he didn’t have plans. Where do you like to think he ended up?
TK: I probably have quadruplets with Tyra. No, the way we left it was just so, in my humble opinion, perfect, you know? And I loved that we left it that way. I don’t think he’d ever leave that place, to be honest, but you never know. I don’t think he would be back in prison. He’d still be tipping a few back, though.
PS: Looking back, do you have a favorite FNL scene or episode?
TK: Oh man, that’s impossible.
PS: Any behind-the-scenes, offscreen moments that stand out to you?
TK: Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff that you guys couldn’t see where we would improv such ridiculous stuff to break each other. But I loved doing that kind of stuff. We had so much freedom. I loved the improv part of it, and Riggins could really go anywhere, so that was the beauty of him.
PS: Just saying, but it was announced that the Friday Night Lights cast will be at the ATX Television Festival this weekend, and soon after the Gilmore Girls cast reunited there, a Netflix reboot was announced. Would you hop on board if there was a Friday Night Lights reboot of some kind?
TK: That’s a thousand percent negative. I would not. We just left it so well. And just as an actor, personally, you just want to keep pushing yourself and it would be a couple steps backward, really.
PS: Switching gears a bit, you know those high school awards like class clown, most talkative, that kind of thing? I read once that you were voted funniest in your class.
TK: That’s true.
PS: If I call out a few of those awards, will you name the Friday Night Lights cast member that comes to mind? The actual person, not the character.
TK: Yeah, sure, hit it.
PS: Who was the class clown on set?
TK: Probably me.
PS: Best laugh?
TK: Gaius [Charles] had a great one.
PS: Best nickname?
TK: Man, I don’t know, they’re all kind of boring.
PS: Biggest flirt?
TK: Biggest flirt . . . man, that’s tough. Probably [Scott] Porter.
PS: And last but not least: Best hair?
TK: Probably Connie [Britton].
PS: Obviously, as a follow-up to the best hair question, I have to ask — any plans to bring the Riggins hair back?
TK: You know, it all depends on the job. If it calls for long hair, I’d grow it. I just don’t think that far ahead. (Laughs.) I’m not looking in the mirror going, "Wow, in eight months I could have some really great flow going."
PS: I appreciate you answering all these Friday Night Lights questions! The theme song has actually been my ringtone since the show was on the air, so it really is my all-time favorite.
TK: Oh awesome, of course, I appreciate that . . . But that’s such a somber song, I’m surprised that’s your ringtone.
PS: I know, but every time it plays, people will shout out, “Texas forever.” Like, every time.
TK: Wow. That’s awesome. Very cool.
PS: Circling back to this weekend’s race, how did the reunion come about, and when is the last time you guys reunited?
TK: You’ve got to give Marriott a shout-out for putting this together. It wouldn’t have happened without them. I haven’t seen [the cast] in years and years, and it’ll bring back a lot of memories. It’s been a while, so I’m excited to compete with them and hang out and just be a part of the Spartan Race. It’s going to be such a fun day, and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about.