“Ballers” has a knack for tying in real-life NFL headlines, but co-star Rob Corddry would be fine if the Dwayne Johnson-starring show steers clear of the current discussion surrounding the national anthem.
Corddry, who plays Joe Krutel on the HBO comedy that aired its Season 3 finale last Sunday, told TheWrap that he doesn’t expect or want the show to address the ongoing debate over players kneeling during the national anthem that has become a wedge issue for President Donald Trump.
“I personally think Trump just made this a story, and he’s also kind of backed off on it,” the actor said. “So it was a very quick thing, and I think by the time that we start shooting in February, compared to all the other stuff that Trump is famous for now, it will be fairly forgotten. Or at least I hope so because it’s so silly. It’s so silly.”
Corddry referred to himself as a “patriot” and said that if he were a football player, he would stand up with his teammates during the anthem, as would the former athletes who work on the show.
“But again, this is all nonsense that we’re talking about,” he added with a laugh. “I think also that the players and the teams, the owners also, from what I assume, probably recognize it as nonsense as well, and standing with our team is always the best and easiest and right thing to do.”
The “Hot Tub Time Machine” star also discussed the “formula” for the show, the brief disappointment he feels when his current job keeps him from movie roles and whether the “Ballers” writers ever discuss Colin Kaepernick.
Do you think the show’s writers will tackle the anthem debate next season, and would you want them to?
I don’t think they will, and I wouldn’t want them to tackle that, at least on a partisan level. One of the things that this show in particular has going for it is that it caters to everyone. It’s not a politically partisan show. And I actually don’t think this NFL thing is as much of a story as it’s become.
I personally think Trump just made this a story, and he’s also kind of backed off on it. So it was a very quick thing, and I think by the time that we start shooting in February, compared to all the other stuff that Trump is famous for now, it will be fairly forgotten. Or at least I hope so because it’s so silly. It’s so silly.
Does Colin Kaepernick’s name come up in conversation among the show’s writers?
No, not that I know of. The football players that are involved with the writing of the show, the former NFL players, they personally, as far as I know — we don’t talk about this; we talk about real stuff, life stuff — but I would say that yeah, they would stand with their team. That’s the culture there, and also the culture that I personally adhere to: If I were a football player, regardless of what I thought of the national anthem, I would stand by my team because that’s the most important thing right there, in the moment for them.
But again, this is all nonsense that we’re talking about. [Laughs] I think also that the players and the teams, the owners also, from what I assume, probably recognize it as nonsense as well, and standing with our team is always the best and easiest and right thing to do. Of course, I’m speaking way out of turn. I’m speaking way out of turn here. I don’t speak for them — I speak for myself. I’m a patriot, I’m an Eagle Scout and America is very important to me, and I would stand by my team. I would stand by my brothers.
In general, when Roger Goodell does something, or when the NFL is in the news, does the show’s team consider working it into the plot?
When it is something like moving the team to Vegas, which was very much in the news, yeah, sure. But if it’s a political thing, I don’t think it’s given as much weight when they’re writing the season — I’m just assuming this. I don’t think it’s given as much weight [as] writing good, human storylines because it’s not a human storyline. It’s a storyline essentially exacerbated by the media, and I don’t know what the value of that is. It may have great value, but for me, it doesn’t.
What’s next for Spencer and the company after the Season 3 finale’s Las Vegas development?
I assume that we’re going to meet ASM next season as a more global entity, so it’s going to be a bigger company.
How does the show keep things fresh heading into a fourth season?
There’s a definite formula for “Ballers,” so I guess every season they heighten it. We’ll be looking forward to getting more in trouble and threatening everything that we love and hold dear because of the bee in Spencer’s personal bonnet. The formula doesn’t always work out, like in Season 2, but hopefully we’ll make it better than we were before. But I really don’t know.
What hasn’t Joe gotten to do that you still want him to do?
The one thing I haven’t really done that maybe would be expected of a main character is have some kind of love interest, but I actually don’t know if that’s so valuable for Joe’s character. Who cares, right? My character lives to serve Spencer, and whether he thinks Spencer s right or wrong, that’s what he does.
Did you always have a hunch that the show would be the hit that it is?
No, because nothing is a sure thing. Now, looking back on the whole experience, I realize what I have, and I don’t want it to go away. I was watching a movie with my wife this weekend, and every single one of my friends were in it, and I was like, “Where the f— is Corddry in this movie?” She was like, “You have a TV show. You don’t know when this thing is cast, so why don’t you shut up?” My wife reminds me that I’m on a hit TV show. [Laughs] That makes it a lot easier — I kind of calm down after the first five minutes.
How much longer can we hope for the show to last?
You gotta ask Dwayne. I really feel like it’s going to go for as long as he wants it to go, and I hope that’s forever because he’s really good in it.