Note: This story contains spoilers from “Ted Lasso” Season 3, Episode 6.
When James Lance read the name of his “Ted Lasso” character Trent Crimm, he did not think that was the name of a bully. But the “Independent” journalist’s behavior cast him as a shadow over the Apple TV+ series’ optimistic tone.
The actor took TheWrap behind the scenes of his performance of the journalist, who has traded in tabloids and deadlines for a more long-term project writing a book about AFC Richmond. Specifically, Lance traces the core of his character back to a conversation he had with creator Jason Sudeikis during Season 1.
“We had a three-minute conversation in the car park. I said, ‘Hey, I think the reason he’s the way he is, is because he’s got this kind of oppressive father,” Lance told TheWrap. “And he was like, ‘you know, this whole season this whole series, this whole show is about bad dads.’ (I did not know that.) I felt that he wasn’t living the life he wanted to live. OK. And he wasn’t being who he really wanted to be.”
Lance credits Trent’s father as an influence on Trent’s repression of his true identity, but Richmond player Colin Hughes (Billy Harris) cracks Trent’s facade.
At the end of the third episode of Season 3, Trent’s observations brought him to recognize that Colin is gay, but that he hasn’t come out to his teammates or coaches.
“It just creates space for imagination because everyone’s thinking ‘Oh my God, is he going to out him? Is he going to expose them? Is he going to be mean? Are we going to see the old Trent or what? What is Trent thinking?‘ I love the ambiguity of the way they left that last frame on Episode 3,” Lance said. “He’s really cautious and I think for really good reason. He’s dealt with it himself, but not in a homophobic sense.
“It’s been tough for him growing up and all of that, and not least, yes, because of his father. But because in the world of sports and football, there aren’t many that are out.”
Trent puts his cards on the table for Colin in Episode 6, revealing that he had to come out twice before a special woman in his life could believe him. He says that in reference to his daughter, who gave him the acceptance his mother couldn’t.
“He’s like the old guard a bit. Obviously there’s people before Trent, but he’s just taken much joy out of seeing this young footballer be himself,” Lance said. “It’s like a feedback loop because, by Colin being himself, Trent is allowed to be himself. There’s a beautiful harmony there.”
Lance shared that he first got an inkling of Trent’s sexual orientation in Season 2, while filming the scene where he runs into Ted at the Anchor and Crown pub, after Ted left a match due to a panic attack. His parental trauma runs back through the beginning of the show.
“Trent has been changing from the first time we ever see him actually. I had this feeling that the first time we see Trent, he is in the press room and he sets out to humiliate and shame Ted Lasso,” Lance said. “I quite liked the idea that that question ‘Is this a f—g joke?’ is something that Trent grew up with his dad [saying] to him a lot. And it was really shameful and really posing and painful and you know, the idea that hurt people hurt people. I think that trend is really just [that] he’s been trying to express himself and trying to fit in and trying to belong. And the way that he was formed was to become intellectually aggressive.”
“Trent constantly observes the way that Ted handles situations. This guy is not gonna get taken down by shame, and actually, it’s that feeling of like, ‘Wait, when did I become the bad guy? I’m the bad guy.’ He goes on [the same thing] on that day where he’s setting out again to eviscerate Ted with the with the article. He just can’t because the guy is pure and he’s loving, so it puts him through a massive spin.”
The ghost of Trent’s father factors into the spat Roy Kent has with him earlier on in Season 3 too.
“I had this sense that Roy Kent is everything that Trent’s dad would like Trent to be,” Lance said. “So when Trent finally bristled up into this tough young journalist, and he sees this amazing athletic prowess and everything that Trent isn’t in Roy Kent on the pitch, all his frustration and his pain comes out sideways and he takes it out on Roy Kent.”
“Ted Lasso” Season 3, Episode 6 is now streaming on Apple TV+.