Ted Lasso concluded its stellar second season on Friday with a team triumph, as AFC Richmond won the pivotal match to promote themselves back into the Premier League. While it didn’t come without some heartbreak, the victory was a team effort, led by captain Isaac McAdoo, who rallied his teammates during halftime with a meaningful gesture, pointing them to the simple yellow “Believe” poster that Jason Sudeikis’ titular coach hung in the locker room on his first day with the club.
For Kola Bokinni, who plays Isaac, the moment was a way to show the captain’s “strong but caring” leadership, as well as his support of Ted, without having to say a word.
“I wanted him to not just tap the sign, as Jason has done. I wanted him just to caress the sign, ever so slightly, and then give everyone a look like, ‘We got this,’” “It was all-in at that moment,” the actor added. “We get promoted or we don’t. So I wanted him to take some of that responsibility.” Having played football since he was a kid, first as a goalkeeper, then a striker — “but Isaac plays centre-back” — Bokinni thought he’d found himself a “dream job” when the casting for Ted Lasso came his way back in 2019.
“I read, ‘Can play football and act.’ And I was just like, ‘Wait, hold on a second. Someone’s made this up. Someone’s just trying to trick me,'” he recalled. “Football was my life, before acting.” As luck would have it, the part was real, and the show has turned into something of a phenomenon. Ted Lasso almost instantly became one of Apple TV+’s most successful streamers — earning seven wins for its first season at the 2021 Emmy Awards last month, including the night’s big prize. Outstanding Comedy Series. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” Bokinni admitted. “The feedback from the fans and everybody involved, like as a family, has been just overwhelming.”
As for how he’s handling the show’s success, “I’m just kind of keeping it chill,” the actor noted. “Just trying to feel my way around it, but it’s crazy and I love it.” “It is a locker room vibe, because everybody there is football crazy. And some of the cast who weren’t football crazy are now football crazy,” Bokinni said with a laugh. “It’s just the power of football. For everyone to come from different cultures and backgrounds and races, et cetera, and to all get along is something phenomenal.” “I came up with the construct that Isaac only thinks of one thought at a time. He only has space for one thought at a time,” he noted. “If he’s cutting your hair, or is if he’s Santa Claus, or if he is doing whatever, he’s doing that. And he’s giving you 100% concentration in that department.” “The barber scene was one of my favorite scenes, where everybody was just in sync, and everybody gave 110%,” he recalled. “It was just so much fun to film.”