If Peter Berg and Connie Britton couldn’t get Kyle Chandler to don Coach Taylor’s baseball cap again, how the heck did a Texas-based chain of movie theaters bring home the win?
Easy, says a very grateful John Gross, director of creative production at Alamo Drafthouse — aka the people who brought us Chandler’s Friday Night Lights-themed, silence-your-cell-phones public-service announcement: The actor, who lives in Austin, is a frequent patron of the movie-theater chain.
“Kyle lives near one of our locations and is a regular,” Gross says. The chain has produced similar clips with actors like Kevin Bacon and Amy Schumer. “After some back and forth with one of our managers, we planted the seed of, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to do one of these?’ And he was all for it. Throughout the entire process he was such an easy person to deal with, because he gets it.”
Shooting the piece — which Gross made happen with colleague Zane Gordon-Bouzard — filled an afternoon and took place at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, a school with which Alamo has a relationship.
“They were pretty willing to let Kyle Chandler come be in their ladies’ locker room,” Gross adds, laughing.
The extras were all employees of Alamo or Mondo (the theater’s collectible art boutique); Gross is the “guy with the stripey shirt with his mouth open.” The music is by Explosions in the Sky, the Austin band that gave FNL its signature sound. And when it came time for Coach Taylor to rip into his recruits, Gross recalls, the Emmy winner went for it.
“He wanted the profanity,” he says, adding with a chuckle: “He wanted to be really against type and go against the Coach Taylor America knows and loves.”
The Friday Night Lights PSA begins airing in Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas across the country this weekend.