It’s transfer time for Phil Dunster, who has played AFC Richmond’s star striker Jamie Tartt on the Emmy-winning comedy drama Ted Lasso for three seasons. The actor is joining Gugu Mbatha-Raw on Season 2 of her psychological thriller Surface, Breaking Baz can reveal.
Both Ted Lasso and Surface are part of the Apple TV+ universe.
Surface launched on the streamer last summer and audiences were intrigued with the tale created by Veronica West (High Fidelity) about a woman called Sophie (played by Mbatha-Raw) who has amnesia after a suicide attempt in San Francisco.
Sophie is a medical professional and resides in a swanky house in a tony district of San Francisco. The Hitchcockian mystery of it all is: If Sophie’s life was so seemingly perfect, why did she try to end it by jumping from a boat into the ocean?
“It’s like I’ve woken up in someone else’s life,” Sophie complains to her therapist, played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste.
Season 2 will shoot in and around London, where I hope the property porn is as good as it looks in San Francisco for Season 1.
Apparently just two characters will resurface in Season 2 of Surface. One of those will clearly be Mbatha-Raw.
I haven’t viewed all eight episodes yet, so it’s difficult for me to hazard a guess as to who else will reappear.
Except, I do know Dunster’s in it but it’s not me for to spoil it all by spilling the beans on what kind of character he’ll be playing.
Nor will I offer thoughts about another role that’s very likely to go to Suki Waterhouse; that deal hasn’t finalised yet.
Waterhouse is piping hot right now thanks to her portrait of a Brit rock musician in Amazon’s Daisy Jones & The Six, which also stars Riley Keough, Sam Claflin, Will Harrison, Josh Whitehouse, Camila Morrone, Sebastian Chacon and Nabiyah Be. Oh, and a shout-out to Tom Wright who plays fictional record producer Teddy Price — he’s a no-bullsh*t kinda guy and I like that.
And good for Dunster for adding depth to Jamie Tartt. That kind of numbskull, egotistical footballer could have been a monumental bore, but a combination of brilliant writing plus an an actor with enough smarts to imbue the role with truth and humanity made him fun to watch. Also great when he hit one into the back of the net.
That goes for the whole company of artists in Ted Lasso; each and every role is so well cast. I mean that. Not just the main players such as Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple, Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Toheeb Jimoh, Nick Mohammed, Jeremy Swift, Sarah Niles and the rest, but how bloody clever was it to cast Annette Badland, a super British actress, as Mae the pub landlady? It’s a small part that goes a long way.
One year at the Cannes Film Festival I remember someone asking Sean Penn why he’d cast Vanessa Redgrave in a tiny role in his film The Pledge. “I wanted an actor who could go from A to Z like that,” he responded, snapping his fingers.
It’s the same with Badland. She put a stamp on Mae the moment we saw her behind the bar; we knew who she was.
The beauty of Ted Lasso, for me at least, is that I know who they are because of the effortless work those actors do.
Bumped into Edward Berger, director of Netflix’s Oscar-nominated All Quiet on the Western Front, who was deep in conversation with Robert Pattinson, The Batman star, on the back terrace of Ospero on Sunset.
Actually, I was trying to be unseen, but both Berger and Pattinson greeted me before I could disappear.
We quickly shot the breeze about the weather. Yes, yes, and about Sunday’s Academy Awards. We agreed that, hey, maybe there’ll be some surprises and that the glory might not all go to A24s front-runner Everything Everywhere All at Once.
If there’s going to be an upset, Berger suggests, let it be in All Quiet on the Western Front’s favor, mirroring what happened at the BAFTAs.
“That would be one helluva upset,” I say.
And so would Top Gun winning, I throw in for the heck of it. Though wouldn’t that be ridiculously delicious (improbable) fun!
We debate a little more.
As I’m about to scoot away, I ask if their meeting is likely to result in anything further down the road. I say that knowing of Pattinson’s cool habit of linking up with filmmakers he admires.
“We’re just having coffee. It’s coffee, Baz,” the actor says.