Meathead of ‘Ted Lasso’ Wanted to Play Rugby

Name: Phil Dunster

Age: 29

Hometown: Northampton, England

Currently Lives: A terraced house located in the Hammersmith neighborhood of London that he shares with his girlfriend, the filmmaker Ellie Heydon, and two roommates.

Claim to Fame: Mr. Dunster portrays the cocky soccer player, Jamie Tartt, on the hit Apple TV+ sitcom “Ted Lasso,” which recently received 20 Emmy nominations. But he has yet to bask in his newfound American stardom.

“There hasn’t really been the same response to the show over here,” Mr. Dunster said by telephone from London. “I went into town the other day and I was jumping around and trying to be as conspicuous as possible, but nobody came over and said anything to me.”

Big Break: “Drama was on my radar” as a young boy, Mr. Dunster said. At 9, he starred in his school’s production of “Olivier Twist,” and continued to perform in plays in secondary school. His budding stage talents earned him a slot at the highly selective Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2011.

A year after graduating, ​​he played Arthur in the Bristol Old Vic production of “Pink Mist,” which earned him an Olivier Award nomination in 2016. “My coming-of-age was really learning to act,” he said.

Latest Project: In the second season of “Ted Lasso,” which began at the end of July, Mr. Dunster’s character is struggling to sunder emotional walls he built as a top scorer for AFC Richmond, a fictional soccer club. “All of these people in Jamie’s life are now saying, ‘It’s OK to be scared or to be vulnerable, and to say sorry,’” he said. “In fact, it makes you a better player and member of the team.”

Next Thing: He is currently filming the witchy thriller “The Devil’s Hour,” an Amazon mini-series due next year. He also produced and stars in the upcoming short film “Pragma,” which he described as a “dystopian rom-com set in the near future” where there is a “steady decline in sustainable relationships.” Not that his own relationships are suffering. The movie is directed by Ms. Heydon, his girlfriend, and Jason Sudeikis, the star of “Ted Lasso,” is the executive producer.

Vocational Training: Before becoming an actor, Mr. Dunster wanted to be a rugby player. But during a failed tryout for the London Irish Rugby Football Club at 15, he realized he “couldn’t hack it with the bigger boys,” he said.

The training came in handy on “Ted Lasso.” “Jamie’s pout comes from a rugby player that I used to play with, who managed to make me feel very small by always sort of screwing up his face and pouting at me,” he said.

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