FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS' Matt Lauria Talks Season 5, CHICAGO CODE - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


April 15, 2011 by  

It’s been a year since FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS filmed its fifth and final season, and several months since the finale first aired on DirecTV. But for many fans who don’t subscribe to the cable service, the swan song season of FNL starts this Friday when it debuts at 8 p.m. on NBC.

To honor its network TV premiere, we got in touch with Matt Lauria — aka Lions QB Luke Cafferty — to chat a bit about what fans can expect…

So, at the end of season 4, the East Dillon Lions nabbed a much-needed win, beating the Dillon Panthers — which was a pretty big deal. As season 5 opens, where do the Lions find themselves?
Matt Lauria: Well, we’re still the underdogs, but what you will begin to see is a real turning of the page in terms of camaraderie, the team dynamic and especially the community, too, coming together in this massive support of the Lions — you begin to see the bigger social and cultural impact that the team — and what Coach is doing — is accomplishing.

Nice. Love that. Now, something pretty significant happens in this 5th season premiere, concerning your character. I don’t want to give it away for readers who wish to remain unspoiled, but I will say that it’s on the football field. What can you tease about that event?
ML: Yeah, well, what happens I think [wasn’t his fault]. But, without giving too much away, it ends up being a big embarrassment to the Lions. I think they feel as though they are being targeted to sort of punish them for the embarrassment. And so it’s tough for them and, in a couple of weeks, there’s some stuff coming that causes a little bit of drama for Luke. You know, just shenanigans! Just a bunch of haters trying to cause drama for the Lions!

Ah, Luke. Can you talk a little bit more about what’s going on with him this season?
ML: Yeah, you know, season 4, I would say, was sort of a time of accountability for him — huge lessons with the whole Becky-abortion [storyline] and becoming a new member of this team and having to be humble about it and rise to the occasion. And I think this season is about him having to buck up and become a man, just grow the hell up. And, you know, that’s not always easy.

And what’s up with Luke and Becky this season?
ML: After [what happened] last year, Luke decided, for whatever reason, that he was going to commit himself to the Becky thing — here’s this young man who’s being incredibly loyal and responsible. But after that, everything was sort of so unresolved that, going into this season, I felt like Luke’s number one priority was trying to make good with her. So we see a lot of that.

You were a fan of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS before you were on it, no?
ML: Absolutely. I was a huge, huge fan.

As a fan, what would you say to other longtime viewers about this final season and what they can look forward to?
ML: I think, as a fan of the show, no one’s going to be disappointed. [Executive Producer] Jason Katims and the rest of the writing staff have done a beautiful job of letting these characters evolve really organically, but also progressively. [This season] is every bit about what fans of the show love. There’s just a lot of heart. These characters are up against a lot of challenges and are struggling and are totally imperfect, but we rally behind them with such fervor. And relationships deepen. I think what’s so remarkable is that Katims and the rest of the writers were able to find a way to keep the characters from plateauing, always pushing them further. That certainly happens with Luke and Vince and Becky and Jess, all of them, even Coach and Tami and Julie, everybody. I just think that they really honor the show in the final season. They set the bar really high in the first season and the tradition that they established with the show, I think that they serve and uphold it.

Yeah, that Jason Katims — I’m a fan. I’ve been watching his new show PARENTHOOD as well, and it’s got that same heart, his fingerprints are all over it. But I’ve also been watching your new gig, THE CHICAGO CODE. Are you enjoying it?
ML: I’m really enjoying seeing how it’s all come together, especially because this show has such a cinematic feel in the way that it’s shot and the locations that we used and the action and everything else, it’s just so cool to watch [the finished product].

Your character, Caleb, is the new, young detective who is sort of eager to prove himself on this Chicago police squad. For fans of FNL who might want to check you out on THE CHICAGO CODE, can you describe Caleb and how he’s different from Luke?
ML: Yeah, you know, Caleb is definitely more cerebral, he’s more sure of himself. I think Luke has an innate sort of athletic cockiness, he knows what he’s got and as a proud 16, 17-year-old kid, he’s a stud on the football field, so he’s got a certain confidence that comes with that. But Caleb has a much more mature confidence in really knowing his place in the world, knowing how he fits into it and feeling comfortable with it. Luke is a bit more emotional, as an adolescent, it’s a little harder for him to know exactly what he’s feeling and to articulate those things. And ultimately, one of the main differences is that Luke’s a small town country kid. Caleb was an academic all-star in college and now a cop in a big city.

What’s coming up for Caleb that you can tease to?
ML: Well, the big thing that’s hanging in the balance is whether Caleb and [his senior partner] Jarek are going to be able to continue working together — if Caleb can stick it out with Jarek, because Jarek is in some ways a great example [for Caleb] but at the same time, he’s not the easiest dude to get along with, he’s a little rough. And I think respect is so huge in a partnership and so it’s a matter of, is Caleb going to get the respect necessary in order to perform as an equal part of this partnership. And neither one of these guys is willing to just give it up. It’s sort of an earned thing that they’re both kind of calculating whether the other person is anteing up, so that’s an interesting thing to watch. And you begin to see Caleb asserting himself more in these coming episodes.

The season 5 premiere of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS airs Friday, April 15 at 8 p.m. on NBC

THE CHICAGO CODE airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox

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