Friday Night Lights Cast Check-In: What They’re Up To Now
July 23, 2023 |
By Lola Hagopian

Friday Night Lights forever! FNL might have ended in 2011 but it’s as beloved as ever. Since the show concluded, the cast has gone on to do many varied projects, some were even award-winning. If you’re like us, you love following the cast’s careers and seeing their success. So, we decided it was time for a cast check-in.

Here’s what the Friday Night Lights cast is up to now!

Jesse Plemons | Landry Clarke

Jesse Plemons is the FNL alum whose name you might be hearing the most these days. Plemons has gone on to work on numerous big project like, Power of the Dog, Game Night, Windfall and Love and Death. Plemons has been nominated for multiple awards but has yet to personally win. However, he is the first FNL cast member to be nominated for an Oscar. Plemons is married to actress Kirsten Dunst, the couple have two kids and live in Austin. More about that here.

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Plemons played Allan Gore in the series Love and Death with Elizabeth Olsen. The HBO series was filmed in the Austin area. He’s also staring in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. The movie still doesn’t have a release date but has wrapepd on filming. Here’s a first look at Plemons from the film:

Photo courtesy of AppleTV+

Some call Plemons one of the best actors of his generation. We’re inclined to agree after watching him transition from the unexpectedly complex character, Landry on FNL to the numerous characters he’s taken on since. For a list of the 10 best Jesse Plemons films check out this post by USA Today.

Photo via Kirsten Dunst on Instagram.

Connie Britton | Tami Taylor

Connie Britton will always be Tami Taylor to us! Britton doesn’t live in Austin full time but she is here often (and we believe she still owns a house in the ATX). We last spotted her in town during SXSW, where she joined Dolly Parton and James Patterson on stage in a discussion about their novel “Run Rose Run.” Adrianne Palicki, (Tyra Collette) was spotted at the Dolly Parton Dollyverse event. This isn’t surprising since the actress lives in Austin.

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Since playing Tami, Britton has played numerous roles. Her most recent and notable role is Nicole Mossbacher in season one of The White Lotus. You can also catch Britton in Luckiest Girl Alive alongside Mila Kunis. This year

This year Britton reunited with FNL showrunner and executive producer Jason Katims for a AppleTV+ series called Dear Edward. The series will not be returning for a second season. No news on what’s next for Britton but stay tuned!

Taylor Kitsch | Tim Riggins

Taylor Kitsch might have played everyone’s favorite bad boy Tim Riggins on FNL but the actor has taken on a number of different roles over the years. He has played everyone from fictional John Carter to a non-fictional David Koresh in Waco. Even though the Canadian native no longer lives in Texas, he will forever be an Austinite in our minds. Plus, he’s the person (character) who coined “Texas forever.”

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Kitsch played Max McLaughlin in the Netflix released series The Defeated. He also joined Chris Pratt in the series The Terminal List, which has been picked up for season two.

And that’s not all! Kitsch is reuniting with FNL director and producer Peter Berg for a series called Painkiller. The pair previously worked together on Lone Survivor and Battleship, which also starred Jesse Plemons. Here is a photo Kitsch posted a while back wishing Berg a happy birthday and looking back on almost 20 years of friendship.

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Kyle Chandler | Coach Eric Taylor

Kyle Chandler will always hold a special place in our hearts as Coach Eric Taylor. The actor, like much of the FNL alum, likes to lay low and stay away from the spotlight, while still adding to his film credits. Chandler and his family live a bit outside of Austin on a large ranch but he is spotted in town from time to time.

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Chandler has a pretty great filmography behind him. His most recent projects include the Paramount+ original series Mayor of Kingstown, which was created by Taylor Sheridan. He also appeared in Super Pumped alongside Uma Thurman and Joseph Gorden-Levitt. He also played Peter in Slumberland with Jason Momoa. Now he’s working on a suspense thriller called Anniversary. The film also stars, Diane Lane, Kyle Chandler, Zoey Deutch and Phoebe Dynevor. Stay tuned for more details about the project!

Photo via Showtime

Minka Kelly | Lyla Garrity

Minka Kelly played good girl cheerleader Lyla Garrity for three seasons before departing the series. Since then Kelly has done a handful of projects. She is one of the few FNL cast members who has no ties to ATX.

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Kelly surprised everyone with a role as Samantha on the highly popular HBO series Euphoria. She was supposed to have a nude scene but pushed back heavily on that. You can also see her on the fourth season of the HBO Max series Titans. Kelly is almost unrecognizable in the series as she plays a platinum blonde superhero! She also most recently released a memoir called Tell Me Everything, which you can get from our Amazon Storefront.

Scott Porter | Jason Street

Scott Porter played Jason Street perfectly. Porter was given the difficult task of playing Jason whose storyline was less than ideal. Though Porter left the series in season three, he still holds FNL close to his heart. He’s been seen visiting Austin with his family over the years and has even made surprise appearances at ATX Television Festival!

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Porter has been seen and heard on a variety of different projects including voicing a lot of video games! He was in the series Lucifer, where he played officer Carol Corbett. You can also see him on Netflix’s Ginny and Georgia. The series has been picked up for both season three and four! He also has a podcast with Mae Whitman and FNL cast member Zach Gilford called It’s Not Only Football: Friday Night Lights and Beyond. You can catch new episodes on Thursdays wherever Podcasts are listened to.

Photo via Scott Porter on Instagram.

Michael B. Jordan | Vince Howard

Michael B. Jordan first made an appearance on FNL in season 4 as Vince Howard. Michael took on the role of the show’s new protagonist after Coach Taylor moved to East Dillion. While he was only on the show for the fourth and fifth (finale) seasons Jordan made Vince not only one of the best players on the show but a complex character who overcame a lot.

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Jordan has had an amazing career since he left Friday Night Lights. He is most known for his roles in the Creed movie series and of course the record-breaking, Black Panther.

It was announced that Jordan will be producing, directing, and starring in Creed III which is set to come out this November. Jordan will also be working with Will Smith as they both produce and star in the I Am Legend sequel. Let us also not forget that Jordan was voted People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2020! In additions Jordan now invests in sports teams. The 36 year old joined Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in buying stake in the Alpine racing team. He also recently teamed up with Drake to invest in the Brooklyn Acres Pickle Ball team. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Jordan!

Photo Via People Magazine

Zach Gilford | Matt Saracen

Everyone loves an underdog story and Zach Gilford played Matt Saracen perfectly. Since leaving FNL, Gilford has gone on to do projects like The Purge: Anarchy and Good Girls. From our knowledge the actor doesn’t have any remaining ties to Austin.

Current and Upcoming Projects:

The most recent thing that Gilford has done is Midnight Mass. The miniseries was released on Netflix late last year and gained a lot of traction. For this role as Riley Flynn, Gilford was up for a Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television. He might not have won but we found out that there was a little FNL reunion at the show and that made us feel like the real winners. Jesse Plemons and Gilford were seen chatting during the awards. Looks like Matt and Landry are still friends! We already mentioned the podcast called It’s Not Only Football: Friday Night Lights and Beyond he hosts alongside his Parenthood and Friday Night Lights castmates, Scott Porter and Mae Whitman.

Show your love for the greatest mantra of all time!

Jurnee Smollett | Jess Merriweather

Jurnee first made an appearance as Jess Merriweather at the start of season four but she quickly shook things up. Smollett originally dated Landry (Jesse Plemons) on the show but broke up with him for Vince (Michael B. Jordan) and boy did we ship them together! Let’s not forget her coaching aspirations and wanting to shadow Coach Taylor!

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Years before Smollett was cast on FNL she was on both Full House and the Crosby show. After FNL wrapped she went on to do shows like Parenthood, True Blood, and Lovecraft Country. She also kicked ass as Black Canary alongside Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Birds of Prey. A Black Canary sequel is in the works with HBO Max, details have not been released. Smollett’s also did a movie called Spiderhead alongside Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller.

Derek Philips | Billy Riggins

Those Riggins boys were trouble, weren’t they? We still haven’t decided how we feel about Billy letting Tim go to jail for him but whatever, we still love Billy (kinda). Without a doubt we love Derek Philips though! From the interviews we have seen pre and post FNL he really loves the show as much as we do. He is constantly trying to keep the spirit of the show alive in any way he can!

Current and Upcoming Projects:

One of Phillips’ recent project To Leslie premiered at SXSW a few years back. The movie is inspired by true events and tells the story of a West Texas single mother who wins the lottery and squanders it just as fast. You can also see Phillips will on the series, The Terminal List where he will be reuniting with his on-screen brother Taylor Kitsch. You can also find him on NCIS: Hawai’i.

Now for our favorite part, Phillips hosts a podcast called “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: A Friday Night Lights Rewatch Podcast” with Stacey Oristano, who played Mindy Collette-Riggins. They talk about the cast, crew and tell tales of filming here in Austin. We highly recommend a listen.

That’s a wrap on our FNL cast check-in. Make sure to follow us on Instagram and TikTok where we spill all the tea on Austin celebrities, filming locations and more!

Looking for a more understated way to show your love for FNL? Or perhaps for the Riggins brothers? Check out this shirt!

Need more Friday Night Lights? Try these:

Featured photo via NBC

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