Ted Lasso Casting Director Theo Park talks to Reel 360 about Emmy nom

Ted Lasso
(Theo Park talks “The Ted Lasso Effect”)

Jason Sudeikis and his breakout hit TV show with Apple TV+, Ted Lasso, were just nominated for an impressive 20 Emmy Awards — a record for a comedy series in its first season. Out of those twenty nominations, seven were for acting performances, but one was for a fairly new category – Casting.

The Emmys have been awarding television for 72 years since their inception in 1949, but have only been recognizing casting since 2000. The Academy Awards and Golden Globes neglect the importance of recognizing and awarding Casting Directors altogether and it’s only in recent times of the past 20 years that the Emmys now shine a spotlight behind the camera on the eyes that scout, discover, and select talent.

Theo Park is the woman with an eye for the witty talent behind the Outstanding Casting For A Comedy Series nomination for Ted Lasso. Parks’ cherry-picked selections of both stars and , refreshingly untapped British talent, resulted in seven actor Emmy nominations: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Jason Sudeikis; two nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple; four nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Brendan Hunt, Brett Goldstein, Jeremy Swift, and Nick Mohammed and of course the casting nomination of her own.

Being recognized as a casting director is a fairly new entity, making Park’s nomination that much more exciting.

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Park shared that this recognition is a “dream come true” for a project that she felt was a “dream project” before all of the accolades came pouring in. Park tells Reel 360 that she was “desperate to do it (Ted Lasso)” when she was first approached to cast the series.

The titular character of the series (played by Jason Sudeikis) is a small-time college football coach from Kansas hired to coach a professional soccer team in England, despite having no experience coaching soccer. The irreverent show follows the well-meaning, pure-hearted Ted who is hilariously endearing as he does his best across the pond.

During the casting process, Sudeikis and the team trusted Park to find untapped British comedic talent. “It was exciting that I didn’t have to go with names and could go off pure talent, and it was also an exciting challenge to go on a lengthy search for professional athletes with soccer skills that could also act. We needed actors that are natural and that wouldn’t over-egg the performance. When the writing is as good as this show and the comedy is already on the page, we needed really natural, grounded comedic performances, and that’s what I searched for.”

Park admits that she “didn’t expect the show to be as successful as it’s been and for Americans to be its most enthusiastic audience.”  Now with 20 Emmy nominations, Park is both honored and shocked, calling this adoration for the show “The Ted Lasso Effect.”

“It’s already a win to this be passionate about a project from the beginning and just a bonus to be recognized for something you already believed in,” she notes to Reel 360.

On working with Sudeikis, Park said,“ Jason is so trusting, open-minded, and inspiring, he also has many of the best qualities that Ted Lasso has.”

Park feels, “very lucky to be part of this project, of this break, to work with Jason, and to be recognized in a category that historically has gone unnoticed.”

With record-breaking Emmy nominations, recognition for Casting, and for seven actors selected by Park and only in its first season, Ted Lasso and Theo Park are getting the notoriety they deserve.

Season 2 of Ted Lasso is currently streaming on Apple TV.

Megan Penn reports on the indie film market and anything that empowers women and underrepresented groups.