The highly-anticipated All American makes its debut on The CW on Oct. 10. The show follows Spencer, a star high school football player from South Central who is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High School. Michael Evans Behling plays Jordan Baker, the quarterback of the Beverly Hills team and the coach’s son. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Michael at the show’s PaleyFest LA event in Sept. 2018.
The role of Jordan Baker stood out a lot to Michael because he closely relates to the character. “The fact that I relate a lot to this character, him being a biracial kid and living in two different worlds,” Michael told HollywoodLife. “Not physically, you know, because he is living in this bougie life, if you will, but when he comes home, he’s fighting for his dad’s approval. I’m not fighting for my dad’s approval, but sometimes back home, I’m called not black enough, not white enough. That would definitely feel with me. When I read the script, I was like, ‘Wow. Okay. Jordan’s feeling the same way. I know how that feels. I know how to get into that.’ It stayed the same. He’s fighting every single day for his dad’s attention, for his dad’s approval. Just for love from Dad. He is that biracial kid living in two different worlds.”
Michael previews Jordan’s struggles with being the coach’s son and the quarterback of the team. “You know, whenever you have a bad game, you can’t get away from the criticism,” Michael continued. “But when you have a good game, you can deal with it, you can enjoy the moment with dad, and Jordan really enjoys that because whenever he does play well, he comes home and dad’s praising him. That’s exhilarating for Jordan because he doesn’t get that every single day like a normal kid would. But whenever there are bad days, it’s hard to get away from it. There’s a few scenes where you see Jordan trying to escape, and dad just pulls him right back down and is like, ‘No. Sit down. We’re gonna talk about this right now. We’re gonna hash it out.'”
All American gives off serious Friday Night Lights vibes. But Michael stresses that the way All American is filmed separates it from FNL. “I think this show will have a different aspect to it because of the way it’s shot. The way we shoot our football stuff seems different to anything I’ve seen on Friday Night Lights, the film or the TV show. I can’t think of anything else that has football in it right now, but the way that we have this shot right now is just like, we got some Steadicam going on. We’ve got some crane shots going on. It looks like real football. Me, being a football player, coming from a football background and watching this, I’m like, ‘All right. I can believe that.’ Whereas, some other shows, I’m like, ‘I don’t believe it as much.’ This one, I’m like, ‘I can get behind this. I can get behind this.'” All American airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.