Cody Christian returns to TV as Asher Adams in the highly-anticipated ‘All American.’ HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the actor about his character’s evolution over the course of season 1, training for the role, and more.
All American is one of the best new TV shows of the fall season. The series premieres Oct. 10 and stars Cody Christian, Daniel Ezra, Michael Evans Behling, Taye Diggs, and more. The show is inspired by the life of former pro NFL player Spencer Paysinger and follows a star high school football player who is recruited to play at the prestigious Beverly Hills High School. Spencer (Daniel Ezra) must join an already established team, and his new teammates aren’t exactly thrilled about the new edition. One of those teammates is Asher, played by Cody, who is the team’s wide receiver. While Asher may seem surface level in the beginning, Cody assured us there’s much more to Asher than that.
“What I think makes the show so special is the sense of relativity that we’re all going to have and discover as a cast. As we portray our characters and the audience, as we go along this ride, we learn there is so much hiding beneath the surface,” Cody told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Aug. 2018. “You know, we see this kid, and at first glance, we think we know exactly what’s going on, but episode by episode we start to learn a little bit more about Asher, the depth, the complexity, what has made him who he is, and I think the audience is going to be shocked to see that this is actually a kid who’s in pain. He’s hurting. He’s dealing with a lot, and I think it’s causing him to lash out in many different ways.”
There’s a lot of pressure associated with high school football. Each game can determine your future. Cody said the show will delve into all aspects of the sport, including “all the pressures, all the expectations.” He said: “That’s another thing that we’re going to explore — how much does this mean to this character, specifically? What does it mean to be taken off the field, to not play in one game, to not have reps on the field? If I don’t have reps, then that means the scout is not looking at me. If I don’t have scouts looking at me, all of the sudden that scholarship that I’ve been hoping for slips away. I go from graduating high school in hopes of going to a D1 college, and now I’m a D3 athlete. You know what I mean? Everything changes.”
Cody added: “I think another thing I want to explore, and what the show is doing a great job of, is it’s hard to see anything else but the football field when a helmet is on you. You don’t really see the bigger picture. You don’t realize that life is so much more. To these kids, this is the one and only shot that Asher has and Spencer has to make something of themselves.”
This is Cody’s first TV role since playing Theo on Teen Wolf ended, and he says this latest role is a dream come true. “There’s so much depth,” Cody said. “There’s so much complexity. I definitely didn’t want to play a character that was very cliché, surface-level. I wanted to connect with the audience and grow with them, take them on the journey as we discover and develop this character. On top of that, there’s the physicality of it. I grew up as a kid playing football, and that was the first thing that I fell in love with. I actually thought that was what I was going to do with my life. If I stayed in Indiana, I was going to go to high school, play, hopefully make varsity. From there, go to a college, maybe like Notre Dame, Purdue, somewhere and play ball. That’s the first thing that I really believed that I could do. So, it’s crazy that things have come full circle now and I get to have that experience that I didn’t have growing up, but in a different way. Playing a football player, not taking the hits. It’s a trip. It’s honestly a blessing. This character, this story, this role has been so far a dream come true.”
If you take a look at Cody’s Instagram, he’s been training hard for this role. “I’m trying to capture a lot of behind-the-scenes content with this project specifically just because it is very immersive and the physicality of it is quite demanding. I want people to know that we’re bringing the authenticity to the screen and to the field. I never played high school football. I played football as a kid, but I want to make sure that if I’m going to step on the field as a receiver that I feel comfortable doing so. So, I’m out there running drills. I’m working on my hands, catches, everything,” Cody revealed.
The actor also noted that “everyone clicked immediately” on set. “I’m just so blessed to be able to work and stand by such a phenomenal cast, every single one,” Cody continued. “I have nothing but good things to say about everybody. The cast is so special, so diverse. It’s just, we have something here and you can feel it. You can feel it in the air.” You got that right, Cody.