Ted Lasso has taken everyone by storm, especially Rebecca Welton. Hannah Waddingham stars as the owner of AFC Richmond. Ted has been named the new head coach of the professional soccer team in England, despite having no experience coaching soccer. Even though Rebecca dismissed Ted from the very beginning, he’s slowly but surely cracking at Rebecca’s armor.
HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Hannah about taking on the role of Rebecca in the new Apple TV+ series, which premieres new episodes on Fridays and has already been renewed for season 2. Hannah may play a football team owner, but she admits she knows “nothing about British football.” However, there’s so much more to Rebecca than initially meets the eye.
“The thing that appealed to me was it was a kind of a doubleheader,” Hannah told HollywoodLife. “The arc of Rebecca literally from episode one is something that… it’s a cliche to say it’s a gift of a role but it totally is, especially as a woman. I’m happy to admit in my mid-40s and six foot two in high heels, you don’t get these parts where you’re one minute playing comedy, the next minute playing absolute heartbreak, and I would hope that any woman or man watching it, because I know I’ve had the heartbreak in my life, I hope that people will see that I have taken her very seriously even though she is in a comedy.”
There will be 10 episodes total of Ted Lasso. The fourth episode premieres Aug. 21. Over the course of the season, Hannah revealed that fans will get a deeper glimpse into the characters. “The great thing about Jason [Sudeikis] and the writers is I think they’ve done that within literally everybody in the cast,” Hannah continued. “There’s nobody where you don’t get a glimpse of the home life, nobody we don’t get a glimpse into them without the shutters down. You see both sides. You see the side of the A-list footballer of what they like you to think of them and then the problems that are going on off-camera.”
She also discussed Hannah and Ted’s dynamic and how it will evolve over the first season. “She is quite a smart cookie. She very much could have gone into business herself but fell in with Rupert Mannion,” Hannah said. “Jason and I always said that they don’t even realize that they’re each other’s angels, and that was a big thing for him and me to discuss early on. For me, I took that with me through scenes without even kind of laying it on thick for the audience. That’s what kept it interesting for me. You know, when he’s coming into a scene and bulldozing his way in but with a smile. She just thinks he’s not going to get under my skin. He’s certainly not going to turn this team around, and things like biscuits with the boss are a total irritation. Later on, when he has a little army soldier, things like that could so easily be something that would be cheesy. But the way he does it and the charm he brings to it and how he kind of gets to stick and poke in each character’s heart, particularly Rebecca, and just have a wiggle around, it’s just gorgeous. The way he does it makes people rethink their behavior.”
Hannah noted that the role of Rebecca was influenced by Karren Brady, the current vice-chairman of West Ham United F.C. “If you look at her online, everything is immaculate, everything in its place,” Hannah told HollywoodLife. “She walks into a boardroom and everyone shuts up. She doesn’t allow her sexuality to override any power that she should have just as a human being in that position, but she doesn’t apologize for it. I think walking that line is a very thin line, so I was kind of monitoring myself for that as well. But Rebecca is aware of what she brings into a room. She has a presence and she’s beautifully presented, but it’s not what defines her.”