Jump to: Spoilers (4)
Connie Britton and Brad Leland both had roles in the original Friday Night Lights (2004) movie, also directed by series creator Peter Berg. Their roles were identical to those they have in the series, the coach's wife and a football booster respectively.
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Kyle Chandler worked as a volunteer firefighter while filming the series. He worked 24 hours a week at his local firehouse without telling the cast and crew. In 2011, he taped two local PSAs urging viewers to become volunteer firefighters.
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During the 2012 U.S. Presidential Campaign, Republican nominee Mitt Romney used the phrase "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose" in one of his stump speeches. Peter Berg, one of the show's writers, directors, and executive producers, responded in an open letter that Romney had "plagiarized" the phrase and that his "politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series. The only relevant comparison that I see between [the Romney] campaign and Friday Night Lights is in the character of Buddy Garrity -- who turned his back on American car manufacturers selling imported cars from Japan." Berg finished his open letter to Romney by saying "please come up with your own campaign slogan."
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Donald Glover drew inspiration from Smash Williams for his character on Community (2009). "When you think of the former high school football star, you think 6-foot-2, white, meathead as the model for that kind of character. Since I'm not 6-foot-2 or white, I just thought about what I could bring to it. I thought about Smash Williams from 'Friday Night Lights', like the cocky quarterback, and played around with that".
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There were no rehearsals for Friday Night Lights (2006) and for each scene, three cameras operators simultaneously followed the cast (who were given body mics) wherever they wandered off to, as opposed to standard TV production where the actors are given marks for where to sit or stand. There were some problems that arose from this, one being that NBC president Kevin Reilly told producers to cut back on the "jiggly" camera style after the pilot.
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In late 2005, Lindsay Lohan was initially offered the role of Tyra Collette. She declined, however, stating that she wanted to focus on a career in film rather than on television.
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Minka Kelly was working in a plastic surgery clinic when she was cast as Lyla Garrity. As a way to make ends meet, she worked as a scrub nurse in which she prepared women for their lip and breast implants in between her auditions.
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Taylor Kitsch drank two beers in his audition tape for Tim Riggins. He finished one tallboy, then opened a second one before introducing himself in his video and doing the "Texas Forever" scene. When he was called in to test, Peter Berg interviewed him sports reporter-style.
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Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins) said he is still friends with Connie Britton (Tami Taylor),and often rides motorcycles with Jesse Plemons (Landry Clarke).
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Tom Arnold helped save the series from cancellation after its second season. He reportedly single-handedly arranged a dinner that would set the groundwork for DirecTV and NBC to partner together for future plans pertaining to show's airtime.
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Not all of the actors could play football. Gaius Charles, who played Brian "Smash" Williams, wasn't a very skilled football player. But Michael B. Jordan, who played Vince Howard, was known for having great quarterbacking skills. Taylor Kitsch had played hockey for 20 years before starring on the show, and was also a noted athlete.
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Emmy Rossum was originally approached to play the role of Lyla Garrity. She declined the part, later saying that she was fearful of being typecast as "the good girl".
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Most of the Dillion High students were not teenagers in real life. When the series debuted on October 3, 2006, Jesse Plemons (Landry Clarke) was 18 years old and Aimee Teegarden (Julie Taylor) was 17. However, Minka Kelly was 26, Taylor Kitsch was 25, Zach Gilford was 24, and Adrianne Palicki (Tyra Collette) was 23.
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Zach Gilford was working at a sporting goods store when he was cast as Matt Saracen. Gilford and one other actor were up for the part of Saracen: the other actor was double-booked to audition for a made-for-TV Disney movie, so director Peter Berg gave the part to Gilford.
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Throughout all 5 seasons, any band marching is actually one band. The band used was from Tomah Senior High School, from Tomah Wisconsin.
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Dillon's Panthers are based on Permian High School in Odessa, Texas who won the Texas state championship in the 4A classification (the state's largest until 1980) in 1965 and 1972 and the 5A classification in 1980, 1984 (a co-champions), 1989 and 1991.
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The strip club in Dillon is called The Landing Strip which is the same name of the strip club that some of the players went to the night before a game in the movie Varsity Blues (1999) a movie about a Texas football town.
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Friday Night Lights (2006) was filmed in Austin, making it the first time a television series has been shot in Texas's capital city since The Real World (1992) paid a visit in 2005. Producers rented homes around Austin for filming, and used the nearby Pflugerville High School's football field for many of the big game scenes.
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During the season 1 opening credits, Jesse Plemons is the only actor whose image and name appear on screen at the same time.
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Despite the shows popularity, the Pflugerville Highschool does not have a spirit wear shop and despite hundreds of fans stopping by and requesting to buy Panther shirts or jerseys over the years, they have never had any to sell. According to the schools receptionist, there have been more than a thousand calls or stop-in vistitors that wanted to purchase.
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Peter Berg, the creator of the series, cast Kyle Chandler and Minka Kelly in small roles in his film The Kingdom (2007).
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The show Parenthood (2010) featured several "Friday Night Lights" alumni. Matt Lauria, Michael B. Jordan, Minka Kelly and Scott Porter. Porter was only seen in the series finale as the husband of Mae Whitman's character. Lauria was her fiance earlier in the series. And both Porter and Lauria were in the finale scenes together.
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The show's creator and executive producer Peter Berg has cast a number of the show's actors in his feature films. Connie Britton and Brad Leland appeared in the film version of Friday Night Lights (2004). Kyle Chandler and Minka Kelly appeared in The Kingdom (2007). Taylor Kitsch and Jesse Plemons appeared in Battleship (2012). Kitsch also appeared in Lone Survivor (2013).
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In s05 e10, the interior rim of Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler)'s hat is inscribed with the letters KMC. Kyle Martin Chandler plays Coach Taylor. The initials were clearly for the props crew to keep Chandler's hat separate from others.
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Male lead, Kyle Chandler (Eric), formerly played an aspiring Country singer/songwriter named Buddy (1992 - Pure Country), while the female lead, Connie Britton (Tami), went on to play a Country Superstar in the TV show Nashville (2012).
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Kyle Chandler (Eric Taylor) & Jesse Plemons (Landry Clarke) also worked together on Game Night (2018) as Brooks & Gary respectively.
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Daniella Alonso (Carlotta), Austin Nichols (Noah Barnett), and Jana Kramer (Noelle) all played roles in One Tree Hill (2003). Alonso in season 2, Nichols in season 6-9, Kramer in season 7-9.
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Kyle Chandler (Eric), Aasha Davis (Waverly), Jesse Plemons (Landry) and Zach Gilford (Matt) all guest starred in episodes of Grey's Anatomy (2005). Gaius Charles ( Brian 'Smash' Williams) became part of the main cast of Grey's Anatomy in seasons 9 and 10.
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The Riggin's backyard is shown rarely on the show, however, it undergoes drastic changes. In Season 3 Episode 4, the Riggin's backyard is shown to be taken up mostly by a large above ground pool. By Season 5 Episode 6, however, the above ground pool is gone, replaced by a regular rectangular block of grass.
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The uniforms and some football footage were taken (mixed with the taped footage to create the game action) from the Pflugerville Panthers, with one real-life Pflugerville player claiming the show to be a "huge distraction" when he was interviewed during the first season. He also said that a senior pep rally had to be canceled because of the show's shooting schedule.
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Kyle Chandler (Eric Taylor) & Glenn Morshower (Chad Clarke) also worked together on Bloodline (2015) as John Rayburn & Wayne Lowry respectively.
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The actors/actresses who played Hastings (Grey Damon), Becky (Dora Madison), and Julie (Aimee Teegarden) all starred together on Star-Crossed (2014).
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In season 4, when Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) begins calling East alumni, the first call is to an RC Collins. RC is a fictional regular appearing character on The Phil Hendrie radio show.
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In 2003, while "Friday Night Lights creator and executive producer Peter Berg was still doing research for the previous movie version of Buzz Bissinger's book, he attended a high school football game between San Antonio Madison High School and Westlake High School in which David Edwards, a 15-year-old defensive back for Madison, was paralyzed after a collision with a Westlake receiver. Berg took that incident as the inspiration for Jason Street's storyline in the TV series. David Edwards, who after his injury became a motivational speaker, died in 2008 of pneumonia, three days shy of his 21st birthday.
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Although in the finale it never says if the East Dillion Lions win State, Vince (Michael B. Jordan) is shown wearing his ring, and Luke (Matt Lauria) is shown giving his ring to Becky (Dora Madison).
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Apart from players wearing state championship rings, the final scenes include the state championship banner being removed from the dismantled scoreboard of the Lions, obviously indication of the Lions winning on the hail Mary pass.
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Jesse Plemons (Landry), Kevin Rankin (Herc), and Emily Rios (Epyck) all appear in Breaking Bad (2008). Rankin and Plemons play cousins in BB. Plemons character in FNL kills a triangular raccoon. Plemons character in BB kills Emily Rios' character with an ottoman.
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