How ‘Ted Lasso,’ ‘Boys State’ and More Brought Their Projects to Life on Apple TV Plus

How ‘Ted Lasso,’ ‘Boys State’ and More Brought Their Projects to Life on Apple TV Plus

In a year of staying at home, binge-watching favorite television and exploring new movies, Apple TV Plus has delivered a slew of content to satisfy its audiences.

The “Variety x Apple TV Plus Collaborations” event on Monday looked into the collaborative process between the actors, directors, writers and artisans behind the streamer’s hit content like “Ted Lasso” and “Boys State.”

Writer Sofia Coppola had her close friend Rashida Jones in mind when creating the film “On the Rocks.” Even though they hadn’t worked together before then, Coppola reached out to Jones to share that she had a role for her that would explore “what an adult daughter looks like.”

“It was a call that you hope to get at some point in your career but kind of never expect,” said Jones. “I think what I love so much about this is the kind of exploration of what it’s like to be an adult daughter, because I don’t think we see that very often. Family movies tend to be about ‘Ugh, dad’ or ‘Everybody worked it out and it’s fine.’ But exploring the ties that it takes to unravel around your parents’ relationship with your dad to really be present for your own life… I just loved the idea that she’s torn between these two worlds.”

Thomas Moore and Ross Stewart, creators behind the animated movie “Wolfwalkers,” shared that they worked closely with each other in every aspect of storytelling. Stewart added that he wanted the screenwriter and every artist on his team to feel like they are the filmmakers.

“The first draft of the story came up over lunch,” he said of the project. “We sort of said ‘Let’s try to come up with an idea’ … We were both passionate about environmental themes; we were both concerned about how polarizing society is becoming. We wanted to speak to what it would be like if someone was hunting an animal and ended up becoming the animal they hunted.”

Documentary filmmakers Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss opened up about “Boys State,” the recipient of top documentary honors at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Moss shared that it felt unusual to spot a school in Texas where students were speaking with one another to resolve conflicts. The subject immediately drew both McBaine and Moss’ attention.

McBaine shared that while she’s usually in the writing room, “Boys State” was the first for the married couple to co-direct in the field. She added that in their “creative marriage” for the documentary, it was critical to sign on editors who they collaborated with in the past.

On making the character of Ted Lasso, Jason Sudeikis explained that the creators behind the commercial that originally introduced the character had envisioned a “yelling, screaming coach” based on roles he had played on “Saturday Night Live.” But when Sudeikis read the script, he thought “it needs to be a little bit more countrified, a little bit more Midwestern.”

“He’s a little bit more of a goofball. Because of the success of the first one, we got to do a second one, and that unlocked kind of this undying optimism, this can-do spirit and enthusiasm that even though in the first commercial he got hired and fired within three days, he loved it so much he had to coach a little girl’s soccer team,” he said of the character.

Sudeikis continued, speaking to his collaboration with series creator Bill Lawrence: “Then Bill came into my life and we were talking about maybe doing something together…At the end of that meeting, it was like, ‘Well, if you ever have anything…’ I was like ‘[there’s] this Ted Lasso thing.’ And then a quick three years later, here we are.”

The event was moderated by Variety editors Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay, Clayton Davis and Jenelle Riley. The conversations will be live and available to stream here until the end of January.

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