Scroll To Top
Interviews

Ted Lasso’s Billy Harris & James Lance On This Season's Big Gay Moment

Ted Lasso’s Billy Harris & James Lance On This Season's Big Gay Moment

Billy Harris & James Lance
Courtesy of Apple TV+

The actors open up about how they prepared for their poignant coming-out scene and how audiences reacted to their moving reveals.

rachiepants

Even in 2023, it remains a major moment and milestone whenever a professional athlete comes out. Will they face pushback in the locker room, on the field, or from the fans? It can be incredibly intimidating — and that real-world dynamic adds the poignancy and weight of the gay plotline that has emerged on this season of Ted Lasso.

The show, while ostensibly about a fish-out-of-water coach leading his team to victory, is in reality a deeper exploration of how leading with kindness is the secret weapon against the wages of cynicism. So it should come as no surprise that it would handle this plotline with an emphasis on human connection and heart — making it more about the profundity of the moment than a plot twist.

Courtesy of Apple TV+

Billy Harris plays Colin Hughes, a gay footballer living two very separate lives to keep his queerness under wraps. There have been hints that perhaps he was part of the LGBTQ+ community when he dropped a Grindr reference in season two, but it was confirmed when we saw him all coupled up with his boyfriend.

It was a relief to the fans who feared perhaps the show would shy away from including a gay player, and who reached out to the actor on social media to express their happiness. “[Since season two], lots of people on Twitter are like, ‘Wow, okay, is this going to happen? Is Colin gay? Are they going to explore that?’ And then a lot of people with frustrations being like, ‘Was that just a throwaway joke?’ Because we want this to carry on, and then obviously, me knowing that there was going to be more in season three,” Harris tells PRIDE.

Watch PRIDE’s full interview with Billy Harris below.

But not only did audiences learn of Colin’s sexuality, but in episode six, journalist Trent Crimm, who had previously caught Colin kissing his boyfriend, opened up about his own sexuality in a beautiful scene where the two shared the struggles and pain of having to live two lives, hiding an important part of who they are. “I’m still coming down from the sheer joy of episode six,” says Harris. “People have been messaging me whether they’re young, or even whether they’re older, and you know, wishing that their younger selves could have seen this episode or seen Colin’s storyline, being a lover of football, and then but also being gay, and not really seeing that the two could combine in some sort of way because of the stigma of if you’re gay, you know, potentially you shouldn’t be a footballer.”

Courtesy of Apple TV+

For James Lance, who stars as Trent, this was a scene that he had been preparing for, for quite a while. “In season two, Jason [Sudeikis] had mentioned that potentially this might happen,” he relates to PRIDE. “So then I read a lot of books about homosexuality and kind of just immersed myself in just loads and loads and loads of material, and sort of case studies of people in the sports world that were frightened to come out, but being able to chat about it.”

“By the time we got to do the scene, I felt like I had sort of hundreds of gay men’s stories kind of in my system,” Lance shares. “And that was just a kind of a privilege to sort of hold those in whilst Billy was talking to me, you know, as Colin when he’s telling that his experience and how he’s kind of living two lives because obviously I know, it’s not just him that’s living that. And so that was really kind of, I don’t know, almost like, cathartic.”

Watch PRIDE’s full interview with James Lance below.

Not only was the scene a profound moment of connection between the two characters, but it was also part of a larger arc that Trent has been moving toward since the beginning of the series — one that serves almost as a thesis statement for the show.

He referred back to the moment when Trent and Ted went out to dinner for the first time and how it began to open the seasoned reporter’s heart. “There’s a bit where Ted says that it’s not about winning and losing to him, it was about these boys being the best versions of themselves, both on and off the pitch,” Harris recalls. “And then it ain’t always easy, particularly when you have a tough, you know, background, and that just sort of popped something in Trent. And he realizes that this cynical facade, there’s no time for it, it needs to be dissipated. And actually, just by being in proximity with Ted it is, it moves him and changes him.”

Courtesy of Apple TV+

Ultimately therein lies the magic of the feel-good series: that it holds humanity above all else when it comes to queer characters and champions the need for everyone to live their full authentic lives. “As we tried to do with Collin,” Harris agrees. “Colin is still kind of tackling the thought that it’s almost impossible for him for both those lives to merge. And that’s important because everyone deserves to live their life as one, their true self.

Ted Lasso is airing now on Apple TV+

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.