So long Dillon, Texas! Zach Gilford is taking on a a very different role since walking off the football field five years ago. The Friday Night Lights alum is now starring in the YouTube Red series Lifeline, which debuts on Wednesday, October 11.
“Part of me wanting to do this was that I haven’t gotten to play the alpha male before,” Gilford, 35, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “The thing that broke my career was Friday Night Lights. I’m the humble quarterback, the soft spoken guy, the nice guy. Not the bad boy. The one your mom would want you to date but maybe not the one you’re into. And I’ve gotten to play that guy several times, which is always fun. But you got to show people that you can do other stuff. And it’s not so much typecasting as you need to prove to people, ‘Hey, I can play something else.’ I hope this proves that I can be that stronger, leading man, but who is a little bit different than Matt Saracen.”
And he’s found that in Connor Hooks, an insurance company agent who is sent 33 days into the future to try to prevent the accidental deaths of its clients.
“It’s so tricky because he’s a top agent, he’s the hot shot. He’s just a guy who’s confident in what he does and what I loved about the script is that he’s essentially a superhero. He travels in time to save people’s lives. He’s got a bit of swagger in him because of that,” Gilford teases. “But in the first episode that confidence is shook because of a save that he misses, which he didn’t think was even possible. So now he kind of has to try to right that wrong. His eyes are now open to the reality that people could die because of him.”
One of Gilford’s favorite scenes so far in the eight-episode series is with Sydney Park, who plays Norah. “There’s a scene between me and Sydney on the roof of a building in L.A. It was really cool because a lot of the show is running around … but this was the first scene in a while where it was just two people talking. We got to breakdown the scene,” he recalls. “She’s such an amazing actress. I can’t believe she’s only 19 years old. In this weird sci-fi world and jumping in time and saving lives, this felt like a real conversation that had some weight to it and didn’t feel overly melodramatic.”
The show, which is produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is something that Gilford tends “to gravitate towards.”
“I always joke, but it’s not a joke, that I always wanted to be an actor since I saw Die Hard because I just wanted to run around and jump off planes. It was the opportunity to do a lot of that fun stuff. I thought there was a lot that I personally can bring to the project and character,” he tells Us. “I’m 10 years older than when I shot [FNL]. Clearly I can’t play a high school student anymore. But at the end of the day you just want to do something good and I would play any version of a character over and over again if I thought I was making a good product. You just want to be proud of what you’re putting out there.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!