True Blood is back tonight! OK, not really, but another show that has so much in common with HBO's vamp series (hotties, panthers and a certain ridonkulously good-looking football stud) is kicking off its giddy-good final season: Friday Night Lights on DirecTV's 101 Network. When you see the new football star, Grey Damon, you're gonna fall. Hard. So we tackled him to get a closer look...
Since screening the premiere episode of season five of Friday Night Lights, we can't help but think that you will be the new face on TV to watch! How did you get into acting?
Grey Damon: My ma and pa are both very artistic, so I suppose it's in my blood. But my ma's the one who was into theater and such. I owe my love of it to her. If she didn't drag me to small community workshops when I was a wee little lad or exposed me to anything artistic for that matter, I wouldn't be who I am today. So my mother definitely plays a major part.
Any horror stories from auditioning?
There was one where I walked in and the women asked if I had gotten the new sides (script pages) and I responded that I hadn't been sent them. She just got really angry and started yelling at me, actually yelling at me that it was my job to have the correct material and that I was so unprofessional. I calmly responded, "That may be, but isn't it also yours?" I mean, I can't have new sides if her office never sent them! She stared at me for a moment and just started yelling even more. She obviously was not having a good day. I calmly said, "I don't let my own family talk to me this way," and turned around and left. She was flabbergasted. No job is worth that sort of mistreatment.
Right on! Let's move on to your role on Friday Night Lights. What was the audition process like for the role of Hastings?
I guess intimidating would be the word. There were maybe 10 other guys who looked like they actually walked off a football field and came to audition. But I really loved this role. It spoke to me and for the 15 minutes (which felt like an hour) I was in that room, I became Hastings. I forgot who I was for that brief period of time, which is what I really think landed me the role.
How did you adapt to being the "new kid" in Dillon, and how was filming with the cast?
The cast is very much a family and everyone was very welcoming. It was amazing working with them. They all were so giving and thoughtful and very helpful in breaking me in.
Friday Night Lights is a beloved show and has a dedicated fan base. How did it feel to be a part of the final season?
It was a dream role to land not only because of the character but also because of the show. My mother doesn't even like football, but because there are so many other elements she's grown to love it and tells me all the time she can't wait to get more. I think she watched the first seasons all the way through just trying to catch up! And my mother loves film but never spends that much time watching television. That makes sense because [Friday Night Lights] is like watching a movie. The acting is very real, and it's shot like an indie film to me. Very edgy and raw.
What was the atmosphere like on set?
The atmosphere on set was amazing! I really felt I was about to go play a football game. The sets were real locker rooms and real football fields. None of it is shot in a studio, which I think offers something to the actors. It's a lot easier to get into it when you're getting hit in real dirt and have real grass stains all over you. Not to mention we work with the same background football players every day, so you build a community of what might be like a real football team.
So we'll be getting some hard-hitting football action. Awesome. Can you tell us a little bit about your character? What can viewers look forward to from you as the season goes on?
Not much to say about Hastings. You're just going to have to watch and see for yourself! As the season progresses, some of Hastings' secrets will be revealed. The guy is pretty much a mystery for the first half before things unfold.
Let's switch gears and talk about your guest role on True Blood (as Kitch Maynard). How was it being a part of such a high-profile show?
I think about the work I've landed and I think to myself, "If I never land a job again I could still die happy." But I wouldn't 100 percent feel that way if it weren't for True Blood. That show will always have a place in my heart. It is such a well-thought-out and well-executed show. But on top of that, I had one of the swellest guys I've ever met helping me along. Ryan [Kwanten], who plays Jason Stackhouse, was the only guy I had really interacted with on the show and he made my job easy. Always helpful when I was stumped with story or anything like that and so giving as an actor. I'm really glad I've gotten the opportunity to work with him. And the show itself was just amazing because, one, it's True Blood! Need I say more? And two, I had an awesome, fun role to play. You can't ask for more when you've already struck gold.
Any chance you will be returning?
Will I be back? That's a question for the producers, but I would run, not walk, if they asked me to return! Who wouldn't?
Can't wait to see him in action? Neither can we. Check out Grey in the season premiere of the final season (sob!) of Friday Night Lights, airing tonight on DirecTV's 101 network at 9 p.m. ET.
And be sure to send your greetings to Grey in the comments below. We'll send them along—but get in line, ladies!