“For me as the actor, there’s a really wonderful arc that Jamie goes on. It’s an arc, but it’s also not a linear one” – Phil Dunster on Playing Jamie Tartt
On Apple TV+’s critically-acclaimed series Ted Lasso, actor Phil Dunster portrays Jamie Tartt, an egotistical Premiere League player. In an interview with Town & Country, Dunster speaks about how the character was created for him after an unsuccessful audition and how he has grown with the character.
Dunster reveals that Tartt was originally not a character on the show, but the character was created for Dunster after he wasn’t cast in the role of another player, Dani Rojas. He explains, “How Jamie Tartt came to be Jamie Tartt was that he was originally Dani Rojas—but not as we know him now because Cristo Fernandez is Dani Rojas. They saw Cristo Fernandez and went, okay, we’re going to make a character and we’ll find a name for him.”
Part of the issue is that Dunster did not have a strong Spanish accent to play Rojas, so he instead went with a character that would be closer to his home in origin. He explains, “They were like, ‘Cool, great, thanks for that. It’s funny. It’s not quite right. It’s not quite Spanish.’ So I just went for something that I knew. A lot of the big clubs have amazing academy programs and those players come from around the city that the football clubs are in. Manchester is obviously is a huge footballing city with Manchester City and Manchester United there—and I really like this accent because my agent is also from Manchester and my girlfriend’s family is from Manchester. And I loved reading Jamie and seeing the swagger that he had. It reminded me of Liam Gallagher—it just feels like it’s a good little nod to that.”
The added character became one of the main characters of the series (even more prominent than Dani Rojas), and Dunster has enjoyed growing with the character over the series’ two seasons. He reflects, “It feels like a pretty logical progression from what we’ve seen in series one; he’s sort of done all that hard work. He’s learned all of the vocabulary that he needs to use. And now we see him living that and trying to put that into practice. And so for me as the actor, there’s a really wonderful arc that Jamie goes on. It’s an arc, but it’s also not a linear one. Jamie, he’s still himself; he’s still an idiot and troubled and difficult and annoying and selfish at times.”