There are some tough decisions they’re going to have to make, and it kind of comes off the back of the whole Dubai Air protest. But I just called Hannah. Especially in this season, compared to the first season, I think that’s the thing I wanted to come across. What was it like when you actually got to play this all out?It was hilarious. How was that? View this post on Instagram A post shared by Toheeb Jimoh (@toheeb.j)
This question relates to what we were talking about in terms of how Sam has evolved this season: He just seems like someone who is so calming to be around. There had just been a massacre in Lekki, an area in Nigeria where the lights just got shut off and protesters were being shot at by armed forces. I know there were definitely a lot of people in the cast who were wishing they were in my shoes. I feel like, in real life, there would be more pushback.I think that’s the world we’re in, and that’s the culture at the club. After you read that, what did you do? The first thing I did was call Hannah [Waddingham], and we just geeked out. There just wasn’t. As soon as I get off this phone call, I’m going to, like, explode in my house. We have a big thing where we just fight for Hannah’s attention. That’s what your platform is for. I mean, she knew, obviously. One thing that was really important with the End SARS protest that we wanted to take and use was the idea that once people in the U.K. I was so excited to get to do it. There’s a montage bit that we shot, where we were just rolling tape. I’m like, Why Sam? Where are you today? The logistics don’t matter. I was over the moon to get a chance to do that. So yeah, it was great. I got to enjoy that in the moment. In season two, he’s growing up a lot more. I feel like this season, especially, he seems like a Zen master. But Roy has given that book to Sam. I knew there were going to be some things I was going to be able to sink my teeth into, but I didn’t know the exact details. Oh, she did?I don’t know why she didn’t tell me as well. It’s a lot for me to do as an actor, and I get to share that with Hannah. At the basis of their friendship, there’s a connection there that just everything else doesn’t really matter. Also, Hannah is really attractive. It was brilliant. He’s so comfortable in so many situations. Go on my social-media posts; you’ll see me and him bickering about who Hannah prefers. Despite the initial awkwardness that follows the discovery, Sam demonstrates that he’s quite willing to take his relationship with Rebecca to the next level. I’m back home, sat down, ready to go. And of course, she’s incredibly attractive as well. Thank you. It was hilarious because Hannah and I also have a very close relationship, so we were really tight anyway. The conversations we had were more about why Sam was doing that. But also they have their own professional lives. This was in the middle of summer in 2020, and so much stuff was happening in Nigeria, where people were protesting against the government. And there really wasn’t anything. Sam has become such a major character in this season of Ted Lasso. started to protest, and once people in the western world started to get notice of this and started to speak out about it and started to publicize it on Twitter and Instagram, that’s when a lot of change started to happen. You’re doing a scene with a friend. And I don’t know how much of that comes from you, Toheeb, being that way, but is that something you’re thinking about as an actor or does it just come naturally to you?I think that’s stuff that definitely stems from Sam, the character. There’s a tiny bit in episode eight where he’s reading A Wrinkle in Time, which is the book Ted gave to Roy. Because you look at the version of Sam that we had in the beginning of season one, and he just hadn’t really found himself in this team. There was the whole End SARS thing. It’s been a lot for Jimoh to take on, and he seems overjoyed to be doing it. I think they just immediately had a kinship. It’s actually crazy because Cristiano Ronaldo has just signed for the football team that I support. There is immediately a connection there. I feel like the hardest thing in interviews and all of this stuff has been not telling other people. Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
If you’ve watched episode eight of Ted Lasso season two — and you definitely should before you read this because it contains spoilers galore — then you know what a big moment it is for Sam Obisanya. That’s a thing that’s happened off-screen that’s like a tiny little Easter egg for fans. He’s got his friends now. During a recent telephone conversation — one that happened to coincide with the announcement that Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Jimoh’s favorite football team, Manchester United — the actor very cheerfully discussed Sam’s evolution this season, how he found out about the Sam-Rebecca relationship, and the total lack of awkwardness between him and Waddingham during their big moment together. And then suddenly, all the nerves leave, everything goes away, and you’re just doing a show with a friend. There are so many people who empower him and make him feel comfortable and give him the opportunity to use his voice. Usually, we get one or two; we had a couple in the first season. I’m glad to know that, like, people who are part of the diaspora outside of Nigeria are also still somehow connected to it.”
Ted Lasso came out at a time when we’re going through a global pandemic, and it was a really dark time for people. So yeah, I couldn’t wait to do kissing scenes with Hannah. Were there conversations about how much pushback Sam should receive from both Rebecca and the team in general? I always say this job is just me kicking a ball around and telling jokes with my friends. And he always remembers that. Especially Moe [Jeudy-Lamour], who plays Thierry Zoreaux, the goalkeeper. Even in that moment in the restaurant, when they finally realize, “Oh, you’re waiting for me, and I’m waiting for you,” she’s very flustered. We’ll get to see a bit of the fallout from that. And I think I can do that. I’m kind of like, That’s smart. And I was just really glad that we got to explore this version of Sam. But then we just liked the idea of it being a public image, like something you could see. She’s also incredibly gorgeous, and I mean that inside and out. This is somebody who I feel comfortable with, somebody who makes me happy, and somebody who I want to make happy. There’s a version of Sam that we’re seeing in this season that is stepping up and becoming one of the leaders on the team even though he’s very young. People just notice everything, and it’s hilarious. Or was it something that, because she was his boss, he wouldn’t even really think about?I think a lot about that scene we had in the first season where Sam goes into Rebecca’s office and speaks to her and tries to get her to come down to partake in the curse thing, where everybody is burning something to get rid of the curse they have on the team. We’re watching him grow into a man a little bit. That’s just our relationship together. So Jason was speaking to me about what turned into the Dubai Air story line. They had nailed it. It couldn’t have been easier. I also super-loved filming those scenes with Hannah. Not in the way most people would think, I imagine, but it does have some consequences and those consequences lead to a few difficult decisions for Rebecca and for Sam because of their newfound relationship. Fan responses are really nice, especially with the Dubai Air stuff. We were really wrestling with whether it should be a tweet or whether — there were a lot of different ideas of what the actual form of [Sam’s] protest should be. I don’t know how much they were trying to evoke the idea of taking a knee, but that’s sort of more in the same wheelhouse.One hundred percent. That thing was all crazy. So many Nigerians have reached out, and I think that’s some of the stuff that’s the nicest to see, people going, “Oh, I really felt seen because of that episode. This is just somebody who makes me feel comfortable, who is nice to you, and who you like. Everybody else kind of knew about the Sam and Rebecca thing, apart from me. I thought the whole thing was great. I’ve seen that episode twice, and I totally overlooked what book he was reading. There is immediately a chemistry there, and they just have a bit of a soul-bond friendship thing with each other. Tell me about filming that scene in the restaurant. It’s not that difficult. I really hope we get to do more together in the future. They had done the work themselves. By the time it came to me, it was just like fine-tuning loads of little things. We see a little bit of that in the Dubai Air conversation where she sees, Oh, this is somebody who just goes, “This is what I want to do. And so we really see him stepping up to the plate. But it was pretty much there. Did you know in advance that he was going to be so integral this year? Feel free to explode at any time during this interview, that’s fine. But you’re just not because she’s also going to turn up in trainers and a tracksuit and just make a big fool of herself. Wow.Nobody told me. Up until episode six, when the reveal comes about, me and Hannah hadn’t really had that much to do together. I remember somebody else asked me if there was anything I didn’t like when I read the script, was there anything I sort of went to them and suggested that we change. You said the two of you were geeking out about doing this. He’s also going to Ted in the locker room. So I just really wanted opportunities to work with her. Do you pay attention to that a lot or just skim Twitter every once in a while?I skim it every once in a while. Some of that is me and Hannah actually just speaking to each other and telling jokes or making each other laugh. That’s smart because I probably would have ruined it for everyone at some point. I think the Twitter fandom has been the thing I’ve found the most interesting with all of this stuff. We just geeked out. Hannah has a very, very cool way of making everything not a big deal. I don’t want you to spoil anything, but I’m just curious: Is that the last we’re going to hear about Dubai Airlines? You must have been excited and surprised.Oh man, it was a lot of things. Yeah, I think he would like her, but at this point you just kind of go, Oh, there’s no way that would happen. It’s Hannah. She’s incredible. And so you leave that, and you’re more than happy to have a friendship with this person. And the first thing I do when I go on set is I go to hair and makeup and I give Hannah a big hug. I knew that was coming. Let’s talk more about Rebecca. It’s not a hard assignment.It’s not a hard assignment. He’s learning to stand on his own two feet. And in this week’s episode, after extensive anonymous flirting with a potential suitor on the Bantr app, Sam finally realizes the mystery lover is Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), the owner of AFC Richmond and therefore his boss. In season one, if you had put Sam and Rebecca in that same restaurant, I think he would have been just as flustered as she was. It’s something that’s really close to home for me. I want to talk more about Sam and Rebecca, but before we go there, I want to ask you about the Dubai Air situation. A lot of this is the fallout of his relationship with Ted. To get to see him off the pitch and venture into a little bit of romance and try to find himself is great. As much as he’s really wholesome and he’s got an open heart and he’s supersweet, he just has a different confidence. And I read the script and I was like, All right, hey? Now that Sam is involved with Rebecca, is that issue going to reemerge in any way?Yes and no. And at the end of the day, I think they just make each other feel very comfortable, even though Sam is a bit fidgety and weird with her because she’s his boss. Now that Ted is there, everybody has kind of adopted that ethos of being a community and being a family and being supportive of each other. You were saying something a moment ago about Sam being sort of awkward in her presence. Actually, this whole season has been a big moment for Sam, the defensive player for AFC Richmond played by Toheeb Jimoh, who has emerged as a real team leader in season two of the Apple TV+ series. After we finished shooting the first season, me and Brett [Goldstein] — Brett’s the person I speak to most from the writing team because he’s an actor as well, and we have a really close relationship anyway — but me, Brett, Jason [Sudeikis], Brendan [Hunt], and Joe Kelly, one of our writers, we all formed this FIFA group. Sam is definitely one of the players who swears by Ted’s every word, regardless of the Jamie situation at the start. Now he’s at a place where he can just speak for himself. In between losing on FIFA because our team wasn’t very great, we would just talk and talk about ideas for season two. Do you think Sam was attracted to her before they connected on the app? You look at her, and because she’s Hannah Waddingham and she’s got this esteemed career and she’s a brilliant actress and she’s got a wonderful voice and everything is just working, you just kind of go, Oooh, you should be intimidated working with her. We see that translated into this situation. He’s got his relationship with Roy. He’s just such a positive presence. I couldn’t have got any more of that doing scenes with Hannah Waddingham. Yeah, of course, she did. We just kept taking pictures and sending them to Moe. He was struggling to adjust culturally. And he’s like, “This is kind of funny.”Yeah, yeah, yeah. That can be a little bit strange, but it sounds like maybe it wasn’t, based on your comfort level with each other.It definitely wasn’t. People reaching out and letting us know that the show was a big light for them during that time is great. Regardless of what your job is, you can use your platform to help the culture you come from and help the communities you come from. Did you not know Rebecca was communicating on Bantr with Sam until you actually read that in the script?Yeah. I was just really excited because I was going to get to do scenes with Hannah. I mean, I wish I could be like, Ah, I took one for the team. That gets called into question a little bit. I think if anybody had had to do those scenes with Hannah, it would have been great because of what she’s like. What’s happening in your world?Oh, I’ve literally just arrived back in my house. I love the idea of empowering athletes, or any form of entertainers, anybody who’s got a public-facing job. That was something Jason and you spoke about. Every now and then, you would hear things. First, he led the team in a protest of its sponsor Dubai Airlines, which is owned by an oil company that caused environmental destruction in Nigeria, Sam’s home country. Similarly, there’s the scene, which I think is the last moment in episode eight, when you show up at the door and you finally kiss each other. He’d kind of hinted at a romance thing, and he was like, “We want to explore that with Sam.” But nobody told me anything, really. He hadn’t found himself in this country. Putting the black tape over the Dubai Air logo — why that was the accurate way of protest? He can stand on his own two feet, and he feels massively empowered because he’s got his father back home. I’m not sure how it looks because I actually haven’t seen episode eight yet. They’d spoken to people. So I’m now a 7-year-old boy again, you know? We spoke a lot about real protests that were happening at the time. It does make more of an impact to see everybody on the pitch with the logo blacked out. I was kind of like, I’m glad this is me, you know? And I feel like there’s also a story in that, in that he’s learning to step into those shoes and fill Roy’s presence as one of the leaders on the team. I didn’t. There’s definitely going to be someone on Twitter who finds that. So we would play FIFA on Xbox, and we’d just jump on a line, put our headsets on, and talk. I wish I could tell you that there was some stuff to wrestle through. It is a big moment for me. I think that’s also partly what Rebecca likes about Sam. But I think now he’s found himself, and he’s found that confidence. But then once this opportunity presents itself, I feel like Sam is at a place in his life where he can just be open enough to go, You know what? And if you need to speak out for them, then speak out for them. I hope you can support me, but I’m going with my gut here.” I think there’s something about that that she likes. I’m glad we’re doing something that makes people feel that way. Tags: She’s super-chill.