What The Cast Of Friday Night Lights Looks Like Today

In Hollywood, movies being turned into television shows is nothing new, and this was how NBC found its drama "Friday Night Lights." The series is based on both the "Friday Night Lights" movie and the book "Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream" that the movie was based on. When the show premiered on October 3, 2006, it became an instant critical hit (although it didn't have the best ratings). Much like the film version, the show revolved around a high school football team. Instead of the Permian High Panthers from Odessa, Texas, though, the series had the Dillon High School Panthers from Dillon, Texas.

Throughout the show's five seasons, much of the focus was on the Panthers players, their beloved coach, and the people in their lives. It made for a gritty drama about a team's quest for the state championship while dealing with family struggles and other issues. At the end of its run, "Friday Night Lights" had received 12 Emmy nods and three wins. It also became a Television Academy Honors honoree.

Because of the show's success, there has been some talk of rebooting "Friday Night Lights," specifically making a movie inspired by the series. However, those plans have apparently stalled, with series creator Peter Berg admitting to Collider that it's not necessarily a good idea. As for the cast, they've also moved on, and some of them look different from the characters they played years ago.

Kyle Chandler (Eric Taylor)

If the movie had Billy Bob Thornton, "Friday Night Lights," the series had Kyle Chandler playing Coach Eric Taylor. Interestingly, the show's creator, Peter Berg, didn't think Chandler was right for the part at first. For him, the actor was nothing like Thornton, and Berg was determined to find the right person for the role. As executive producer Sarah Aubrey told Grantland, "I think Pete was concerned that Kyle was too pretty."

But then, Chandler and Berg met for lunch, and the actor showed up looking a little disheveled after drinking with his buddies. At that moment, Chandler won Berg over. "I just said, "You look like a Texas high school football coach!" the show creator recalled. Coach Taylor was as strict as they come, but he had a big heart, and it suddenly seemed like Chandler was born to play the role for the small screen. The Buffalo native eventually won an Emmy for his lead performance in the series.

Following the end of "Friday Night Lights," Chandler went back to looking 'pretty' again as he ventured more onto the big screen, where he has continued to enjoy critical acclaim. Right after the series ended, he starred in Ben Affleck's "Argo," Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" and later on, Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street." In addition, Chandler also joined the highly popular "Godzilla" franchise. The actor also pursued episodic projects from time to time, such as "Bloodline," "Mayor of Kingstown," and "Super Pumped."

Connie Britton (Tami Taylor)

By the time NBC was putting together "Friday Night Lights," Connie Britton was already convinced she didn't want to be in it. The Boston native was more than familiar with the show's storyline after playing Billy Bob Thornton's wife in the movie. And the last thing Britton wanted to do was play the coach's wife in the background again. "The only thing worse than playing a nothing part in a movie is [playing it] for years and years on TV," the actress explained in the Grantland interview. To convince Britton to sign on, show creator Peter Berg promised her it would be different this time around. Her Tami Taylor would have a story, and she wouldn't just have to sit and watch throughout episodes. In the end, Britton also received much recognition for her work on the show and earned two Emmy nods.

Years after working on the show, Britton seemingly hasn't aged a day. The actress has also found more success in television since. Soon after, she starred in the country music drama "Nashville," which earned her a third Emmy nod. The actress also starred in the first seasons of "American Horror Story" and "The White Lotus," both of which earned her more Emmy nominations. In between shows, Britton also delivered memorable performances in films like "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" and "This Is Where I Leave You."

Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins)

In "Friday Night Lights," Taylor Kitsch played Tim Riggins, the Dillon Panthers' running back who loved to party. And even during his audition, the actor portrayed Tim that way, as the British Columbia native was determined to show network execs that he's already embraced the part. "He had two tall boys of beer, and he was already referring to himself as Rigg," executive producer Sarah Aubrey recalled in the Grantland interview. As it turns out, Kitsch even went as far as to grab a Texas beer (Lone Star) for his tape.

Since wrapping up his time in the series, the actor has taken on a slightly more mature appearance as he carefully chose his next roles. Kitsch wanted to diversify his projects and not just play some version of Tim Riggins over and over again. Right after "Friday Night Lights," he played the titular character in Disney's "John Carter," a Civil War vet who discovers a planet full of barbarians. Soon after, Kitsch also reunited with "Friday Night Lights" creator Peter Berg for the sci-fi action film "Battleship," which also stars Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgård, and Brooklyn Decker.

The frequent collaborators would work together again for the Oscar-nominated biopic "Lone Survivor," where he portrayed the late U.S. Navy SEAL Michael P. Murphy, who was fatally wounded after radioing for support to save his fellow SEALs. Years later, Kitsch and Berg reunited once more on the set of the Netflix series "Painkiller," which Berg directed.

Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen)

Before "Friday Night Lights," Zach Gilford was barely acting. His only credits he had were a short and the horror mystery film "The Last Winter." Instead, the Evanston, Illinois native was working at a sporting goods store while his manager/agent brought him possible projects to pursue. Among them was "Friday Night Lights," which Gilford was interested in because he was very familiar with the movie. Eventually, the show cast him as Matt Saracen, a player who realizes that he quickly has to step up after his teammate's injury forces him from a second-stringer to the Dillon Panthers' starting quarterback.

Years after "Friday Night Lights" ended, Gilford still resembles his popular teen character, although he can also look more mature depending on his roles. After working on the show, the actor played Dr. Tommy Fuller in the short-lived Shonda Rhimes-produced medical drama "Off the Map" and the Fox crime-drama "The Mob Doctor." Gilford also went on to pursue several roles in major films such as "The Purge: Anarchy," "Kingdom," and "Lifeline." For the most part, however, the actor continued to book episodic projects as he joined the cast of "L.A.'s Finest," "Good Girls," "Criminal Minds," and Netflix shows such as "The Midnight Club" and "The Fall of the House of Usher."

Aimee Teegarden (Julie Taylor)

If there was one "Friday Night Lights" cast member who is practically unrecognizable today, it would be actress Aimee Teegarden, who started working on the show when she was only 16 after landing the role of Coach Eric and Tami Taylor's daughter, Julie. The show was also the first pilot that Teegarden ever worked on, and it was perfect for her. "That show was just — it's alchemy. It's everything happening when it needs to happen, and the right pieces sort of fall together," the actress once told Nylon.

Following her time in "Friday Night Lights," Teegarden pursued all sorts of projects, including starring in Demi Lovato's music video for the song "Made in the USA." She also landed roles in the horror movie "Rings" and the romantic drama "Love and Honor" with Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer. In addition, the actress has become quite a Hallmark Channel star, taking on roles in feel-good films like "Once Upon a Christmas Miracle," "Autumn in the City," and "Heart of the Matter." In 2022, Teegarden signed an exclusive multi-picture deal with Hallmark's parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, which will see her star in more Hallmark Channel projects. In a statement to Deadline, the actress said, "I'm ecstatic to continue."

Adrianne Palicki (Tyra Collette)

When Adrianne Palicki learned that she booked a part in "Friday Night Lights," she was left with a dilemma. By then, the Ohio native was already a rising star, having booked small roles in hit series such as "Smallville," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," and "North Shore." She had also already shot a pilot for an "Aquaman" series and was sure that it would get greenlit. It didn't, and Palicki moved to Austin, Texas, to play Tyra Collette. She was a regular on the show for three seasons.

Years after her stint on the show, Palicki looks much more sophisticated than small-town girl Tyra. Throughout her career, the actress has also gravitated toward femme fatale roles, playing the deadly contract killer Ms. Perkins in "John Wick" and transforming into Bobbi Morse in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." The actress also played Commander Kelly Grayson in "The Orville." And while Palicki has already moved on from her time on "Friday Night Lights," the show has inspired her to move to Austin for good. "This is where I live now because of the show," she confirmed during an appearance on E! News' "Daily Pop" in 2020. She also remains close to some of her former co-stars — literally. "Connie Britton lives a block away from me. Taylor [Kitsch] lives, you know, [in] Lake Austin. Kyle [Chandler] lives in Dripping Springs. So we're all kind of here in Texas."

Minka Kelly (Lyla Garrity)

Before Minka Kelly was cast in "Friday Night Lights," she had only booked a few acting roles, consisting of uncredited music video appearances and a brief recurring stint as Ricki in the sitcom "What I Like About You." Her Hollywood career seemed to be going in the right direction, but it wasn't enough. Kelly had bills to pay, so she had a surprising job as a scrub nurse. Upon learning that she had landed a role in the series, she still couldn't allow herself to be optimistic and assumed that the show wouldn't make it. "I called the surgery center where I worked as a scrub nurse and told them I'd be leaving for some football show in Texas, but I'll see you guys again as soon as I'm back," Kelly even recalled in an Instagram post. As it turns out, however, she was wrong.

Years after wrapping her time on "Friday Night Lights," Kelly still very much resembles Lyla, thanks to the actor's ageless beauty. She's pursued several film projects, landing roles in Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler's romantic comedy "Just Go with It" and Lee Daniels' biopic "The Butler," where she portrayed the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Kelly also booked several series projects, making appearances in "Entourage," "Parenthood," and "Jane the Virgin." In addition, she joined the cast of the short-lived "Charlie's Angels" series with Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh.

Jesse Plemons (Landry Clarke)

When Jesse Plemons joined the cast of "Friday Night Lights," he had already been acting professionally for several years, landing minor roles in Brian Robbins' "Varsity Blues" and Billy Bob Thornton's "All the Pretty Horses" and making brief appearances in hit shows such as "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "Judging Amy," and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." Still, he hadn't caught his big break. That all changed when he landed the role of Landry Clarke in the series.

Plemons wrapped up his storyline at the end of season four (although he returned for a couple of episodes in the final season). Soon after, the actor became a recurring guest star on "Breaking Bad," where he played the vicious Todd Alquist. On the show, it didn't take long for Plemons to make a lasting impression as Todd as he guns down a child in cold blood in one of the episodes. After that, everyone wanted Plemons. "Since then, I'm just trying to keep up," the actor told The New York Times.

For Plemons, keeping up meant juggling various television and film roles, most of which led to critical acclaim. These include dramas "Fargo," "Black Mirror," and "Love & Death," which brought him Emmy nods. On the big screen, Plemons also delivered powerful performances in Netflix hits "The Irishman," "I'm Thinking of Ending Things," and "The Power of the Dog," which earned him his first Oscar nod.

Scott Porter (Jason Street)

When Scott Porter auditioned for "Friday Night Lights," things weren't exactly working out. He had little to no acting experience and was staying on a friend's couch. During his audition, Porter did everything to stand out, including deviating from the audition piece. "I tore pages out of my script and did a different scene than the two they had picked out," the actor said in the Grantland interview. He got cast as Jason Street, the quarterback who ends up in a wheelchair following a spine injury. Porter remained on the show until season three, returning briefly in the final season to give an update on the character, who had left Dillon and became a sports agent. For Porter, it was a satisfying ending for Street after everything he went through. "He succeeded when the deck was so stacked against him, and that is only a testament to his fortitude," the actor explained while speaking on Entertainment Weekly's "Binge" podcast.

Since then, Porter has moved on to other projects, although he still looks pretty much the same as his "Friday Night Lights" character. Over the years, the actor has continued to do a lot of TV work, playing the charming George Tucker in The CW's "Hart of Dixie" before landing the role of Mayor Paul Randolph in Netflix's "Ginny & Georgia."

Michael B. Jordan (Vince Howard)

A few years after landing his breakout role in the crime drama "The Wire," Michael B. Jordan was looking to sink his teeth into something else. That's when he set his sights on "Friday Night Lights." The show had already run for three seasons, and several cast members had already left, which meant it needed a new star. And creator Peter Berg wasn't just going to cast anyone. Anyone interested had to work for it, and Jordan knew as much. During an appearance on the YouTube show "The Hot Ones," the actor admitted to tackling Berg during his audition. "He got me so fired up that in my mind, I'm like, 'You know what, I'm just gonna tackle this dude,'" he recalled. Looking back, Jordan believes it was the tackle that got him the role of quarterback Vince Howard, who stayed on until the final season.

Since "Friday Night Lights" ended, Jordan gravitated toward the big screen for the most part, portraying police shooting victim Oscar Grant in Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station" before reuniting with Coogler for the Oscar-nominated sports drama "Creed" and the Oscar-winning Marvel film "Black Panther." Over the years, Jordan has also been producing his own projects, including sequels "Creed II" and "Creed III" as well as his Prime Video action thriller "Without Remorse" and the short-lived AMC crime drama "61st Street."