Like the rest of us, you have probably fallen head over heels in love with Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso. Whether it be when it first premiered or during quarantine, this show found its way into all of our hearts. AFC Richmond became a second family to us as they became a second family to each other. Stephen Manas brings one of the key members of that family to life — Richard Montlaur.
Richard is Richmond’s Left Midfielder and resident Frenchman. Manas shared that the latter part of Richard’s biography takes direct influence from his own life. He says, “They took some of my own history, in S01, Keeley says that Richard has been raised in a goat farm and actually, I’ve been raised not more than 10 meters away from a goat farm and in S02, they took my real hometown in ep04 when Higgins thanks us for coming all the way to London.”
That moment with Higgins from “Carol of the Bells” is one of many heartfelt moments that lets this found family feel more realized. Somehow, Ted Lasso balances every character so that no one feels like a side character. Every character has a unique story that we’re still learning more about. That’s the fun of it. Manas speaks to this: “They really mix our own history and combine them with the characters, and not only mine for course!”
Jason Sudeikis and Bill Lawrence often talk about how they all the characters’ beginnings, middles, and ends. Manas is “sure they have everything planned out” for Richard though he hasn’t been filled in “much about the details.” The mystery is part of the fun for Manas who says, “it’s maybe better for me to discover as I continue to play ‘Richard.’”
Ted says in “Rainbow” that we have to trust everything will work out. Like many of us, Manas trusts that process. That extends to behind-the-scenes as well for Manas who says, “For more details on Richard’s past and future I think I’ll discover it with the show when the time seems right for it!”
When looking ahead to Richard’s future on Ted Lasso, it’s fun to think of who Manas could share the screen with. All of the characters on this show are vibrant, so there is sure to be magic with whoever Richard interacts with next. Stephen Manas’s scenes with Billy Harris’s Collin are always excellent. It would always be fun to see that friendship develop on screen.
Manas, on the other hand, is thrilled about whatever comes next. “All of them really, they all have qualities and interesting perspectives to build scenes with, and they all are played by amazing actors.” It’s true; Ted Lasso’s cast is stacked with ridiculously talented humans, Manas included.
That said, Jeremy Swift’s Higgins is on Manas’s wish list. Manas says, “I think I would love to share a scene with Higgins who is never really settle in one place, he can be crazy, serious, dancing, deep in conversation, family guy, professional, you never really know what type of Higgins you’ll get, and this could be challenging for Richard. He has enough trouble understanding English, so picking up on social cues can be challenging.”
Now that he’s mentioned it, we can’t get this duo out of our minds. The fact that a scene between the two characters could result in a heart-to-heart or a hilarious physical comedy bit makes us want to see this on the show ASAP. Either way, we know it’ll make us cry or laugh until we cry.
Ted Lasso is so great at doing both of those things. It taps into our emotions in a way that few shows can. Stephen Manas’s Richard is a key player in that, just as he is when Richmond is on the pitch. Richard is known to have an epic one-liner or two. One of our favorites has to be Richard saying that the team can’t fight all 400 ghosts that haunt Richmond’s treatment room. Manas loves that one, too, saying, “Haha! Yes, it’s a great one, I don’t remember who had this idea specifically. It’s a great line and I love it.”
But that’s not his favorite. His favorite is another epic line that comes a little later in the same episode. Manas speaks on the magic behind that line: “Personally, I really love the editing on the timing of the “supermodel quote”. The way it has been said, the looks of Ted Lasso, and then the amazing rolling eyes of Rebecca, I found it hilarious. The mounting/editing team have helped me a lot on that one.”
We agree with Manas that Ted Lasso’s teams in front of and behind the camera are on a whole other level. The writing is as sharp as the direction, and the performances are as nuanced as you can get. This show makes sports fans care about the (fictional) people who make up the team, encouraging empathy for real-life athletes. Plus, it brings new fans to football who many have found it intimidating before. It threads the needle in a way only a few shows can. After all, Ted Lasso is all about when sports and art combine.
We all have favorite sports moments represented in a movie or TV show, whether it be Ted Lasso or not. Stephen Manas is just like us! One of his favorites comes “from the film Shaolin Soccer – the first and final game!” And that’s not all! “More seriously, Invictus by Clint Eastwood and Moneyball by Bennet Miller. All the construction of Invictus through rugby, politics, sociological context and personal life is such a masterpiece.”
Where moments like Roy hearing his chant during his final game with AFC Richmond give us chills, Manas has a special moment from Moneyball that does that for him. “The pressure of Moneyball, building of the team, alone against all and the last game… the blank of sound during the hit of ‘Scott Hatteberg,’ gives me chills every single time … whoa ….” That feeling is a special one.
Sports have a special way of connecting us, of making us root for the underdog. They help us believe in belief, which is now a part of the Lasso Way. Ted Lasso came into a lot of our lives right when we needed it. It’s a comfort show because it lets us see people connect and treat others with kindness when that is missing in our lives. It’s comforting to watch people go through hardships together and make it out the other side. Manas is just like us in this sense: “Yes, it has been a comfort show, for me too and I thank the fans for understanding Ted Lasso and what it’s really about.”
Stephen Manas has some comfort shows that he turns to in the same way that we do Ted Lasso. Manas suggests ”Kaamelott” (a French comedy/drama fantasy), you might not know it. Otherwise, “Dr. House,” I’ve always been in love with this guy, his character and his behavior which is actually the opposite of Ted Lasso – “I don’t care about the people, I care about the winning, the cure,” haha! Otherwise, I am not going to be exotic, The Simpson… got me every episode.” Don’t mind us as we add these to our To Be Watched list.
You can catch Stephen Manas as Richard Montlaur on Ted Lasso on Fridays on Apple TV+.