Ted Lasso star Kola Bokinni on dancing to NSYNC, Nate’s shocking turn, and more

Ted Lasso star Kola Bokinni, image credit: Olufemi Bokinni
Ted Lasso star Kola Bokinni, image credit: Olufemi Bokinni /

We chat with Ted Lasso star Kola Bokinni about breaking out in dance to NSYNC, Sam and Rebecca’s romance, and what’s to come when Ted Lasso season 3 premieres.

Ted Lasso isn’t just one of the best shows on Apple TV+, it’s one of the best television shows of today in general. The Jason Sudeikis series is unlike anything else on TV. It’s about kindness and, as star Kola Bokinni shares, about “humanity and the trials and tribulations that humans go through.” It also features an incredible cast, the show wouldn’t be what it is today without every individual involved.

Hidden Remote had the pleasure of chatting with Kola Bokinni, who portrays Isaac McAdoo, the captain of the Premier League team, AFC Richmond. We chat about NSYNC, Nate, and everything in between! Read on.

The below interview was edited for length and clarity*

Interview with Ted Lasso’s Kola Bokinni

HR: Season 2 was very emotional and impactful. It raised some important topics such as mental health. And yet it still managed to balance that with comedy and continue telling us about these wonderful characters on the team.

I specially enjoyed the scene in episode 5 “Rainbow” where Roy Kent trains Isaac in the field he grew up playing. Can you tell us about shooting that?

Bokinni: First of all, props to Jason [Ted Lasso] and Brett [Roy Kent] they were amazing. It was quite difficult shooting that scene because there was a lot of physical activity involved, and that doesn’t always go to plan. It was a night shoot, so quite cold! I loved every minute of it though, from where we see Roy introduced to playing— Also, it was actually shot where we play football in on Fridays, so it was a familiar surrounding. Everyone was great. Just all around one of my favorite scenes of the season.

Ted Lasso
Ted Lasso stars Kola Bokinni and Brett Goldstein, image courtesy Apple TV+ /

HR: Same! It was so fun to watch! You and Brett [Goldstein] really play well together and have great chemistry. And it’s this same episode where I started to notice Nate transition into the villain, can you tell me when you and the cast first learn that Nate would be slowly going down that path?

Bokinni: I mean, a gray hair a day! [laughs] I began to notice in the episode [season 2 episode 5] where Nate takes his parents to the restaurant. I saw what he does with power, and him spitting at the mirror?

It was a blast to see Nick Mohammed [Nate] work. He’s a titan when it comes to comedy. The transition is so gradual and subtle. He doesn’t just give it away. It was just like episode to episode and then you’re like, oh wait, Nate’s turning! Something’s going on here. It’s that…what do you call it? The first child syndrome? He just started to feel left out and jealous. That’s when I felt Nate got pushed to the side. One normally learns to live with it, but, you know, Nate didn’t.

HR: You’re absolutely right. It was very gradual. I was actually rooting for him, I was on his side up until that last episode! That just did it for me.

Bokinni: It did it for everyone I think! [laughs] There’s a few things that are sacred, and you can’t rip the BELIEVE sign. When I saw that — because I didn’t even know, I wasn’t there. But when I saw that, I was shocked. I know I’m in the show, but I forget I’m in the show while I’m watching, so I’m watching it as a fan and I was like “What?! No you didn’t!” Oh, and the way he spoke to Ted! And Nate’s treatment towards Will [Charlie Hiscock] is just horrible. Nate is no longer Nate.

HR: On a much lighter note, I have created an entire playlist with music from the show! It has some great songs that I either grew up listening to as a teen or songs I remember my parents had on repeat. A favorite is NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye,” not only did we hear the song, but we got a special performance from the Richmond team! You’ve got to tell me about that.

Bokinni: [Laughs] I’ve got a newfound respect for dancers and performers. They are so talented! Because it is so difficult to learn choreography. But we got there, in the end. It was so fun, because I’m actually a huge fan of NSYNC, and I have “Bye Bye Bye” in my playlist. I’m used to physical activity. But dancing is different, it uses a different muscle memory. In dancing, you have to be loose. It was an experience and I loved every minute of it.

Ted Lasso star Kola Bokinni, image credit: Olufemi Bokinni
Ted Lasso star Kola Bokinni, image credit: Olufemi Bokinni /

Ted Lasso star Kola Bokinni on Sam and Rebecca

HR: Now, about Sam and Rebecca. We didn’t see the team learn about their relationship. What do you think Isaac’s reaction will be when he finds out?

Bokinni: Oof! Funny. I think he’ll find it hilarious. [laughs] Isaac would respect Sam. I don’t think anybody thought that was possible, you know, dating the boss. But weirder things have happened. That’s the way I think about Isaac, he doesn’t care or dwell on things. He’s always moving on to other things. The way I try to portray him is, he’s never anxious or overthinks. He takes things as they are. So I think that he would love the idea of Rebecca and Sam, but he wouldn’t stop making jokes about it.

HR: I would love to see that! How is it working with Jason Sudeikis? He seems like such a fun and easy going guy.

Bokinni: Jason is an amazing person, first and foremost. It wouldn’t be Ted Lasso without Jason. He’s hilarious and a great listener. He’s always got time for everybody and that’s difficult because you can imagine how busy he is. So I love him as a friend, a colleague, and as a boss.

What’s ahead in Ted Lasso season 3?

HR: What can you tease about season 3? What can we expect?

Bokinni: Honestly, I have no idea! They keep me in the dark, as they should because my mouth doesn’t stop running. But probably whatever you think it’s going to be, it’s going to be the opposite. That’s how it is. That’s the beauty of Ted Lasso.

HR: And that’s really what makes it so great! How would you describe Ted Lasso to someone who hasn’t seen it?

Bokinni: It’s a show that’s for everyone. Anyone can watch it, any age, background, it’s for everybody. It’s a show about humanity and the trials and tribulations that humans go through. It’s relatable. You watch it and by the end you can pick a handful of scenes you can relate to in real life.

HR: I couldn’t have said it better! Finally, what are you up to this holiday season?

I’m taking a little break. We will hopefully kick off shooting season 3 in January or early next year. This holiday I’m trying to be very festive and joyful because we had a very bad year last year and it wasn’t the best Christmas. So I’m trying to be extra joyful this year! I’m really in the holiday spirit this year.

Ted Lasso season 1 and 2 are streaming on Apple TV+. As soon as we have a date for season 3, we’ll let you know! 

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