Shortly after Connie Britton learned that she’d finally scored an Emmy nomination for her impeccable work on Friday Night Lights, the lead-actress contender rang me up to share her reaction, as well as her feelings about the series’ imminent end. (She and the gang are—gulp!—just two weeks away from shooting the finale.) Now, I don’t wanna say she had to call me, although I did do everything but go door-to-door to ATAS voters’ houses to make sure they had checked her name on their ballots. Okay, she had to call me. There, I said it. Below, her thoughts:
Congrats! Can you believe it?
CONNIE BRITTON: It’s ridiculous.
I was worried they called your name by accident.
BRITTON: The first two calls I had this morning, I still was like, “Are you sure? There must be some mistake.”
Set the scene for me this morning. Where were you? Did you even know that the nominations were coming out?
BRITTON: I did only because my publicist [reminded me] yesterday. Every year they call and tell me, “Just so you know, the nominations are in the morning, so…” I was not thinking about it; it was not on my radar. And then this morning I was in my bed in Austin, and my cousin—who is arguably one of my biggest fans and also completely attuned to all these showbiz things—called and was literally in tears.
Any other interesting phone calls?
BRITTON: I just had a really fun phone call with our executive producer Sarah Aubrey. She works with Peter Berg and has been involved with Friday Night Lights since the movie, and is arguably one of the most passionate people ever about this show. She was like, “I was doing Pilates and I just unabashedly started jumping up and down!” It’s just exciting. We’re about to wrap the show—we’re two weeks away from wrapping the show—and it’s been really melancholy. I’m just feeling it. I’m feeling it approaching—the end is near. So this just feels like such an unexpected surprise and present.
Have you spoken to [fellow nominee and leading man] Kyle Chandler?
BRITTON: I did. He sounded terrible. I’m like, “What is wrong with you?” Turns out he was up shooting football scenes until 4:30 in the morning. And he’s also directing this episode. I’m like, “You sound terrible. Why have we never done this scene on our show? When you’re just a completely destroyed mess the morning after coaching football all night?”
Was he at least a little excited?
BRITTON: He was. You know, you’ve always got to drag it out of him because he’s always very like [adopting a gruff tone], “Well, congratulations.” Except he goes, “Well, you couldn’t have done it without me—I mean, I couldn’t have done it without you.” Which is très typical. [Laughs]
What episode are you going to submit?
BRITTON: I don’t know. That’s the thing. Ironically, every other season I felt like there was one episode that was like, “Oh, yeah, that’s the one.” But this season I don’t know.
When you say you’re wrapping the show, you’re talking about the series, not the season, right?
BRITTON: I think so. Of course, I questioned it for a second this morning. Because our show is such a little engine that could, and because we always seem to rise again from the ashes in the eleventh hour, I had a brief moment of “Oh, maybe [the Emmy love] means our show isn’t going to get canceled?” But I believe [season 5] is it. I really do. I think this is it, and certainly the last couple of episodes are being shot like it will be the end of the show.
They’re wrapping everything up?
Are you happy with the way it’s going? I’ve heard some rumblings about big changes in store for Eric and Tami.
BRITTON: Yes. I think it’s really a cool direction for us, especially because it’s kind of, for the first time, taking into account Tami’s career. And this will be the closest we’ve ever been to these two people really questioning their lives as they know it together. So that’s going to be really interesting to play. And hopefully it will be really interesting for the show. And, of course, it’s amazing because we’ve got a lot of our original actors coming back.
Your buddy Adrianne Palicki is returning.
BRITTON: She’s back, Taylor [Kitsch]’s back, and Zach [Gilford] came back a little bit. It just all feels really special.