Why Brett Goldstein Almost Didn’t Play Roy Kent
10 mins read

Why Brett Goldstein Almost Didn’t Play Roy Kent


  • Brett Goldstein initially hired for writing but became breakout star as Roy Kent on Ted Lasso.
  • Goldstein’s portrayal of Roy Kent won back-to-back Emmys, showcasing depth and authenticity.
  • Post-Ted Lasso, Goldstein co-created Shrinking and hinted at role in Marvel Cinematic Universe.



It’s hard to imagine anyone else but Brett Goldstein as Ted Lasso‘s Roy Kent, but he wasn’t originally hired to play the show’s lovable curmudgeon. Along with being a talented actor, Goldstein’s filmmaking background includes a lot of behind-the-camera work, and Ted Lasso co-creator Bill Lawrence originally brought him on to serve as an executive story editor and writer in season 1. Lawrence choosing him wasn’t without reason: Goldstein co-created the AMC anthology series Soulmates, and he starred in and wrote for numerous other TV shows and movies before being hired to work on the Emmy Award-winning Apple TV+ show.

Ted Lasso revolves around the fictional AFC Richmond football team from the Premier League and their unlikely American coach. In the show’s season 1 finale, team captain Roy Kent retires after sustaining a knee injury during a match with Manchester City. In Ted Lasso season 2, the grumpy yet charming retired footballer becomes a delightfully blunt football commentator before rejoining AFC Richmond to pursue his real love of coaching, which he continues through season 3. Throughout the show, Goldstein has continued to shine in the role, so much so that audiences can’t get enough of Roy Kent.


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Brett Goldstein Was Considered To Play A Different Character Before Roy Kent

The Actor Almost Played Leslie Higgins Instead

Leslie Higgins smiling in Rebecca's office on Ted Lasso.

There’s a lot of Brett Goldstein in Ted Lasso’s Roy Kent, which is why only he could have played the character as audiences know and love him today. But Goldstein stepping into the role almost didn’t happen. When it came time for casting, the Ted Lasso team originally considered Goldstein for a far different role — Leslie Higgins. This is impossible to fathom after seeing Jeremy Swift’s pitch-perfect portrayal of the loyal family man and AFC Richmond Director of Operations. Thankfully, Goldstein realized the character he was truly meant to play, and it wasn’t Higgins, but the blunt Roy Kent.

Goldstein Lobbied To Play Roy Kent

The Actor Even Took It Upon Himself To Record An Audition Tape

As the story editor overseeing the writing of all 10 Ted Lasso season 1 episodes, Goldstein realized he really understood the Roy Kent character. When he couldn’t get that feeling out of his mind, Brett Goldstein lobbied to play Roy Kent, taking it upon himself to create an audition tape hoping to land the role. But it wasn’t until after things had wrapped in the writing room that he finally made his move, emailing Lawrence, Sudeikis and the rest of the Ted Lasso team his tape. “I am Roy Kent,” Goldstein later told Rolling Stone — and it’s true.

Even the email Goldstein sent in acknowledgment of his Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series sounds like something Roy Kent might have written, cursing and all. The show’s writing and Sudeikis’ depiction of its titular character, along with the rest of the talented Ted Lasso cast, are obviously a huge part of the Apple TV+ show’s success. But Brett Goldstein has become the breakout star of the show as Roy Kent. That wouldn’t have happened without Goldstein’s vision for the character and his initiative in putting himself up for the role.


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Brett Goldstein Almost Didn’t Play Roy Kent Because He Was Hired As A Writer On Ted Lasso

He Also Thought His Love Of The Muppets Would Hold Him Back

Brett Goldstein smiling as Roy Kent in Ted Lasso

Goldstein’s own recounting of the experience during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! sheds light on this unique transition. He revealed that, despite being deeply involved in the development of the show’s narrative, it took him five episodes into the writing process to recognize a profound personal alignment with Roy Kent. Goldstein’s self-awareness of the contrast between his real-life demeanor — soft-spoken and a fan of The Muppets — and Roy’s gruff, formidable on-screen presence highlights the actor’s insightful understanding of character depth and versatility. Kent revealed:

I was a writer, and we were like five episodes into writing it, and I started to think, ‘I think I’m Roy.’ But I also thought, ‘No one around this table writing thinks I’m Roy, because I’m soft-spoken, and I love The Muppets. No one is thinking this.’ And also, I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, so when we finished the writers’ room, I filmed five scenes as Roy, and I e-mailed it to them, and I said, ‘Thanks for having me. If this is awkward or this is s***, pretend you never got this e-mail, and I promise I will never ask you about it. But if you like it, I think Roy Kent is in me, growling.’

Goldstein’s approach to claiming the role was both innovative and respectful. By choosing to film and submit five scenes as Roy Kent, he not only demonstrated his interpretation and vision for the character but also his commitment to the project and his colleagues. This gesture, coupled with his willingness to accept rejection gracefully, underscores the humility and determination that propelled him from the writers’ room to the forefront of the show. His comments reveal a collaborative spirit, emphasizing his desire to contribute to Ted Lasso in a manner that felt authentic and beneficial to the show’s overall success.


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Goldstein Won Back-To-Back Emmys For Playing Roy Kent

The Actor Won The Awards In 2021 & 2022

Brett Goldstein as Roy frowning next to Jason Sudeikis as Ted smiling in Ted Lasso

Brett Goldstein not only became an iconic figure in television through Roy Kent but also solidified his status as a standout actor by winning back-to-back Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. His portrayal of the gruff, heart-of-gold footballer captured the hearts of audiences worldwide, showcasing a depth of character that resonated well beyond the confines of a typical sports comedy. Goldstein’s ability to navigate the complexities of Roy Kent — ranging from his intimidating presence on the pitch to his vulnerable moments off it — demonstrated a masterful balance of toughness and tenderness.

His wins at the Emmys, first in 2021 and then again in 2022, were not just a personal triumph but a testament to his significant contribution to Ted Lasso‘s success. These accolades recognized his exceptional talent in bringing to life a character that could easily have been a caricature, imbuing Roy Kent with authenticity and relatability. Goldstein’s decision to pursue the role of Roy Kent was undoubtedly vindicated by his Emmy victories. These awards underscored his exceptional ability to convey complex emotions and deliver powerful performances, making him an integral part of the show’s ensemble.


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Goldstein’s Post-Ted Lasso Career

Brett Golstein as Hercules Kneels in Thor Love and Thunder Post credits scene

Following his success as Roy Kent on Ted Lasso, Goldstein has continued his hot streak with Bill Lawrence and AppleTV+ with Shrinking, a show he co-created starring Harrison Ford and Jason Segel. Shrinking follows a group of therapists and delves into their own struggles with grief. It has earned a ton of acclaim and Shrinking season 2 has been confirmed with a planned three-season arc. In terms of acting, Goldstein appeared in the Thor: Love and Thunder post-credits scene as Hercules, hinting at the actor having a future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though that remains to be seen.

Watch on AppleTV+

Sources: Rolling Stone, Twitter, Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is an American football coach who moves to England when he’s hired to manage a struggling soccer team despite having no experience. With cynical players and a doubtful town, Ted will have to convince them that he’s fit for the job. Ted Lasso has become one of Apple TV Plus’ most successful shows, earning over 10 Primetime Emmys.

Jeremy Swift , Phil Dunster , Hannah Waddingham , Nick Mohammed , Brendan Hunt , Jason Sudeikis , Brett Goldstein , Juno Temple , Toheeb Jimoh , James Lance

Release Date
August 14, 2020


Streaming Service(s)
Apple TV+

Brendan Hunt , Joe Kelly , Bill Lawrence

Bill Lawrence

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