The Apple TV+ series reunites the executive producer and actress over a decade after 'FNL' ended.
Over a decade after Friday Night Lights ended in 2011, executive producer Jason Katims and star Connie Britton have reunited for another "good cry" with the Apple TV+ series adaptation of Ann Napolitano's novel, Dear Edward. While speaking to ET's Denny Directo, the two reflected on working together again on the powerful new series.
Telling the story of a 12-year-old boy named Edward (Colin O'Brien) who survives a commercial plane crash that kills every other passenger on the flight, Britton plays Dee Dee, one of several people trying to make sense of the tragic event, as the series explores the human connections that follow.
"I read and loved it and thought this would be an incredible jumping off point for a television show," Katims says of Napolitano's novel. "I think I was just very moved by the idea of telling a story that was about exploring what happens in this tragedy and grief, but also I think more importantly a story about resilience, about the power of the human spirit about moving on and growing after this happened."
Given the emotional setup to the show, Britton says she doesn't want people to think "it's gonna be just a big cry fest because, actually, it's so life-affirming." And if anything, she hopes they have "a good kind of cry." Of course, audiences who watched Friday Night Lights during its five-season run know that when it comes to Katims' work, tears will alway be involved.
And it was Britton's work on FNL, playing a local Texas high school football head coach's wife, Tami Taylor, that made Katims know she would be perfect here. "I was working on this project and I started writing this character Dee Dee and I sort of fell in love with this character and when we started to talk about casting, I was driving into the office and it just suddenly hit me, 'Connie,'" he recalls. "I’ve had such an unbelievably great experience working with Connie with Friday Night Lights."
And given the two haven't worked together since, Katims knew he had "a role I thought she would really love." Not only that, but she's "so different" from Tami, Britton adds.
"I was so lucky to work with [Jason] on Friday Night Lights and that set the bar for me on so many levels about what I value and what I love about doing this job and getting the opportunity to do the thing that I do that I love so much," Britton says, revealing that she was so happy that he came to her with this part. "There’s just nothing quite like it, to be able to sink my teeth into this… person who is kind of going through it."
She adds, "I just thought, 'Thanks, Jason. Thank you for that and thank you for thinking of me.'"
Joining them both for Dear Edward is Taylor Schilling in one of her first major TV roles following Orange Is the New Black, which ended in 2019 after seven seasons. "I mean, she's really going through it," she says of her character, Lacey, another person searching for answers in the wake of what happened to everyone.
That said, she agrees with Britton and Katims about the humanity at the core of the series -- and how it will connect with viewers. "The circumstances are so relatable," Schilling explains. "Each person is going through something that feels so true and raw and honest and so you kind of get [into it] that way. But really, like Connie was saying and Jason was talking about, it's like that flip of a moment where you move from one reality to another. It's like those big transition moments that happen in our lives with loss that are so, you know, they are enormous."
Dear Edward will premiere Feb. 3 with the first three episodes on Apple TV+, followed by one new episode every Friday through March 24.