'Ted Lasso' Star Nick Mohammed Talks Emmy Nominations and Nate Going to the Dark Side in Season 3 (Exclusive)

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Nick Mohammed knew that becoming the bad guy on a feel-good show like Ted Lasso was going to be a tough sell -- but he was more than ready to take on the dark side. And it's paid off so far, scoring him his second career Emmy nomination for the show's second season!

The actor joined ET at the Banc of California Stadium -- home to Los Angeles FC -- earlier this week to talk about the beloved Apple TV+ series, which cleaned up at last year's Emmys and is poised to make a solid run with their season 2 nominations this year, earning a total of 20 nods.

On the show, Mohammed plays AFC Richmond kit man-turned-assistant coach Nate "The Great" Shelley, whose lovable demeanor took a "heel turn" in season 2, earning the actor his second consecutive Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Mohammed shared that while fans may have been surprised by his character's season 2 shift, he knew it was coming when he took on the part. 

"I felt like I was in my comfort zone in season 1 with Nate," the actor said of his character's first episodes, where he got close with Richmond's new coach, Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), before becoming disillusioned with his cheery, positive coaching strategies. "I knew that heel turn was coming for a long time, even when we were filming season 1, so it's kind of drip-fed in there. They did such a good job, the writers, of planting a few seeds."

"But this year, it was fun playing the Darth Vader, season 2, Empire Strikes Back," he added with a laugh. "I got to relish it a little bit."

By the end of season 2, Nate had gone completely dark, burning his bridges with Ted and Richmond, and abandoning the team altogether to head up West Ham United under the leadership of Rupert Mannion (Anthony Head), the conniving ex-husband of Richmond boss Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham). 

According to Mohammed, based on where Nate kicks things off in the show's upcoming third season, it seems he won't be returning to the fold anytime soon.

"I was like, 'Oh, we can start on a redemption arc, it's going to be good," he recalled, "and then I read episode one, and I was like, 'Oh, here we go...this isn't going to help.' I think it's a roller coaster, that's all I can say."

The Ted Lasso team is still in the process of filming season 3 -- planned to be their last -- so Mohammed made it clear that he can't speak to Nate's complete arc just yet, but he noted that the show's thematic through-lines of loyalty, teamwork and complicated father-son dynamics will certainly play out in the upcoming new episodes.

"Those types of relationships are quite prevalent in the show, and I think it feels fair that we'll examine a lot of backstories in a lot of the characters, and we'll be looking into more family stuff in more detail as well," he shared.

Admittedly, the actor wasn't "the biggest soccer fan" when he got the role but he said the sport has grown on him over the years. It helps, of course, to have real-life Premier League clubs like West Ham sending you personalized gear and a big Emmys win for Outstanding Comedy Series under your belt. In fact, Mohammed shared, last year's Emmy Awards ceremony was his first-ever trip to the U.S.!

"It's just surreal, I can't believe it," he marveled, adding that it feels doubly bizarre to be nominated again, with more of his co-stars in the same category. "It's mad, but to be nominated alongside Brett [Goldstein] and Toheeb [Jimoh], especially." 

"We're still filming season 3, so we kind of feel like our work hasn't finished on it," he continued. "It's an absolute delight that it's been well received, and I think the fact that season 1 came out at that time when I think people were ready to respond to something so positive and hopeful... It feels a very special show to be a part of and we're honestly so grateful."

As for his odds of winning the Supporting Actor category this year, Mohammed demurred. "My secret fingers [are] crossed there for Brett taking it home again, 'cause he would make history as well," he shared supportively, rooting for his co-star. "It would be great." 

And when it comes to the ever-present question -- Will there be more Ted Lasso to come, despite the cast and creative team's insistence that the plan was only ever for three seasons? -- Mohammed made an interesting point, while still playing coy about the possibility.

"They've always had the idea for three seasons, but I think that's quite common -- in that you'd pitch for, like, three seasons, because you have to show longevity with your characters and so on," he noted. "The honest answer is, I don't know whether it'll be the end. Whether we'll come back, there'll be a spinoff, a film, more series, I genuinely don't know. I hope it's not the end because, you know, it'd be a shame."

Ted Lasso seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Apple TV+.

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