Hannah Waddingham: I asked the universe for 'Ted Lasso' role, and now I've been Emmy nominated

·7 min read
Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

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Hannah Waddingham has spoken out following the rush of Emmy nominations for Ted Lasso, saying that she asked the universe for the role to come along for her after her daughter was ill.

The actor, known for roles in Game of Thrones and in West End shows such as Spamalot and Kiss Me Kate, spoke to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time about juggling her career as a single mum and how the role playing Rebecca Welton in the Apple TV+ series came along at just the right time.

The show's creator Jason Sudeikis did a reading with Waddingham and made his mind up on the spot that he wanted her for the role of the AFC Richmond club owner in the hit series.

WATCH: Hannah Waddingham on Ted Lasso camaraderie, Game of Thrones gossip, and West End wardrobe malfunctions

Waddingham said: "We are the most Emmy-nominated freshman comedy in Emmy history. 

"And the thing that's lovely is we've all been nominated individually, which is really quite in-keeping with the show because, including Jason, it's an absolute team effort. 

"And so that would have been a bit awks! If somebody had been left out."

Hannah Waddingham has been nominated for an Emmy for her role in Ted Lasso. (Reuters
Hannah Waddingham has been nominated for an Emmy for her role in Ted Lasso. (Reuters

She said her daughter had previously fallen ill when she was away filming, which led her to realise she needed a change.

She said: "I had been shooting Krypton for Warner Brothers out in Belfast. But my daughter became ill suddenly and randomly and we still don't quite know why. And when she got ill suddenly, I couldn't get home.

"Even though it's only in Belfast, the last flight had left that night. Even though I'd spoken to her half an hour earlier. She was absolutely fine. She then woke up suddenly and had all these kind of giraffe splats of brown on her legs, which turned out to be the capillaries bursting on her little legs and was vomiting already and I couldn't get out. 

Hannah Waddingham, Jason Sudeikis, and Juno Temple attend the premiere for season two of
Hannah Waddingham, Jason Sudeikis, and Juno Temple attend the premiere for season two of "Ted Lasso" in July. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

"I tried to charter a helicopter. The producers tried to get me on some boat over there. And I couldn't get back. And I finally got back the following morning, I got the first flight out. And of course I arrived at the hospital and she's going: 'Mummy look the bed goes up and down, and tips forward and the legs go up and she was fine, ish.

"But I said to my management, both here and in LA, on a conference call that day: 'This is not happening again. Whether that means that I have to dumb down what I'm doing, or be less committed to work that might have a possibility of taking me abroad or whatever. 

"'I'm perfectly happy to be here to be doing bits and pieces. I'll do concerts, I'll do voiceovers...' That would be brilliant for any actor, but where they were wanting to take me and where they felt I was moving into, the phone went silent. 

Listen to the full episode to hear Hannah Waddingham talk about a live mouse in her costume and thinking she had gone to the wrong Game of Thrones audition

"And I said: 'Look I get it. I don't want it this way either, but I'm first and foremost a mum. And more importantly, a single mum, and I'm happy with that decision.

"And literally a month later, when my girl was getting better, I stood outside in my garden and I looked up at the sky, no word of a lie, and I just went: 'Thank you so much for pulling her through this. And I don't take it lightly that you've made my daughter better. I know it's going to be dormant in her system they say until she's about 10. 

"'But I'm really grateful. Is there any way you could give me something that will really just fill our lives and let me do things with her and as a single mum will keep us financially? 

Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

"'And also, can I be so cheeky as to say, could it be something that shows everything that I can do and things that I don't feel like I've been able to do yet? And is there any way it could just be here, maybe around the corner?' 

"And I'm not joking, within two months, the audition came in for Ted Lasso that shoots 40 minutes away from my house!"

She explained how in the early stages she was taken for a chemistry reading with Sudeikis in LA, and that he wanted to cast her in the role from that meeting.

Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham in “Ted Lasso,” premiering globally on Friday, August 14, on Apple TV+.
Jason Sudeikis and Hannah Waddingham in “Ted Lasso,” premiering globally on Friday, August 14, on Apple TV+.

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Waddingham said: "We just immediately got on like a house on fire in a very low-key way. I think just on a very basic level, Jason and I just got on. And he obviously liked what I did. And then when I came home, I didn't hear anything for ages. And I just thought: 'Okay, well that was that. I couldn't have done any better with the material. I felt the character really rippled through my bloodstream.'"

She assumed they had chosen a more famous actor to take the role.

"But apparently no," she continued. "He had just gone: 'I knew it was her when she walked in the room and why do you need to go for someone else when she is how I imagined her sounding, how I imagined her looking?' 

"And as we left the room, I had said to our casting director Kimberley: 'But Rebecca doesn't sing does she?' And Jason was walking in front of us and under his breath he went: 'She does now'."

Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

Waddingham also spoke about the scene in which her character sings Let It Go on karaoke in the show, and how she tried to talk Sudeikis out of that particular song choice.

She said: "As a professional singer I've avoided that song ever since it came out. If there's been a concert where they've asked me to sing it, I've gone: 'No I'm not doing that.' 

"Because you know, it's been sung so brilliantly and sung to death by everyone else since. And he was so cool. 

Hannah Waddingham attending the world premiere of the fifth series of Game of Thrones at the Tower of London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 18, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Thrones. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Hannah Waddingham has spoken out about her experience filming Game of Thrones with an eight-week-old baby. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Read more: Hannah Waddingham opens up about ‘horrendous’ experience filming Game of Thrones torture scene

"He went: 'Okay, go off into your dressing room. And if you can find me a better song that's the perfect Venn diagram moment for your character, for my character, for Nora your goddaughter being reintroduced, the song that you and she would have sung together when she was younger, all of that...'

"I was like: 'Fine, I will find something better.' And I went into my trailer and I was thinking Reflections from Mulan and I was just like, God, he found the perfect song. And then I sang it for about ten hours in that karaoke place. And I've cursed him ever since!"

She said that she could not have played the role at an earlier time in her life, before she had been through heartache. She also spoke about the closeness of the cast and how much she is looking forward to going to the Emmys in September.

She said: "Myself and the glorious Juno Temple are nominated in the same category, even though she has been a child star, and always worked consistently. I don't know who was more shocked me or her. 

Hannah Waddingham in Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple in Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

"I was certainly definitely more pleased for her. And for Jeremy Swift who plays Higgins, because they are the most unassuming, lovely, joyous souls I've met in recent times.

"And Juno and I were each other's second phone call. I rang my parents. And then I rang her, and she was calling me so one of us was engaged. And she went: 'Will you be my date?' And I went: 'Obviously!'"

Watch Ted Lasso Season 2 on Apple TV - get 7 days free, then £4.99 a month.

Buy the soundtrack: Ted Lasso: Season 1 (Apple TV+ Original Series Soundtrack) | £9.99 from Amazon

WATCH: Hannah Waddingham on singing "Let It Go"

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