SI: What did you know about Friday Night Lights before the part came your way?
Chandler: I had heard about the book, and I had seen the movie. But then I read the book; it was pretty startling. It made me very uneasy and very uncomfortable. It goes into that tumultuous world of people trying to find themselves. I thought it was really well done.
SI: What can you tell us about your two seasons of high school football in Monroe, Georgia?
Chandler: For me they were very memorable. For anyone else, they wouldn't remember. I was the best tackling dummy I could be.
SI: Has the show changed how you look at football?
Chandler: The biggest [change] is the knowledge of what goes into the coach's role. The pressures are so intense, not just from the local school board or the politics in town, but for the family of the coach. If the coach doesn't win, he doesn't go shopping the next morning. He waits until late at night. There's a fine line: He loves the kids, but he realizes he has to win. He has a family to support. So how far do you push the kids? I really enjoy that part of my character. It's always in my head: I gotta win, but at what cost?
SI: Executive producer Peter Berg gave you some interesting advice for getting into character, right?
Chandler: We had a meeting where he said, "What the hell were you doing last night?" I said, "Well, it was my buddy's 40th birthday, and we drank a little wine, had some cigars and were up pretty late." He said, "Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. I want you to look old and devastated. Keep smoking and drinking." I went home and told my wife here's what I have to do: I have to drink and smoke and watch a lot of football. I'm sorry but that's my job now, honey.
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PAUL FENTON/ZUMA KPA (CHANDLER)
PAUL DRINKWATER/NBC (CHANDLER ON SHOW)