HBO’s buzzy comedy Ballers takes us inside the world of NFL players and agents. Golden-Globe nominee (Soldier’s Girl) Troy Garity plays Jason, an NFL super agent hustling to get his players contracts and changing their lives. The second season returns to HBO this July.
I recently caught up with Troy Garity to talk about football, Los Angeles, and his excitement over Ballers‘ second season as he was driving around Hollywood.
AwardsDaily TV: I loved the first season of Ballers. I’m so excited for season two.
Troy Garity: Ah, great. That makes me so happy. The second season is fantastic.
ADTV: For those who haven’t seen the first season and need to binge watch before season two drops, tell us about your character.
TG: I play Jason. He’s a super agent, meaning he’s one of those big top NFL agents. I have about 30 clients, most of which I’ve been with since they left college and entered the draft. So, really a bridge from the amateur into the professional world, and that’s really where people run into most of their problems… that dramatic adjustment. Not only do I get them contracts and enough money to change their life for generations, I have to help them adjust to the life of being insanely rich and often times mediate in the family acting as a counsellor. It’s a constant never ending job. My character also has intimacy issues because he has no time for intimacy as all of his relationships deal with his players. He lives in hotels and on the road.
The Rock plays Spencer who he went to college with. I was his agent, and he was my first client. I helped him from player to financial manager, the irony of which, he is terrible with finances.
ADTV: You mentioned season two is going to be something we can look forward to, so what can we expect from Jason in season two?
TG: Well, we see him really push Spencer into an uncomfortable place that I put him in competition with his enemy who is played by Andy Garcia. You also get a glimpse behind the curtain of what it takes to sign a player. You get to watch Jason pursue a college NFL prospect who wants to enter the draft. He has to go to this house and convince him to put his life in his hands, and convince him that I, as Jason would be able to get him the most amount of money. He puts my character through the ringer. It’s so much fun this season. You get to watch Jason and Spencer prep this kid for life in the NFL.
ADTV: What research did you do for Jason?
TG: I met with a bunch of NFL and sports agents. I worked out at Jay Glazer’s gym, Unbreakable, with a group of NFL players who were in off season training. I spent a few hours with them and got a first hand look at the blood and sweat into how hard they work and how dedicated they are.
Several guys I worked with are league veterans who no longer had a team and were training to get one last contract. I really got to experience the pressure they were under for that last opportunity. They also have this fear of facing a normal life, they liken it to leaving the military.
ADTV: Were you always an NFL fan?
TG: I grew up a Raiders fan. In the mid 90’s they moved back to Oakland. LA hasn’t had a team for over 20 years until recently. I’ve been in football purgatory. I’ll be curious to see if the LA Rams can win over my heart and mind.
I’m a baseball fan. I also am a big soccer fan. I like Arsenal.
ADTV: They did terribly this season. Leicester City won.
TG: Here’s the beauty of TV. The writers entered the first season with an idea of where the show was going to go and who the characters are. We get to know each other better. In the second season, is the maturation of the show. We have a better understanding of who everyone is and what’s at stake.
ADTV: What were some season one highlights?
TG: The episode with Marlo Thomas was great because it deviated from the central plot. I enjoyed looking into these guys negotiating the deal. What isn’t often reported is the negotiations and what’s happening.
Closing the deal is a big plot line you’ll see in season two.
ADTV: How does TV work compare to working on a movie?
TG: A film, you know the beginning, middle and the end. You have a finite amount of time to tell the story. TV is an evolutionary process. I have an idea of who Jason is, but he grows with me as I learn what’s happening and where the story is going to go. It’s much more fluid. You also really get to know who these people are. TV gives you characters and it’s about interaction, it’s a different form of story, and when done correctly, it’s so incredibly rich.
ADTV: I’m excited for season two.
TG: If we can get seven years on this show… Where these characters will be in seven years would be insane.
The final episode of the second season is the greatest episode I’ve ever read. It’s really insane what this superhero of American cinema does. It’s insane! Episode ten is over the top crazy!
Troy Garity and Ballers season two return to HBO on July 17.