chat room

Ted Lasso’s Jodi Balfour Thinks Jack Will Regret This

Photo: Emma McIntyre/WireImage

Keeley Jones’s love life is once more in turmoil. Following her gutting breakup with Roy just prior to the opening of Ted Lasso’s third season, she was focusing on nurturing her PR firm KJPR, but along came venture capitalist and KJPR funder Jack Danvers (Jodi Balfour) to sweep her off her feet. Jack’s enthusiastic approach — lavish dinners, a date in Norway to see a spectacular aurora borealis, a dubiously signed and scandalously personalized first edition of Sense and Sensibility — initially seem like just what Keeley needs. Jack’s high-key generous energy matches Keeley’s exuberance and makes her feel giddily romanced. It’s lovely to see her happy, and Jack even manages to turn down the intensity of her love-bombing once Keeley points it out.

Unfortunately, everything comes crashing down in this week’s “We’ll Never Have Paris.” The PR mess resulting from a massive digital leak of highly personal material, including a sexy video Keeley once recorded for Jamie, reveals a controlling and oddly fearful side of Jack that’s wholly incompatible with staying in Keeley’s life. Balfour, very given to self-examination, thinks breaking up with Keeley may lead Jack to reflect a bit and to eventually learn how not to behave like a figurative bull in an emotional china shop.

Jack follows in Ted Lasso’s tradition of creating these really meaty guest roles that continue to affect the main characters long after the arc has concluded. How do you interpret Jack’s purpose for Keeley and for the show as a whole?
Jack met Keeley at a time in her life where her heart had really been broken and she was somewhat reluctant to let someone else into her life. Jack sort of bulldozes her way in, with genuine connection and chemistry and affection for one another.

We explored love-bombing in this arc, so Jack really gets in there hard and fast and then leaves hard and fast. I think it’s a little bit of a trust-whiplash moment for Keeley. Hopefully, it doesn’t leave her ultimately feeling more guarded than she did even before, but who’s to know? We shall see!

It seems like Keeley getting her heart broken twice in quick succession is going to leave her sadder for a while, but eventually it’ll make her wiser. What about this relationship with Keeley will stick with Jack?
I really think Jack leaves and is reeling from what just happened, where in that moment, her reactivity is based on a lifetime of conditioning in very certain circumstances where protocols and her very prestigious lifestyle have made for a certain limited point of view. The connection they had was very real; I think they were falling in love, big-time. And I imagine that Jack will continue to walk through her life with a lot of regret, and will hopefully begin to unpack what was going on for her in that moment, that she couldn’t see past this very patriarchal, shaming point of view to be the support to this woman she was falling in love with.

Jack being so bound by complicated and often unspoken social rules reminds me of your performances as Jackie Kennedy on The Crown and Ellen Wilson in For All Mankind. These are three women who are very skilled at allowing others to see only what they’re willing to let them see in lives governed by very minute protocols. Is that a kind of role that you find yourself seeking out, or is it more unconscious?
Fascinating, you know, I hadn’t tied in a connection to Jackie, but you’re absolutely correct. There’s a profound parallel between all of them. Even with Jack, who is less of a public person than Ellen or Jackie, there’s this pull between public perception of your life and private life. And that’s literally what Jack says to Keeley, that this is not a good look for the woman I’m dating, whose company I fund.

It’s not something I seek out, but there’s clearly something about me that people feel the shoe fits to a degree. The acting part of it is the most fun; it’s delicious, you know, because you’re almost playing two characters. I’d love to take a right turn and do something that doesn’t necessarily juggle those balls for a second. As actors, we want to paint with all the colors and play all the roles to get that variety.

One of the reasons why Jack and Keeley initially seem so well matched is that they both have this apparent breeziness about them. What are your thoughts on Jack’s version of being carefree in comparison with Keeley’s? 
I think that’s deeply what attracts them to one another. Keeley has that naturally effervescent, go-with-the-flow ethos, and Jack’s easy-breeziness might be more of a performance, or the adapted character trait that she has learned resonates well with people. It’s a tool for her, rather than who she naturally is. She’s much more governed by what other people think.

How did you find ways to let the aspects of Jack that are unworthy of Keeley peek out from her carefully cultivated exterior?
It’s all in the script, truly, and then it’s about finding ways to make Jack feel human and nuanced, and not to villainize her. Nothing against villains, but it’s interesting to find three-dimensionality in any character. A lot of people have noted the small red flags that you could almost disguise as affection — everything from just her taking up space in Keeley’s office to outing them both to the whole office. Even with Keeley’s consent, Jack doesn’t think ahead to all the consequences because she has a level of Teflon to her; things bounce off because of the privilege that she has.

Jack doesn’t know that she’s being this way, you know? This is just who Jack is. So she’s being in the moment and occupying space in a different way than I think everybody else gets to do. And thinking about herself, her own pleasure and enjoyment first, which is where we get into trouble.

Jack’s habit of taking up space is at its apex when she gives Keeley that first edition of Sense and Sensibility, where Jack herself has written on the frontispiece. The audacity of that inscription reflected zero self-awareness, and at the same time, all these things emerge from a good, generous place. 
Yeah, like, what’s the intention versus impact? I have so much compassion for Jack, because I think there really is, like, a good heart and good intentions there. But she’s a woman in a big boys’ club. We explored this much less onscreen in the show, but for Jason and I, and for the other writers, we built out her life and have her coming from this family where she is so under her father’s grip and has been her whole life. We thought through what all of it means for somebody to have such an old-school dad, who’s such a puppet master.

Do you watch Succession
I do. 

So Shiv is that show’s analog to Jack, and this week’s Ted Lasso episode made me think about them as a pair across the shows. What has being the daughters of billionaires done to them as people?
Shiv is a great example, and we get to explore that impact on her and on her family life so much. How has love been shown their whole lives? How much have money and status been a part of what values are drummed into them? Their superiority, being better than other people, more important than other people, the access and exposure to other rich people. That imprint is so deep, you know?

Jack says that she’s “get away with murder” rich, and Kendall Roy is quite literally that person! Now, I would be remiss not to ask: Is there anything that you can tell us about what might be next for Ellen Wilson in the fourth season of For All Mankind?
I’ll tell you that things are looking up. I have a lot of hope that Ellen gets a break from all the internal pain and suffering. The future is bright.

More From This Series

See All
Ted Lasso’s Jodi Balfour Thinks Jack Will Regret This