Breaking Baz: Ted Lasso Star Hannah Waddingham Becomes Hostess With The Mostess For The Olivier Awards; Why Her Bruises From The Fall Guy Filming Are Badge Of Honor

Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham lifted up her arms and proudly showed off the bruises she received, not on the soccer field at AFC Richmond, but doing “kick-ass” stunts on David Leitch’s action movie The Fall Guy.

The bruises “are a badge of honor” she boasts.

“You should see the other guy,” she jokes.

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Starring Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Everything, Everywhere All at Once Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu, The Fall Guy is one of several gigs the British actress has lined up now that the upcoming third season of the popular Apple TV+ show will be its last.

“It’s certainly the end of this particular story thread,” Waddingham tells me about Ted Lasso. “And when you see it, you’ll see that it couldn’t continue past this bit. Who knows what will come next? I have genuinely no idea. And I think they’re right not to tell me.”

She shakes her head as I continue to push for more. ”I genuinely don’t know,” she laughs, knowing full well that I want every detail.

Will her club-owning Rebecca Welton get a spinoff series? Will anyone else be spun I inquire so politely it hurts.

“No. To be honest, I genuinely don’t know. And you never know how they’re going to splice the season together either. There’s the opportunity and the fodder for several of the characters to spin off in their own direction. And I think the characters are so beloved that it would be reasonable for them to do so. But I know for a fact that there’s no plans of anything like that at the moment,” she insists.

“To be honest, I’m not even sure that at this moment Jason even knows what he wants to do,” she explains, in reference to Jason Sudeikis, who developed the show with Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly.

RELATED: ‘Ted Lasso’s Brendan Hunt & Brett Goldstein Talk The Show’s Future; Pitch Spinoff Ideas

However, she’s perfectly clear that Ted Lasso “completely changed my life.”

To such an extent that the award-winner has been granted opportunities that “fill me with joy.”

One is to host the Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London on April 2. It’s one of the top prize-giving events for West End theater.

Another event will see her as one of a handful of presenters for the Eurovision Song Contest, the annual international singing competition that will take place in Liverpool, England, beginning May 9. 

I leave her somewhat flummoxed when I ask if there’s any truth to a rumor I’ve heard about her developing a solo concert show to be performed at the London Coliseum, home to the English National Opera. 

The actress gives me a look that would have felled her tricky ex-hubby Rupert on Ted Lasso.

“Oh, I don’t know. Various meetings are going on, Mr. Bamigboye,” is her response.

So, I counter…

“That’s all I can say about that,” she retorts.

Okay, so I’m not hearing that it’s nonsense. I’m hearing fact, but no details, I say.

“You’re not hearing fact, you’re hearing a definitely maybe,” Waddingham hits back   .

I note that the Coliseum would be the perfect address knowing of her opera training.

“Who knows,” she shrugs.

This year or next?

“Baz, stop it! You’re so terrible,” she storms, though I see a smile forming.

The exchange reminds me of scenes she performed in a Chichester Festival Theatre/Old Vic co-production of Kiss Me Kate directed by Trevor Nunn. The role won her an Olivier Award nomination for best actress in a musical.

I have been covering Waddingham right from the beginning of her career when she was appearing in shows like Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens, Grease and many others. Then Mike Nichols let slip that he wanted her for the London transfer of Monty Python’s Spamalot, which led to a heap of other leading roles.

But as she noted at last year’s Olivier ceremony when she presented the best musical prize, casting directors in the UK rarely gave musical theater artists a look-in.

She wonders if she got the Olivier hosting job has anything “to do with the fact that I got on my soapbox about musical theater in general and being invited onto screen work because everyone should be given a chance.

“And it’s our responsibility if we get through the door and don’t do well in an audition. But let us through the bloody door. Because theater people are in this profession for the right reasons, not for the money. They’re in it because they want to play amazing characters. If you let us in, then you’ll see that we know what we’re doing. Just direct us to come down, and we’ll do it,” she reasoned.

She has left representation in the past because of such an issue. “I don’t mind saying I left an agent because I walked into a meeting with them and they went, ‘Well, hold on. Who do you want us to represent you as: theater or television?’ And I was just like, ‘If you’re going to do that, then absolutely none.’ And I walked out, because if you don’t stop that nonsense … you’d never be asked that in America.”

Waddingham loathes being put in any kind of box. “You are either going to be this or going to be that,” she says. “No, I’m an artist, and I will have various different tools in my toolbox, and I’ll bring out the one that’s right. Get me through the bloody door. So I’m hoping that getting on my soapbox about it, and I continue to be, because somebody has got to throw light on it all the time.”

Anthony Van Laast (Beauty and the Beast, Mamma Mia!) will choreograph and direct the Olivier Awards, Waddingham tells me. And she will perform.

“I am going to be singing. I am going to be singing, yes. Which is gorgeous in one way and slightly terrifying in another. I have to remind myself, ‘It’s a room of friends. It’s a room of friends. You’re not auditioning for a job.’ “

However, she would not confirm whether or not she sings a number in one of the final episodes of Ted Lasso. She quickly brushes that aside and changes the subject.

“I’ve just filmed something in Los Angeles that’s extremely exciting that I never thought would come my way,” she teases.

Oh, what was that?

“I can’t tell you,” she says, grinning.

I take her back to The Fall Guy and ask about those bruises.

“Yeah, it was amazing. And David Leitch and Kelly McCormick, the producers. If you are going to do an action movie, I mean, they are the people to do it with,” she tells me. “They have their stunt company themselves, 87North (Bullet Train, Violent Night). So all the stunt people that we had on that job are just the best there is in the industry, just incredible. And Ryan and Aaron, they had to have some serious badass stunt people. And those stunt people were so kind and encouraging and just always leaning into our safety. It was really quite something. They don’t do things by halves.”

Waddingham had a stunt woman “who’s just gorgeous, a girl called Chanique Greyling (Thor: Love and Thunder) who I’m going to take with me because she’s brilliant as a stunt and body double in general.”

There’s a particular kick-ass sequence, she says, “towards the end of the film, and I’ve still got some marks left. But I had bruises, I’ve got marks up my shins still. All my arms were absolutely black and blue. And I went up to our producer and I was like, “I feel like this is a badge of honor.” I was really battered around by it. Four days, intense, being knocked all over the place,” she says.

What about the other guy?

“Yeah, exactly,” she roars. 

“What about him? He’s a heap on the floor.”

I know how he feels. But I like it.

Waddingham spent three months filming in and around Sydney, Australia and enjoyed every minute, even the bruises.

But she feels sad that she didn’t get to film scenes with Hsu. “I mean that was a happy day in the makeup truck when the Oscar news came through. I was like, ‘Dude, you are chic.’

“She and I don’t get to do anything together, which is a pity. I would’ve loved to, but it was a very happy ship. Thankfully, I’ve been very spoiled for many years now of having really good eggs, very excitable, silly sausages around me that all just want to make a good product.”

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