KYLE CHANDLER IS JUNE MEN'S JOURNAL COVERBOY
An excerpt from Josh Eells’s The Last Solid Dude:
A couple of years ago, Kyle Chandler — Emmy-nominated actor, fictional football coach, would-be movie star, dad, husband, and cougar-crush object — was taking a road trip from his home in Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, to film the fourth season of his TV show, Friday Night Lights. He’d made the drive a few times before, sometimes in his Porsche Boxster, once on his motorcycle. This time, he brought his wife. The two of them were happy to be on the road, enjoying a break from the grind of PTA obligations and L.A. traffic, when, somewhere in the desert between Palm Springs and El Paso, Kathryn Chandler turned to her husband with a question.
“Babe,” she said. “Are you happy where we’re at?”
“You gotta be kidding me,” answered Chandler, with a look of exasperation familiar to anyone who’s seen Friday Night Light’s Coach Eric Taylor deal with his guidance-counselor wife. “Are we really having this conversation right now?” But they were — and, to be honest, he wasn’t. By the time they pulled into Austin a few days later, the Chandlers had decided to put their Topanga home (which they’d “just finished remodeling”) on the market and move their two girls to the Lone Star State. “And now,” he says, “here we are.”
It’s a gorgeous spring day in Central Texas, the sky a cloudless Dillon Panther blue. Chandler is on the patio of an Austin oyster bar, a cold drink sweating in his hand, sporty sunglasses hooked around his neck, his motorcycle helmet on the bench next to him. (He rode his Yamaha here.) Chandler is so completely Coach Taylor that you half expect him to be wearing a windbreaker, Oakleys, and a headset, but instead he’s country-casual in motorcycle boots and illicit Wranglers. (“No Wranglers” was one of Kathryn’s only rules about their new life in Texas.)
“It’s nice to meet someone and have them be exactly the guy you hoped they’d be,” says J.J. Abrams, who directed Chandler in this summer’s top-secret sci-fi action flick Super 8. And indeed, Chandler exudes solid regular dude–ness. Onscreen he specializes in the kind of competent good guys — athletes, cowboys, soldiers, cops — who handle their business and don’t make a big fuss, and he comports himself with the kind of decency and honor that men aspire to but rarely achieve.
Chandler spent 21 years living in L.A., but it never really suited him. He’s too self-effacing, too genuinely earnest — all “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am” in his easy Georgia drawl. “Everything moves a little quicker in Los Angeles,” he says. (He never calls it L.A.) “A lot of times you don’t know your next-door neighbor.” He’s much happier in Austin. They’ve got a 33-acre spread half an hour southwest of town, where he can busy himself with the horses and donkeys or survey the fence line on his big orange tractor, which Kathryn calls “his happy place.” He’s a volunteer fireman. He hangs out at the Seed & Feed. Sometimes he gets on his bike and just cruises the Hill Country. (Excerpt courtesy Men’s Journal June 2011)
Is that awesome, or what? A little better reading than “Coach Eric Taylor: Kingmaker”, huh? The June issue of Men’s Journal is on newsstands now. For Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor) props and wardrobe from Friday Night Lights, go to vipfanauctions.com.