For Friday Night Lights star Scott Porter, the phrase “Texas Forever” really holds true. The Nebraska-born and Florida educated actor has gone on to co-star in Hart Of Dixie, Scorpion, and a bunch of video games where he often plays Marvel and DC-verse heroes like Star-Lord and Nightwing. But despite all that, he’ll always be Jason Street first and foremost. And he seems like he’s alright with that. Especially now that he’s going back to Texas and high school football and using his well-honed video game voice acting skills as Colt Cruise, a cocky high-school wide receiver, and the best friend of the main character in Madden‘s first foray into story modes, Longshot.
We spoke to Porter about the depth and skill required to pull off Longshot, that Friday Night Lights legacy, the prospect of ever going back to Dillon, and the one big thing he has on Chris Pratt when it comes to playing Star-Lord.
Full Disclosure: Mario Kart is as deep as I go into the gaming world, but Madden: Longshot sounds pretty revolutionary. When you were shooting this thing, did it feel different, like it might change the Madden series?
A sports game has never really had this deep of a story to it. There are fantastic characters, a setting that kind of felt familiar to me – starts down in Texas with the dream of a kid who’s lost portions of his family throughout his youth, lost a bit of his innocence because of that. He has a best friend, Colt Cruise. It’s a story about brotherhood, about a journey from a small town in Texas to the NFL stage.
Storytelling is going to move this medium forward. It’s not always going to be about graphics. Storytelling is going to have to drive things for video games to compete with films and television. What we’re doing with Madden: Longshot is a step in that direction. A huge step. I’d say a leap. The story we were able to tell, the actors that we were able to get, it’s just going to take people by surprise and really level the playing field in terms of storytelling. You hear this story and you hear that Mahershala Ali is a part of it and he’s got an Oscar and you’re going, “Wait a minute. This has gotta be pretty dang good.”
You’re getting back to your roots with this too. Have you kind of accepted that you’re never going to fully escape Dillon?
Friday Night Lights will always be a huge piece of the fabric of my life. It was the fourth pilot I ever auditioned for during my first pilot season. I cut my teeth on that show. I had mentors in Peter Berg, Connie Britton, and Kyle Chandler; I dare other people to give me a better list of teachers on their time out. If I never escape it, I’m okay with that and for some reason, people like to cast me as the good ol’ southern boy. I like to think maybe that’s what people see in me. I’ve got similarities with these characters: Jason Street and Colt Cruise. Their storylines are different, but at their core, they’ve got the same competitive drive and that desire to support their friends.
We can only hope to live up to the mark that FNL set if people want to compare the two.
Colt Cruise, that’s a pretty slick name to have if you’re going to be a video game character.
Yeah, he actually nicknames himself the “Cruise Missile.” He’s a wide receiver. He’s speedy and when he catches a long bomb, he gets in the opponent’s face and tells them, “You just got blasted by a Cruise Missile.” It’s hilarious. Street never had a slogan like that. That’s where they differ. Street would’ve never given himself a nickname, [Tim] Riggins did that for him. Colt Cruise made sure he gave himself a nickname before anybody else could.
I didn’t realize how many superheroes you’ve played. Marvel should be paying you the big bucks.
No, I love video games and comic books. I’m a real fan. I didn’t just jump on board when it started to become acceptable in pop culture, so the fact that I get to play those characters is a bit of a dream come true. My little two-year-old son hears my voice on a Guardians of the Galaxy commercial now and he lights up. He bought a Star-Lord toy because of me, not because of Chris Pratt. Probably the only person in the world that ever did that.
Take that Chris Pratt.
Yeah, thank you, son. Thank you.