For Scott Porter, Playing Jason Street is Both Challenging and Profound
The 28-year-old actor has gone to great lengths in order to ensure an accurate, believable portrayal of the Dillon Panthers' fallen star.
"I definitely immersed myself in the world of quadriplegics," Porter said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel.
"They're the most inspirational people I've ever met. They strive to become better people, not just the same people they were before."
His efforts have not been made in vain.
Many paralyzed viewers of the show have expressed their gratitude for the actor, who provides a depiction of an individual stricken with paralysis that they find both believable and inspiring.
In addition to praise from critics and fans, Scott Porter's dedication and openness to the role has also impressed his Friday Night Lights co-stars.
"He's very serious about his work, and he's very prepared when he comes to set," Kyle Chandler, who plays Coach Eric Taylor, said. "He's a very kind person. It's obvious that he had a good upbringing."
Connie Britton, who plays Chandler's on-screen wife, Tami Taylor, echoes his sentiments, saying that Porter has "done such an amazing job with his character."
Jason Street was paralyzed from the waist down after suffering a severe spinal injury in the first game of the season.
He was forced him to give up the sport he loves and undergo months of rehab. Street experienced more troubles when girlfriend Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly) cheated on him with his best friend, Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), and when he was rejected by the National Quadriplegics Rugby Team due to inexperience.
Late in the year, he finds that his calling may lie on the football field after all, as he mentors his successor at QB, Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) as an assistant.
In the show's second season, which premieres Friday, October 5, Jason Street will have to deal with his bottled-up emotions.
"He never fully dealt with the injury and its effect on him emotionally," Porter said of his character.
"This season, all of that's going to come out. He's going to regain a little feeling in one of his hands. It's going to send him on this wild goose chase to heal himself."
Friday Night Lights executive producer Jason Katims lauds Porter's acting skills, adding that the star has the ability to avoid over-sentimentality in difficult scenes regarding paralysis.
"He did a ton of research, and it really helped in the details and nuance of what he did with the character," Katims says. "We're excited to move forward with this next arc."
Jeffrey Reiner, another producer, praised Porter for his subtlety.
"Scottie has got chops," Reiner said. "That's what blows me away about him. You look at him, and you could go, 'This is going to be a pretty boy.' But there's so much heart, substance there."