Update, September 2nd, 12:03PM ET: The “actor” Brett Goldstein has addressed the conspiracy theory that Ted Lasso’s Roy Kent is a CGI creation head-on by publishing a statement on Instagram. In it, Goldstein notes (quite accurately) that “there’s a fucking load of mad shit happening on the internet today, as usual” before reassuring viewers that he is “a completely real normal human man” who does “normal human basic things like rendering and buffering and transferring data.” Glad to have that sorted out. (The original story follows below.)
I’ll confess this upfront: I’ve yet to watch an episode of Ted Lasso. But I absolutely buy the conspiracy theory that one of the show’s main characters, Roy Kent, is a CGI creation.
People on Reddit have apparently been talking about this for months, but after their discussion was shared on Twitter this week, the theory about the Apple TV Plus show has gone mainstream. I read some of the threads, googled some screenshots of Kent himself (or itself), and I have to agree: the man looks like he stepped straight out of FIFA 21.
When I broached the subject in The Verge’s Slack, a number of colleagues said they’d already had this exact discussion with friends. “I have thought this since ep 1 and i did not know it was a thing other people thought!” said one, before sharing screencaps of a group chat on the subject, which devolved into a discussion about how furry Kent is.
None of us could put our fingers on exactly why Roy (who is “played” by “actor” Brett Goldstein) looks so uncanny, but we settled on the following factors:
- The man has perfect facial hair.
- Apple loves using soft lighting that makes fabric and skin look oddly smooth.
- The contextual triggers of him being a footballer make one think of FIFA.
- Is his head maybe quite big in comparison to the rest of his body? Is that rude???
And in fairness, TV shows and films are blurring the line between CGI and human actors more than ever nowadays. Think about the appearance of a de-aged Princess Leia in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or (SPOILER ALERT) Luke Skywalker at the end of the second season of The Mandalorian. Nvidia even did a recent press conference, which included a CGI version of the company’s CEO, Jensen Huang (though only for a single, brief shot).
So, yeah, Roy Kent is CGI, I buy it! Why not? For good measure, I’m going to start believing that my boss, family, and close friends are all CGI as well. Maybe one day I’ll be able to join them. At least if I was computer-generated, my beard would look better.